Between language maintenance and language shift: the Slovenian community in Italy today and tomorrow
The paper focuses on the processes of language maintenance and shift among the Slovenian community in north-eastern Italy, from both the present and future perspectives, and presents the results of two empirical studies. The first offers a quantitative analysis of the linguistic behaviour of the Slovenian community members, in order to provide information about the level of minority language maintenance or the gradual shift towards Italian. The intergenerational comparison brings into focus some divergences among two differentage groups and indicates the variables that cooperate to establish them.The second study explores the challenges that the Slovenian community must face in order to encourage the use of the minority language among non-Slovenian speakers. Relying on qualitative data obtained by a series of in-depth interviews with representatives of Slovenian political, cultural and economic organizations in Italy, the study aims to identify some possible strategies for the spread and promotion of the Slovenian language among the wider society.