The 20th century was an extraordinarily rich field of endeavour for Slovenian literature and language. Modern poets and writers are now known to a far larger public through translations into English and a number of European languages.
Slovenian language has evolved into a complex and sophisticated modern language. Slovenes take intense pride in their language for which they had to struggle throughout their history and guarded as a priceless treasure. Today Slovenes again feel under stress, this time by the manifold and ubiquitous influences of the global culture and language – many fear its overwhelming presence, which threatens to submerge the well-educated multilingual nation of 2 million Slovenes occupying 20,000sq km of central Europe. They have always been known for their talent for languages, which might lead the younger generations to increasingly abandon their own “minority” language.
What is the future for Slovenian ? It is a fact, that Slovenes care as intensely for their language as they did throughout their history. Their language is their heritage, and it defines them as a nation. One would expect and hope, that the cultural diversity we have come to appreciate in the midst of global uniformity, will provide counterbalance to safeguard the Slovenian people in their uniqueness of language and historical being.
Dr.Aleš Debeljak, poet, essayist and scholar, has this to say about Slovenes and their history:
»In the absence of social, political, economic, and cultural institutions, poets and writers took on the role as guardians of the mother tongue and individualism, moral independence and national integrity. The history of Slovenians is thus emphatically not the history of great victories, but the history of tenacious guerilla resistance to foreign rulers: literary and linguistic guerilla resistance. …..It is a real wonder that Slovenians managed to preserve their specific identity despite and against German, Italian, Hungarian and Balkan domination. In the absence of a nation-state of their own, the only real home for Slovenians was carved out in their language and creative imagination« (Aleš Debeljak, Slovenian Writers and Style of History, in: The Imagination of Terra Incognita).