What Languages Do They Speak in Slovenia?

Do you know that Slovenes, thanks to their history and many neighbouring countries, boast extensive knowledge of foreign languages?

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Almost 80% of the country’s population speaks English in Slovenia. Even among schoolchildren, the average level of English reaches B2 meaning a confident command of the language (above average), which makes it easy to communicate on almost any topic. According to our observations, only elderly Slovenes do not speak English fluently. In the country’s cinemas, films are often shown in English without translation, and foreign TV programmes are broadcast only with Slovenian subtitles.

Historically, more than 40% of Slovenia’s population speaks German with confidence, while the north of the country, headed by Maribor, considers it to be its second native language. That is why, in this region, students study German at least at a B2 level from the first year of Bachelor’s degree programmes. Businessmen of this region traditionally cooperate primarily with Austria.

The coastal region of Slovenia, which is just over 45 km of the Adriatic coast, is famous for its Italian temperament. Here, the local population often speaks fluent Italian, and all university programmes implemented in coastal cities (this is the University of Primorska and some faculties of the University of Ljubljana) include Italian in the list of subjects. If you choose Italian as your second foreign language, be prepared to catch up to at least intermediate level of Italian before starting your studies.

Of course, one cannot fail to mention the Serbo-Croatian language. Many foreigners believe that this is the language that Slovenes actually speak. Or at least a very similar language. However, it is not the case. Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian are quite different languages. If Slovenian is the native language for 91% of Slovenes, then Serbo-Croatian is spoken by about 40% of the country’s population. Especially, of course, in the territories bordering on Croatia.

Among the small linguistic groups in Slovenia, there is also Hungarian, which is even the second official language in 30 settlements of Slovenia. However, it is difficult to consider this language as a popular one. Just keep in mind that you can hear it in the eastern part of Slovenia as well.

Multilingualism is another component of Slovenia’s attractiveness for business immigration or study. And what languages do you need for comfortable communication in a new country?

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