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National, Regional and Minority Languages in Europe

Contributions to the Annual Conference 2009 of EFNIL in Dublin

Series:

Gerhard Stickel (EFNIL)

The European linguistic diversity goes far beyond the official national languages of the present 27 member states of the European Union. In every country several languages of smaller or larger groups of speakers are used besides the official language or the languages of the majority population. These languages are autochthonous languages that have been used for a long time in the individual country as well as allochthonous languages of different groups of migrants and their descendants. The sometimes complicated relations between national, regional and minority languages within various countries are discussed in this volume. Besides reports on several countries, the general sociolinguistic and legal conditions are dealt with in overview contributions. In addition, the Dublin Declaration on the relationship between official languages and regional and minority languages in Europe is presented in 24 languages.

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b) General reflections

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Miquel Strubell When sticking out your tongue is even ruder! Abstract It is hard to talk about particular languages from diverse, even conflicting, points of view. Speakers of demographically large and politically powerful languages have their own views, and many are insensi- tive to the view and experience of demographically smaller and politically weaker languages. In par- ticular, in the traditions of the nation-state building process and of national romanticism, nationalist discourse has become internally invisible and regarded as the natural way of the world. I intend to delve into these issues, with special reference to language policies in Spain. I will end with an appeal for a reconsideration of the criteria for EFNIL membership, which I believe would add value to the Federation's work and scope, and make it more inclusive.1 Surely we all agree that it is rude to stick your tongue out at somebody. Today I hope to convey to you that there are cases when showing your tongue in public is even ruder than in others. As you all know, the Yiddish linguist Max Weinreich gave us an insightful definition of a language: “A language is a dialect with an army and a navy”.2 A 15th century Latin specialist in Castile, Antonio de Nebrija, came to a similar conclusion, just as Christopher Columbus was sailing to the west across the Atlantic, a feat that was to pave the way to Castile's building its own empire. In the prologue to the first Gramática Castellana to...

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