Standard Slovene and Language Standardization

Objectives and competences

The primary goal is to present the historical and theoretical background for the choice of an appropriate base for the standard variety; to demonstrate how the standardization process evolved in time; and to emphasize current problems brought about by the faster language development. These things can all affect the closeness of the relation between the inividual, the language and the society.

Against the background of dictionary standarization of the vocabulary, the students learn of applied possibilities for the presentation of research findings, with which they acquire and develop the capacity for applying research findings, they acquire lexicographic skills and the capacity to detect points of codification difficulties.


No special prerequisites for enrolment.


This course introduces the theory of literary / standard language, including the development of the theory of literary language and language culture. Students are presented the concepts of standardization, real and idealized (standard) language, linguistic norm, language use and prescription or codification in the Slovenian and comparable contexts. They are familiarized with traditional Slovenian codification manuals (orthographies, dictionaries, grammars), also in a historical light (20th c.) and the light of the history of codification in the Slovenian context. An overview of individual manuals includes an outline of the social circumstances of their appearance and of possible influences on their contents. Standardization and codification are presented as live processes which lead to new and new language problems: in this context, students learn about problematic cases of prescription, i.e., pieces of prescription/use that continue to present problems to this day. Systematically discovered problematic aspects of prescription are used to pinpoint gaps in standard-language codification and possibly also codification defficiencies.

Intended learning outcomes

Students acquire the core concepts of language standardization as a process. They are able to use new theoretical knowledge about the modern codification of the standard language to assess competing doublets in language, and they are able to use current codification manuals to recognize evolution paths of the standard language and to distinguish between new developments and mistakes. Students are able to identify, describe and defend the use of a particular device in various forms of communication. They are able to use and evaluate online language resources.


In addition to current Standard Slovenian manuals also some theoretical works:

  • Dobrovoljc, H., 2004: Pravopisje na Slovenskem. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC. Catalogue
  • Dobrovoljc, Helena. Smernice jezikovne standardizacije v teoriji, izročilu in praksi. V: Žele, Andreja (ur.). Družbena funkcijskost jezika: (vidiki, merila, opredelitve), (Obdobja, ISSN 1408-211X, 32). 1. natis. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete, 2013, str. 93—99. E-version
  • Dobrovoljc, H., Jakop, N., 2011: Sodobni slovenski pravopisni priročnik – med normo in predpisom. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC. E-version
  • Garvin, Paul L., 1993: A conceptual framework fort he study of language standardization. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 37–54.
  • Kalin Golob, M., 2008: Jezikovnokulturni pristop h knjižni slovenščini. Ljubljana: FDV Založba. E-version
  • Milroy, James, 2001: Language ideologies and the consequences of standardization. Journal of Sociolinguistics 5/4. 530–555.
  • Milroy, James, Milroy, Lesley, 1985: Authority in Language: Investigating Language Prescription and Standardisation. Routhledge. Catalogue E-version
  • Urbančič, B., 1987: O jezikovni kulturi. Ljubljana: Delavska enotnost. Catalogue
  • Verovnik, T., 2004: Norma knjižne slovenščine med kodifikacijo in jezikovno rabo v obdobju 1950–2001. V: Družboslovne razprave. Št. XX. 241–258. E-version


Seminar work (30 %); Written exam (with oral defense, if necessary) (70 %).

Lecturer's references

Helena Dobrovoljc is senior research associate at the ZRC SAZU Fran Ramovš Institute of the Slovenian Language. Her research focuses on issues of modern language norms, particularly the standard-language orthographic norms and their changing as conditioned by societal and linguistic effects. She is the author or coauthor of three monographs (Pravopisje na Slovenskem, 2004; Slovenska teorija jezikovne naravnosti, 2005; Sodobni pravopisni priročnik z vidika norme in predpisa, 2012) and the editor of a collection of Slovenian linguistic monographs (Lingua Slovenica – Fontes). She works on the theory of standard language, questions of social reception of the standard language in the 20th and 21st centuries, codification manuals and their updating and modification.

Selected articles:

  1. Dobrovoljc, Helena. Normativni opis in jezikovna standardizacija v aktualnem jezikovnopolitičnem okviru - dokumenti in realnost. Slavia Centralis, 2018, 11/2. 200-223, [COBISS.SI-ID 44154669]
  2. Dobrovoljc, Helena. Slovensko pravopisje in prevzemanje grško-latinskih prvin : med izročilom, prestižem in uporabnikom. Keria : studia Latina et Graeca, ISSN 1580-0261. [Tiskana izd.], 2016, letn. 18, št. 1, str. 117-135, 181. [COBISS.SI-ID 40901165]
  3. Dobrovoljc, Helena. Slovenski pravopis med jezikovnim sistemom, rabo in uporabnikom. V: Slovenščina danes, (Dialogi, ISSN 0012-2068, letn. 52, št. 7/8). Maribor: Aristej. 2016, letn. 52, št. 7/8, str. 157-176. [COBISS.SI-ID 40903725]
  4. Dobrovoljc, Helena, Jakop, Nataša. Sodobni pravopisni priročnik med normo in predpisom. Ljubljana: Založba ZRC, 2011.
  5. Dobrovoljc, Helena. Smernice jezikovne standardizacije v teoriji, izročilu in praksi. V: ŽELE, Andreja (ur.). Družbena funkcijskost jezika: (vidiki, merila, opredelitve), (Obdobja, ISSN 1408-211X, 32). 1. natis. Ljubljana: Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete, 2013, str. 93-99.
  6. DOBROVOLJC, Helena, BIZJAK KONČAR, Aleksandra. Pravopisno slovaropisje na Inštitutu za slovenski jezik Frana Ramovša ZRC SAZU. Slavia Centralis, ISSN 1855-6302. [Tiskana izd.], 2015, letn. 8, št. 1, str. 34-50, ilustr. [COBISS.SI-ID 38475309]