LESS SPOKEN LANGUAGES & THE POLITICS OF EUROPEAN MULTILINGUALISM Dr Eleni Markou Coordinator of Less Taught Languages Modern Language Centre Other terminology? Implications? Official and Spoken Languages of EU Countries Country Official & national Languages Austria German, Slovene (official in Carinthia), Croatian & Hungarian (official in Burgenland) Dutch 60%, French 40%, German less than 1% Bulgarian Turkish Greek, Turkish, English Czech (cestina) Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Danish (dansk) Estonian (eesti keel) Finnish (suomi) 93.4%, Swedish 5.9% French (français) German (Deutsch) Other spoken Languages Standard German Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish small Sami-& Russianspeaking minorities Official and Spoken Languages of EU Countries (cont) Country Official & national language Other spoken lang. Greece Greek (elliniká, the Koine-Demotic version) Turkish (Northern Greece) Hungary Hungarian (magyar) German, Romanian Ireland Irish (Gaeilge), English (generally used), Italy Italian (italiano) Latvia Latvian (latviesu valoda) Lithuanian, Russian Lithuania Lithuanian (lietuviu kalba) Polish, Russian Luxembourg Luxembourgish (LÎtzebuergesch, the everyday spoken language), French (administrative language), German (administrative language) Malta Maltese (Malti) Netherlands Dutch (Nederlands, official language), Frisian (official language) Poland Polish (polski) English Official and Spoken Languages of EU Countries (cont) Country Official & national language Other spoken language Portugal Portuguese (português) Romania Romanian (romana) Hungarian, German Slovakia Slovak (slovensky jazyk) Hungarian Slovenia Slovenian (slovenski jezik) Spain Spanish (español - the Castilian note: Castilian is the official version) 74%, Catalan 17%, language nationwide; the other Galician 7%, Basque 2% languages are official regionally. Sweden Swedish (svenska) United English Kingdom small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities. Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scottish form of Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland) (White Paper on Teaching & Learning, 1996, Office for the official publications of the European Communities) European Projects • • • • • • • EU policy - to protect and promote regional and minority languages The EU has a positive policy towards regional and minority languages, enshrined in Article 22 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, which states, “The Union respects cultural, religious and linguistic diversity”. In 1992, the European Commission initiated a detailed study of regional and minority language communities in the EU. As new countries joined the Union, the scope of the study was widened. (Euromosaic ). In addition, the European Commission provided support to the ADUM project (2004-05). ADUM informs people and organisations working to support regional or minority languages about European funding opportunities. Other recent projects include CRAMLAP (Celtic, Regional and Minority Languages Abroad Project), which has undertaken an audit and evaluation of Higher Education provision of Celtic and other regional and minority languages in Europe, and the Network of European Language Planning Boards, established to promote co-operation between minority language planning boards in Europe. The Network to Promote Linguistic Diversity (NPLD) is a pan-European Network which covers regional, minority, indigenous, cross-border and smaller national languages to promote linguistic diversity in Europe. The main focus is providing information about and easy access to a large network of organisations that can share ideas, information and best practice regarding the promotion of less widely used languages. For an overview of regional and minority language projects supported by the European Union, see the “Regional and Minority” Language Products page. Since its inception, the EU has put a great emphasis on multilingualism, and, in line with this policy, it currently recognizes 21 official languages. While formally all official languages enjoy the same privileges, they do not have the same prominence within the EU administration. According to the European Commission, 62% of its documents were initially prepared in English, 26 % in French, and 3.1 % in German in 2004. The remaining languages accounted for less than 9 % of inputs into EU Bureaucracy. The EU recognizes procedural, official and treaty languages. • Procedural languages: English, French and German • Official languages: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Swedish and, as of recently, Irish. • Treaty languages: Luxembourgish, and until recently Irish. EU citizens and firms, nonetheless, are entitled to communicate with the EU in any official or treaty language. This privilege, however, does not extend to minority languages such as Welsh, Catalan, or Basque, even when they have an official or semi-official status in their own country. Information and data Among the EU15 population (if not in magnitude then at least in ordering): 55% speak English, 34 % French, and 31 % German Level of the language spoken - EU% Languages most commonly used in the EU - % Statistical conclusions The mother tongue of the respondent is in most of the cases one of the official languages of the country of residence. Mobility inside the EU and immigration from outside the EU do not have significant impact on the figures. 50% of the EU citizens speak at least one other language than their mother tongue. The languages known slightly differ between EU15 and EU10 which joined the EU in 2004. English keeps on growing its share as the most widely spoken foreign language. Both French and German have also slightly increased their share compared to the situation in 2001. When looking at the overall situation within the EU, English remains the most widely used language, followed by German and French. Compared to the situation in 2001, the enlargement of the EU has brought Polish and Russian into the list. The level of foreign languages spoken tends to be good, according to the respondents. Considering five most widely used languages spoken as a foreign language, over half of the respondents rate the level of their skills good or very good (English 69%, Spanish 65%, German 58%, French 55%, Russian 54%). In all these languages, the estimate of the level of language skills is higher than what was observed in 2001.
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