Embassy Events and Photos
Slovene Language Acquires a New Word: "To Volunteer"
In 2011, the Public Affairs Section carried out a massive music project to honor Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday and to raise awareness about volunteerism (2011 was the EU Year of the Volunteer). We wanted to call the project “Volunteer Slovenia!” but were unable to do so owing to the lack of a verb in Slovene meaning “to volunteer.” The project—a music CD, documentary, concert—was a huge success, but without such a verb it would be difficult to ingrain such behavior.
Early this year, the PAO suggested the idea of a nationwide campaign to introduce a new word for “to volunteer” in Slovenian. Slovenia’s biggest volunteerism NGO, Slovenian Philanthropy, undertook the challenge, and, with the help of an NGO small grant from the Embassy, launched a 2-month campaign. The campaign included students participating in essay contests, TV and radio spots, and a large social media campaign “Bodi Up” (“be hope”) where people could submit their ideas for the new word. The campaign was widely covered in the media. In the end, there were hundreds of children’s essays and 369 “finalist” words. A jury, including a prominent member of the Slovenian language academy, selected "prostovoljiti," and the word will be added to the next edition of the official Slovenian dictionary.
While the word itself is useful, the campaign was equally powerful because it drew considerable attention to volunteerism in Slovenia.