European language policy: Why is it so difficult? Jacomine Nortier Utrecht Institute of Linguistics Dpt. of Dutch language & culture Outline The official situation: complex but understandable The actual situation: almost impossible to handle My aim is NOT to solve this, but only to sketch. Literature : - Official languages (based on Abram de Swaan: Words of the World (2001, Polity) Indigenous vs imported minority languages Guus Extra & Durk Gorter (eds): The other languages of Europe (2001, Multilingual Matters) http://europa.eu/languages/nl/home 2007: The European Union has 27 member states and 23 official languages: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Български (Bălgarski) BG - Bulgarian Čeština - CS - Czech Dansk - DA - Danish Deutsch - DE - German Eesti - ET - Estonian Elinika - EL - Greek English - EN Español - ES - Spanish Français - FR - French Gaeilge - GA - Irish Italiano - IT - Italian Latviesu valoda - LV Latvian 13. Lietuviu kalba - LT Lithuanian 14. Magyar - HU - Hungarian 15. Malti - MT - Maltese 16. Nederlands - NL - Dutch 17. Polski - PL - Polish 18. Português - PT Portuguese 19. Română - RO - Romanian 20. Slovenčina - SK - Slovak 21. Slovenščina - SL - Slovene 22. Suomi - FI – Finnish 23. Svenska - SV - Swedish De Swaan’s book: First: general Later : focus on Europe Although the languages of the world differ extremely from each other, the speakers are tied together by bilinguals in a tightly organized system: the language constellation. The position of individual languages in the world system can be expressed by their Q-values (a measure of communicative value). The language constellation: English (connecting the supercentral languages) Supercentral languages (long-distance and international communication) [such as Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese] Central languages (national) [such as Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Dutch, Iranian] Peripheral languages (oral) (98% of the world’s 5/6000 languages Q-value of a language: “... the proportion of those who speak it among all speakers in the constellation and the proportion of multilingual speakers whose repertoire includes the language among all multilingual speakers in the constellation.” (i.e. as an L2) Value versus attitude René Appel (Appel, 2002): AdS holds an extreme instrumental view on language tool. The political economy of language constellations Language: hypercollective goods Economic goods: the more they are used, the less there is left of them Language: the more you use it, the more valuable it becomes, both collectively and individually Conditions - in order to be a collective good: 1- nobody can be excluded (true for languages) 2- Maintenance: collaboration of many but not all is required (true for languages) 3- The efforts of a single person are not sufficient (true for languages) 4- Utility does not diminish as new users are added (true for languages). Consistently, AdS consideres language as a “hypercollective” good. Why is there stable multilingualism in Euope (according to AdS)? It costs a lot of trouble and effort to learn a new language But also (my addition): attitudes, affective values attached to different languages; different levels of importance. Outside-value (status) versus insidevalue (solidarity) Europe: “The more languages, the more English” Initial, shortly after World War 2: French Why not Italian? Or German? Or Dutch? With the UK and Ireland: English Europe versus other parts of the world: the average speaker in Europe is relatively rich and well-educated. Languages in Europe: robust. Support from own government and European Parliament; taught in school, used in court, politics, governments: prestige, standardization, function in education As far as the official languages are concerned! And within, not necessarily between countries 1987: 17% of the European citizens reported to be able to converse in English; 1997: the number has doubled. Increase mainly caused by young people. Nr 2 in popularity was German, except for the Dutch where Fench was second best. Some countries: officially multilingual (e.g., Belgium). But common practice in Europe: societal monolingualism Europe: State = nation = national language States are the protectors of the official languages. Law, regulations, administration, education, business, prestige and mass media are all associated with that single language. Q-values in Europe: English: number one French and German: second Again: only measurable factors. Irrespective of affective factors & attitudes. Example: Netherlands. AdS: Dutch prefer French because of communicative value (!) European linguistic dilemma: Maintenance of the languages Effective and sucessful communication In the European language constellation four levels of communication can be distinguished: 1. 2. 3. 4. Domestic communication (central and peripheral languages). Threatened: by (1) the supracentral Ls for communication across borders and (2) minority languages within the borders. The level of transnational communication, where English competes with French and German. The level of the European Parliament and the European Commission, all official languages of the members of the Union have the same status. Decisions should be translated into all official Ls. The level of the Commission’s internal bureaucracy where there are more or less informally adopted a few working languages. Four levels of communication (repeated) 1. 2. 3. 4. Domestic communication: powerful relation nation-state language: maintenance Transnational communication: 1: English; 2: French and German European Parliament: all languages will keep their position European Commission internal communication: English and French (Spanish: world wide more important than F/G but within Europe spoken in only one country) Minority languages in Europe (based on Extra & Gorter) In short, there are three groups of languages: Official languages (‘robust’) Non-official indigenous (‘regional’) languages with lower status Imported languages with low status Regional languages restricted to one state: Breton 300,000 France Mirandes Corsican 160,000 France Galician North-Frisian 8,000 Germany Aragonese Saterfrisian 2,000 Germany Asturian 450,000 Spain Sorbian 60,000 Germany Scottish Gaelic 67,000 UK Friulian 550,000 Scots Ulster Scots 100,000 Welsh Cornish Ladin 35,000 Sardinian1,000,000 Frisian 450,000 15,000 Portugal 2,300,000 Spain 30,000 Spain Italy 1,500,000 UK Italy UK Italy 500,000 UK The Netherlands 200 UK Regional languages spoken in more than one state: Basque: 565,000 70,000 Catalan: 6,376,000 102,000 20,000 Occitan: 4,000 3,500,000 50,000 Spain France Spain France Italy Spain France Italy Sami: 18,000 Sweden 3,000 Finland Low-Saxon: 1,800,000 Netherlands 8-10,000,000 Germany Limburgian: 1,000,000 Netherlands and Belgium Exceptional positions: Luxemburgish: national language but it doesn’t have the status of an official working language in the EU. Romani and Yiddish are non-territorial minority languages. Regional indigenous languages always function as an L1 for children. Usually they are not learned as L2 (de Swaan would call them peripheral Ls). Most official Ls are minority Ls outside their own nation-state Examples: Croatian in Italy; German in Belgium and Denmark; Swedish in Finland; Finnish in Sweden. Official languages, but without the protection as in ‘their’ nation states Immigrant languages (from outside Europe): immigrant workers and their descendants; refugees; ex-colonials. 1993: 368 million people in Europe; 4.8% (18 mln) were not citizens of the countries they lived in Exact numbers: difficult Sometimes no data Illegals Nationality and country of birth? Residents of former colonies BCPMF: Birth Country Criterion of Person and/or Mother/Father Problems: what would we want to call the grandchildren of e.g. Chinese immigrants: Chinese or Dutch? What to do with people with different ethnicities from one country (such as Kurds) or the opposite: same ethnic groups from different countries (Chinese from China and Vietnam)? And ethnocultural groups without territorial status? (Roma) Immigrant languages in the Netherlands: Groups BCPMF criterion Nationality criterion Dutch 12,872,000 14,768,000 Turks 272,000 154,000 Moroccans 225,00 150,000 Surinamese 282,000 15,000 Antilleans 94,000 - Greeks 11,000 5,000 Italians 32,000 17,000 Former Yugoslavs 56,000 34,000 Portuguese 13,000 9,000 Spaniards 29,000 17,000 Capeverdians 17,000 2,000 Tunisians 6,000 2,000 Based on CBS 1997 Conclusion: How can we talk about European language policy when we don’t even know how to carry out initial fact finding?