10 / 1999
Avgust Horvat

The beginning, development and present state of secondary school courses among post-war Slovene immigrants in Argentina

All those who live abroad value their mother tongue very highly. In our case this is the Slovene language. Post-war Slovene immigrants to Argentina felt it their natural duty to pass on the spoken and written language to their descendants. They therefore founded joint local centres and primary school and secondary school courses designed to complement the transfer of the mother tongue taking place in families. In the environment in which they live, it is often not understood why Slovene is spoken in the home, but parents stick to their decision, and by attending primary school in this environment the children master both languages, often a lot better than their contemporaries of other nationalities. The decision to enrol in secondary school courses is made by the children themselves, though they are already considerably under the influence of an environment which tries to achieve the necessary education with the minimum effort. For this reason enrolments are relatively few. I f in first-generation families pas sing on the mother tongue was a duty, in second-generation families consciousness of this duty lessens, which affects children mainly during the period of adolescence. We should of course not forget ethnically mixed marriages, which are so much the more exposed to assimilation.