Proceedings from the CALS conference 2014
The real relationship of language majorities and minorities
Multilingualism, or rather language diversity, varying demographic distributions of speakers of one or another idiom, and, perhaps most important, differences in the distribution of social power have led to the existence of language majorities and minorities. Despite their complementary relationship and despite the present consensus about the notion of minorities as marginalized, subordinated, and discriminated communities, the “minority question” over and above the level of minimal understanding of culture and language continues to be a problem in documents on European language policy in the context of protection of minority rights and promotion of multilingualism. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is as yet no universally accepted definition of the concepts “minority” and “minority rights”, nor any universally accepted classification of minorities (old, new, visible, compact, diffuse, etc.); there are problems in terminology as well (regional and/or minority languages).
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