Slovenian or Slovene is recognized as Slovenia’s official and national language. Due to the country having served as a meeting hub for many Uralic, Slavic, Romance, and Germanic cultural and linguistic regions throughout history, Slovenia today is a multicultural hub with many European languages spoken inside its borders. Aside from Slovenian, Italian and Hungarian are recognized as co-official languages. Many other foreign and immigrant languages are also present in Slovenia.

Slovenian language is part of the South Slavic language group of the Indo-European family. An estimated 2.1 million people speak it as their first language. The language is used in legislation and communication by local and national authorities, as stipulated by Slovenia’s law. Printed and broadcast media is also conducted in Slovene, and if it is in another language, it must be translated, subbed, or dubbed. Slovene is also used as an instruction medium for students at all educational levels. After Slovenia became part of the European Union on May 1, 2004, Slovene was adopted as the official language of the country. There are several dialects of the Slovene language which are further grouped into eight categories. The dialects are significantly different, to the point that some of them are completely mutually unintelligible. The Prekmurje Slovene dialect is the only Slovene dialect recognized as the official language. This dialect is used in the region of Prekmurje.

Other than Slovene, there are many other minority, immigrant, and foreign languages spoken throughout Slovenia. Italian language is recognized as the first language of the protected Italian minority, and serves as a co-official language in the Slovenian Istria region in the southwest Slovenia, at the border between Slovenia and Italy. Minority protection laws regulate the public usage of Italy. Furthermore, Hungarian is recognized as the first language of the Hungarian minority which resides in the Prekmurje region, close to the border between Slovenia and Hungary. Hungarian language is co-official along with Slovene in 30 settlements which are situated in 5 municipalities.

Immigrant languages spoken in Slovenia include Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Albanian, Romani, and German. A significant portion of Slovenia’s population uses Serbian and Croatian as their native languages. Most of them are immigrants who settled in Slovenia from other ex-Yugoslav nations from the 1960s to the late 1980s. 0.2% of the population declares themselves as indigenous speakers of Macedonian and 0.4% as indigenous speakers of Albanian, while the Roma community uses Romani as their native language. Only about 1,628 people speak German as their first language, as per the 2002 census. Today, the total number of German-speaking persons in Slovenia is unknown.

Foreign languages spoken in Slovenia include English, which has been adopted by Slovenia as the primary foreign language in schools. English is followed by German, Hungarian, Spanish, Italian, French, and Croatian.


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