Language Recognition and the Fair Terms of Inclusion: Minority Languages in the European Union

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Abstract

The European Union is a multilingual polity with 23 official languages and more than 50 minority languages that are not recognised as official, but are spoken by some 40 million people across the union (European Commission, 2004, 2008). Legal instruments, political discourse and policy differentiate between three kinds of languages. The first are the official languages, which are the 23 languages that are the majority or official languages of the member states of the European Union. The second are the regional languages, national minority languages and indigenous minority or old minority languages that are the minority languages spoken in a specific region or territory of a member state and were present in that territory prior to the 20th century. Catalan is one of the largest regional languages. The third are the non-indigenous minority languages, new minority languages or immigrant minority languages, which are the languages of migrants from other continents who arrived after 1945. Turkish, with an estimated 1.7 million native speakers, is one of the largest ‘new’ minority languages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiberal Multiculturalism and the Fair Terms of Integration
EditorsPeter Balint, Sophie Guérard de Latour
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan UK
Pages194-211
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-32040-7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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