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Vasek, J., R. Buday, M.Fabryova. 1999. Podrobny Autoatlas - Slovenska Republika 1 : 100’000. Harmanec: Vojensky Kar PowerPoint Presentation
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Vasek, J., R. Buday, M.Fabryova. 1999. Podrobny Autoatlas - Slovenska Republika 1 : 100’000. Harmanec: Vojensky Kar - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Dobry den Ko š ice – üdvözlöm Kassát – hello Kosice : Language Choice in a Slovak Internet Guestbook Lukas Bleichenbacher University of Zürich Vasek, J., R. Buday, M.Fabryova. 1999. Podrobny Autoatlas - Slovenska Republika 1 : 100’000.

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Dobry den Košice – üdvözlöm Kassát – hello Kosice:Language Choice in a Slovak Internet GuestbookLukas BleichenbacherUniversity of Zü


Vasek, J., R. Buday, M.Fabryova. 1999. Podrobny Autoatlas - Slovenska Republika 1 : 100’000.

Harmanec: Vojensky Kartograficky Ustav.

slovak and kosice residents by ethnic structure 2001 census
Slovak and Kosice residents by ethnic structure, 2001 census


On the main street

(Fö utca) around 1900

Němec, Zdeněk, Jozef Duchoň and Kristína Rybárová. 1994. Košice 1780-1918.

Sečovce: Pergamen. 67.


Aerial view of Kosice’s

Main Square

(Hlavné Námestie)

with St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral

and the State Theatre.

Jiroušek, Alexander. 2003. Košice na začiatku tretieho tisícročia. Košice: Jes. 34.


On the present-

day main street

(Hlavná Ulica)

Jiroušek, Alexander. 2003. Košice na začiatku tretieho tisícročia. Košice: Jes. 55.


Billboard advertising

Kosice’s Tourist

Information Centre

facts about corpus
Facts about corpus
  • 414 entries from 1998-2003
  • 20,000 words, average length of entries: 48.5 words
  • 301 (or 73%) of all entries contain some form of address
  • no visible interaction between contributors
content of entries
Content of entries
  • explain one’s link to Kosice (61%)
  • comment on the website (58%)
  • comment on the city of Kosice (40%)
  • announce visit to Kosice (26%)
  • specific question or request (22%)
  • greet Kosice / Slovak people (10%)
  • very rare: off subject (2%)
entries from slovakia 45
43 entries in Slovak, 2 in English, no switching

1. Nenachádzam žiadne informácie zo súťaže Rallye Košice

2. Naše mesto je veľmi pekné preto radím cudzincom aby ho navštívili.

Entries from Slovakia (45)
entries from the czech rep and poland 19
6 of 7 Czech entries in Czech, 1 in Slovak,

no switching

3. Toto město se mi velmi líbí. Pokaždé, když jedu na SR ráda se stavím v Košicích. Pa Jana

12 entries from Poland: 4 in Polish, 4 in English, 3 in Slovak, 1 in Czech, some switching

4. [....]Poszukujac hoteli odwiedzilem Wasza strone. Pozdrowienia dla wszystkich odwiedzajacych piekne Koszyce.

5. [....] Unfotunetly I don't make my own page, but I think about it. Pozdrowienia z Polski :)

6. Dobry den! Prominte, mluvim jen cesky a polsky (cesky jen trochu). Jsem Polak. Moze zrozumie mnie kto z kosic po polsku? Bardzo chtel by korespondowac z jakim kosicanem. :)

Entries from the Czech Rep. and Poland (19)
entries from hungary 5
3 in Slovak, 1 in English, 1 in Hungarian

7. Ako dolnozemsky Slovak velmi rad cestujem do vlasti svojich predkov. Jeden z oblubenych cielov mojich ciest je Vase mesto. [....]

8. I'was in Kosice for one years ago whit my family. You have wonderful city! Wi are back soon!

9. Üdvözlet Kassára,a gyönyörű felvidéki városba! [....] Kitünő,részletes igényes az oldal,csak a magyar nyelvű verziót hiányolom,meg a német nyelvűt. Remélem lessz a jövőben ilyen.

Entries from Hungary (5)
entries from austria germany and switzerland 37
English used in 18 entries, German in 7,

some switching into Slovak

10. [....] I send the best greatings from Lucerne in Switzerland. Today i listening i newspaper from Switzerland a good Text from your City!! [....]

11. Hi guys! Nice site. Hope your town is as beautiful as your website. I' ll visit your area next month. CU Jürgen

12. hi kosice!greetings from a 21 year-old austrian student!!!!!!!!a nice town with such a cute habitant!dvatsat bozkov:)))))))))

13. [....]Unsere Mutter wuchs in Kosice auf (Ulica Rasinova). Können Sie uns sagen, wie die Strasse heute heisst? [....] Zelame Vam uspesny rok 1999. Dovidenia![....]

Entries from Austria, Germany and Switzerland (37)
entries from austria germany and switzerland cont
2 entries in Hungarian, 10 in Slovak,

1 of which as a FL

14. Üdvözlöm Kassát, Rákóczy nyughelyének városát!!

15. Ahoj Kosice! Pekna Stranka! Uz sa tesim na vianoce, ked konecne znova uvidim MOJE MESTO.

16. Kosice je velmi hezke mesto!

Entries from Austria, Germany and Switzerland (cont.)
entries from the rest of europe 66
English used in 9 entries from Great Britain

17. Good Web site. I specialise in Telemedicine technology here in the UK, and would like to understand what technology you use to assist the success of medical practice.

