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National Varieties of German outside Germany

A European Perspective


Edited By Gabrielle Hogan-Brun

In what way do the national varieties of German outside Germany differ? How do they manifest themselves in different levels of language use? What attitudes exist towards the use of these varieties and how are they reflected in national and European-wide language policies? What is the role of the media?
This collection of especially commissioned articles, written in English by internationally renowned experts, explores these and related questions. It draws together research on the status and role of German and on attitudes towards its use in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy (South Tyrol), France (Alsace), Denmark (Nordschleswig) and Hungary.


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German as a Minority Language: The Legislative and Policy Framework in Europe 49


Stefan Wolff German as a Minority Language: The Legislative and Policy Framework in Europe Language rights are an important component of the rights of ethnic minorities. This has become widely accepted at international level and is increasingly incorporated into national law in ethnically plural countries. After a brief introduction to the history and current development of linguistic rights at international and European level, this chapter examines the legal framework for the preservation and development of German as a minority language in four countries of the European Union - France, Italy, Denmark, and Belgium. It concludes that the members of German minority communities in each country can determine their linguistic future individually and collec- tively without pressure or fear of discrimination. 1 Introduction In many cases, language is a vital component of individual and group identities and figures prominently among the aspects by which ethnic minorities distinguish themselves from majority populations in their host-countries. Thus, the very survival of a minority population as a distinct ethno-cultural group often depends on the provisions that are being made for the continued preservation of its mother tongue as a living language. This can normally only be achieved if that language is used in public as well as the private sphere and is taught as a first language at schools, which, in turn, is only possible if political and legal conditions are in place that allow minorities to 'live' in their lan- guage. These include, above all, a commitment by the relevant state not to...

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