The importance of intra-linguistic diversity in teaching Slovenian as the first language

Abstract

In recent decades, Slovenian sociolinguistic situation and within the functions of different language varieties have dramatically changed. In spite of this process, the standard language remains a language variety that enables an individual to participate equally in educational and public life. As the Slovenian schools are not successful enough in developing of the discursive flexibility and mastering of the standard language, in the article, the functions of Standard language in modern Slovenian-speaking society is described; the specific groups of primary Slovenian language speakers are defined, and some solutions for improving the first language learning are suggested.

In 1990’s, in opposite to the prevailing traditional structural language-stratification theory, the new classification of the primary sociolects, based on the English functional linguistics, by A. E. Skubic was represented. According to his theory, the sociolects are defined as non-hierarchically ordered cultivated or marginal language varieties that are used and identified with by different social groups. Based on Skubic’s classification, two main groups of primary-Slovenian language speakers can be described. The speakers of the cultivated primary sociolects are mostly self-confident users of language, identifying themselves with the main culture. In opposite, the speakers of the marginal sociolects could be de-privileged due to their linguistic deficit in standard language and micro-cultural discursive patterns, used in educational or public contexts.

As it is suggested, to improve students’ linguistic competence and diminish deficits, the discursive flexibility should be understood as a complex awareness, consisting of cognitive, emotional-evaluative and active dimensions. Therefore, the basic principle of first language teaching should become the extended holistic principle, emphasizing the inclusion of standard and different non-standard language varieties, observation of their different functions in specific communicative situations and reflection about the complex context, that can be implemented to first language teaching in all basic phases of learning.

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