Language is not only a way of communicating; it bears the culture, identity, history and a sense of belonging to a society of those who use it. Therefore language needs protection, especially if it is a language of a minority. With Slovakia's 2009 amendment of its State Language Law, the internationally recognised rights of every 7th citizen of Slovakia are endangered. The new law has not only caused a major source of international conflict between Hungary and Slovakia but has been the subject of intervention by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. Despite being a party to the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Slovakia is slowly detouring from its path towards recognition of the rights of those of its citizens who happen to belong to a minority group. This paper analyzes the main changes brought about by the newly amended law, which entered into force on 1 September 2009. It gives a concise overview of international conventions on language protection, followed by an in-depth analysis of the new provisions of the State Language Law in Slovakia and its impact on the status of minorities in the country.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.