English used in 36 entries from the continent

18. i just want to tell that i like kosice. it is a warm town and compared to bratislava there is real streetlife. bye bye tobias.

Slovak used in 15 entries, in 2 of which as an FL

19. vesele vianoce a stcasni novy rok vsetkim kosicanom a okolie vam praje giuseppe p.s. som tam bol vroku 1966 a1972 na montase vsz ciao giuseppe

Entries from the rest of Europe (66)
entries from the rest of europe cont
4 entries are written in another language than English or Slovak

2 entries (Hungarian and French) contain an English translation

20. La découverte de votre ville par l'intermédiaire de votre site sur la toile m'a donné l'envie de la visiter. (bientôt j'espère)Discovering your city through your web site make me want to go to visit it (I hope soon)

Entries from the rest of Europe (cont.)
entries from the us and from canada 205
English used in 163 entries

21. [...] I do plan on returning in the near future. So in the mean time I say hello to all my friends at the Irish Pub, thanks for feeding me so well.

13 entries with switches into another language, mostly Slovak

22. Ahoj, "Slovak som a Slovak budem." Kosice is a beautiful city. My wife and I visited my staryotec's birthplace in Kysta.We had the trip of a lifetime! Let us do what we can to help this wonderful country. Thanks to Slovak friends who mirrored the generosity of my grandparents, we will be back to visit again.

23. Good food, good people, great pivo almost like EDEN

24. [...] I found your site very informative, but missed somehow a clear statement about who lived in the fair city of Kaschau most of the time (ethnic Germans and Magyars).[...]

Entries from the US and from Canada (205)
entries from the us and from canada cont
Slovak used in 40 entries (3 of which as a FL); Czech used in 2 entries

9 entries switch into English

25. povodne pochadzam z kosice/krasna.v canade som od roku 1980.bol som velmi milo prekvapeny ked som natrafil na kosice site.robite super job.este by som navrhol stranku slavnych ludi z mesta kosice'peter bondra martina hingis...good luck & THANK YOU.

26. Ahoj! This is a great website! Volam sa Chris Parrish a bol som Anglicky lektor v VVLS [....] Dejakujem tebe na ta navstevna kniha! I wish my Slovak was better! Dovidenia! Chris Parrish

Entries from the US and from Canada (cont.)
entries from various other countries 29
8 entries from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa: 6 in Slovak, 2 in English

27. [...] Ja sa este stale pokladam za Kosicana i ked zijem v Juhoafrickej Republike od 1968-ho roku. [...]

8 entries from Central and South America:

6 use English; Slovak and Spanish used in 1 entry each

28. [...] And, logical I will never forget the friendly way of the professors, dean and workers of the VST. Until today I show to my wife, sons and friends the photos that Itake during this time in your country.[...]

29. Saludos desde Nikaragua! Ja som studoval v TUKE a tesima, ze KOSICE uz su aj na Internet-e.

Entries from various other countries (29)
entries from various other countries cont
English used in entries from Israel (3), India (2), Sudan and Bahrain (1 each)

30. [...] I am student of Slovak language Delhi University.I liked your website ,I got all the information which I wanted to know about Kosisce. [...]

Slovak used in 2 entries by Israelis of Slovak descent, and as a FL in 3 entries from Syria, Yemen and Vietnam

31. [...] mily priatelia! mily kosicanom ! vsetkym vam zelam z celeho srdca zdaravie, vela uspechov vo vase stranke , ozaj vy slovensky narod ste velmy pohostiny. [...]

Entries from various other countries (cont.)
metalinguistic comments some observations
37 entries feature metalinguistic comments, mostly about multilingualism

2 main issues:

the language situation in Kosice and the languages of the website

32. Was halten Sie von einem deutschsprachigen Spiegel ihrer Internetseiten ?

33. Kosice jsou krasne mesto, ale postradam na vasich strankach moznost volby madarskeho jazyka a mohlo by tam byt trochu vice o historii.

Linguistic biographies: Acquisition of Slovak as a FL, individual multilingual repertoires and language attrition

34. [...] I really wish to discover your country, and when I come I'll take contact, but before of that I have to learn slovakian, in order to communicate with people. [...]

35. [...] Couple years ago, at a State (NJ) Slovak Festival, I overheard a visiting Slovak soccer team talking. I understood only a word here and there. My language is weak, but my love for Slovakia is forever. [...]

Metalinguistic comments: some observations
  • Predominance of English
      • as the main language in preferred destinations of Slovak emigration
      • as a European and global lingua franca
  • Use of Slovak
      • in all Slovak in-group interactions
      • in some cross-border contacts with Poland
      • by foreigners with strong personal, professional and academic links to Slovaks and Slovakia
  • Use of other languages
      • German as a potential regional lingua franca, possibly also Czech
      • contributors’ language choice mirrors language options available on the website
conclusions cont
Conclusions (cont.)
  • Language switching
      • as a means to express one’s (multi-)cultural identity and sympathy with a specific (e.g. Slovak) target group
      • rarely performed to address a larger audience
  • Sensitivity towards multilingualism and language choice
      • in entries from emigrants and their descendants
      • in entries from speakers of Slovak minority languages
      • but not in entries from Slovakia themselves

A Christmaswish…

Quasimodo: Milý Ježiško, nauč, prosím Ťa,

Maďarov po slovensky a Slovákov po maďarsky.

Aspoň počúvať a trošku viac chápať.

“Čo by si želali pod stromček čitatelia SME”. SME 23. Dec. 2002: 6.