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Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration

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Edited By Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel

This Critical Dictionary on Borders, Cross-Border Cooperation and European Integration is the first encyclopaedia which combines two so far not well interconnected interdisciplinary research fields, i.e. Border Studies and European Studies. Organised in an alphabetical order, it contains 207 articles written by 115 authors from different countries and scientific disciplines which are accompanied by 58 maps. The articles deal with theory, terminology, concepts, actors, themes and spaces of neighbourhood relations at European borders and in borderlands of and around the European Union (EU). Taking into account a multi-scale perspective from the local to the global, the Critical Dictionary follows a combined historical-geographical approach and is co-directed by Birte Wassenberg and Bernard Reitel, with a large contribution of Jean Peyrony and Jean Rubio from the Mission opérationnelle transfrontalère (MOT), especially for the cartography. The Dictionary is also part of four Jean Monnet activities supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union for the period 2016-2022: two Jean Monnet projects on EU border regions (University Strasbourg), one Jean Monnet network (Frontem) and the Franco-German Jean Monnet excellence Center in Strasbourg, as well as the Jean Monnet Chair of Bernard Reitel on borders and European integration. Rather than being designed as an objective compilation of facts and figures, it should serve as a critical tool for discussion between researchers, students and practitioners working in the field of borders, cross-border cooperation and European Integration.

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Regional Language

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The concept of regional language is often used as a synonym for minority language and opposed to official language (or national language). The construction of current European nation states (particularly since the 17th century) has been intrinsically linked to a political, cultural and language homogenization process based on the principle of “one language, one state, one people”, in which language has had a key role in defining identity. In this way, majority or dominant languages were promoted while others (peripheral with regards to the dominant power) were marginalized. The former acquired an official status across the entire territories of such states given that they were used by public institutions (government, administration, legal system, education, etc.). In this way, knowledge and use of these official languages became compulsory. The other languages, referred to as regional or minority, found themselves at a disadvantage since they were relegated to optional languages.

What defines a regional or minority language is not the total number of speakers of the language but rather the fact of being a minority in the state where it is spoken, or of having a non-official status. In this sense, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) —a European Treaty (CETS 148) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical, regional and minority languages in Europe— defines regional or minority languages as those “traditionally used within a given territory of a state by nationals of that state...

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