U.S. English Foundation Research



Language Research

5. Costs: What does it cost in terms of money, time and government resources to police the country’s language restrictions?


After 1993, Slovak leadership sought to assert Slovak national identity in opposition to that of the “old enemy” the Hungarians, a minority also living in the country. In Slovakia, language policy served a two-fold purpose: by giving the Slovak language a dominant position in the state; and it was at the same time a method for promoting the assimilation of non-ethnic Slovak citizens. Whilst Slovak leaders attempted to justify restrictive language policies by the imperatives of nation building and consolidating the identity of the state, the Hungarian minority perceived these policies as specific attacks against minority identity and culture, and against theirs especially. In reality, anti-minority policies in Slovakia (or policies perceived as such) fell within a broader set of anti-opposition policies as the State attempted to extend control and establish moral monopoly over not only language but also the fields of culture, education and economy.