If Yes, Why Not? Minority Language Use and Accommodation of Minority Language Rights in Slovakia

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Abstract

This article gives an overview of the actual situation of language rights in Slovakia, focusing mainly on the minority language usage. The status of minority languages in Slovakia is still a politicized question and a series of conflicts arose especially between Slovak political elites and the representatives of ethnic Hungarians because of the controversial legislation of minority language rights. Slovakia was subjected in the field of minority protection and heavily criticized during the adoption of the State Language Law. Strict regulations on the use of state language have negative effects on the use of minority languages as well. In spite of the fact that in 1999 the Law on Use of Minority Languages was adopted and Slovakia ratified all of the international agreements in this field, the problem of minority language usage was not solved. This legal vacuum motivated the Hungarian civil sphere to take alternative actions in order to ensure bilingualism and promote the use of minority languages in official communication. Summarizing the legal accommodation of minority language rights, this paper is devoted to examine a recently less-observed civil activism supporting the use of regional languages in Slovakia.

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