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EU AND NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICIES: PROTECTION OF THE STATE AND MINORITY LANGUAGES Prof. Ina DRUVIETE University of Latvia Helsinki, 23 November 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "EU AND NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICIES: PROTECTION OF THE STATE AND MINORITY LANGUAGES Prof. Ina DRUVIETE University of Latvia Helsinki, 23 November 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 EU AND NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICIES: PROTECTION OF THE STATE AND MINORITY LANGUAGES Prof. Ina DRUVIETE University of Latvia Helsinki, 23 November 2007

2 “Linguistic diversity is one of the European Union’ s defining features. Respect for the diversity of the Union’s languages is a founding principle of the European Union”. Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity: An Action Plan Brussels, 2003.

3 The EU member states are responsible for the protection of linguistic diversity. The states have the honour and moral duty to protect, promote and study their autochthonous languages. Latvia is the only country of the world which can assume responsibility for protection and development of the Latvian language and the Liv language.

4 The Latvian language is: 1) the basis for national identity, 2) the language of the integration of society, 3) part of the cultural heritage of the world.

5 Language maintenance Relative language stability in its number and distribution of speakers. Relative language stability in its number and distribution of speakers. Proficient usage in children and adults. Proficient usage in children and adults. Retaining the use of language in all sociolinguistic domains. Retaining the use of language in all sociolinguistic domains. Perception of language as a stable element of national and ethnic identity. Perception of language as a stable element of national and ethnic identity.

6 Languages in the EU 1) official and working languages (23), 2) Language with special status in the programmes (Luxembourgish) 3) Regional and minority languages: 45 "lesser used languages" in “old” member states, 45 "lesser used languages" in “old” member states, ?? in “new” member states, ?? in “new” member states, 4) non- territorial languages (Yiddish, Romani) 5) diaspora languages of refugees and labor migrants.

7 Language competition: sociolinguistic factors 1. Quantity of speakers (including L2 speakers). 2. Development of economy in the country. 3. Market for goods and services in the language. 4. Regional status, traditional use and learning in neighboring countries. 5. Linguistic development (standardization, terminology, software etc.).

8 The most spoken languages... LanguageSpeakers in the EU (mill.) Speakers worldwide English65402 Spanish40392 Portuguese10202 German90120 French62128 Dutch1821

9 … and the other languages Slovak 5.4 million Finnish 5.3 million Lithuanian 3.6 million Latvian 2.3 million Slovenian 1.9 million Estonian 1.4 million Maltese 0.3 million

10 L2 skills in the EU English 34% English 34% German 12% German 12% French 11% French 11% Spanish 5% Spanish 5% Italian 2% Italian 2% Polish 1% Polish 1% Dutch 1% Dutch 1% All other EU languages 3% All other EU languages 3% Eurobarometer 63.4, 2005 Eurobarometer 63.4, 2005

11 Percentage of minorities among total population % of minoritiesCountries 0-5%Austria, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Finland*, Ireland*, Belgium*, Cyprus*, Malta, Poland 5-10%France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia 10-20%UK, Sweden, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria 20-30%Spain 30-40%Luxembourg, Estonia, Romania 40-50%Latvia

12 The Latvian Language Belongs to the Baltic group of the Indo-European family of languages. Belongs to the Baltic group of the Indo-European family of languages. First written texts in the 16th century. First written texts in the 16th century. The only official State language in Latvia. The only official State language in Latvia. Native language for 1.5 million people (1.38 million in Latvia). L2 speakers million. Native language for 1.5 million people (1.38 million in Latvia). L2 speakers million. One of languages out of 7000 in the world spoken by more than one million of people. One of languages out of 7000 in the world spoken by more than one million of people. Languages in competition - Russian and English, two international languages with high economic value. Languages in competition - Russian and English, two international languages with high economic value.

13 Aims of the State Language Policy in Latvia: To ensure the sustainability, linguistic quality and competitiveness of the Latvian language as the state language of the Republic of Latvia and the official language of the European Union in the market of languages in Latvia and the world. To ensure the sustainability, linguistic quality and competitiveness of the Latvian language as the state language of the Republic of Latvia and the official language of the European Union in the market of languages in Latvia and the world. To guarantee the opportunity to preserve, develop and use in certain functions the languages of minorities of Latvia. To guarantee the opportunity to preserve, develop and use in certain functions the languages of minorities of Latvia.

14 Legal and institutional protection Status of Latvian in the Constitution (1988) Language Law (1989, 1992) State Language Proficiency Certification Regulations (1992) Regulations of the State Language Inspection Board (1992) Establishment of the State Language Centre (1992) State Language Acquisition Programme (1995) Law on the State Language (1999) State Language Commission (2002) State Language Agency (2004) State Language Policy Programme (2006)

15 LATVIA Latvians 58.9% Russians 28.4% Belarusians 3.8% Ukrainians 2.5% Poles 2.4% Lithuanians 1.4% Jews 0.5% Roma 0.4% Others 1.7%

16 Positive factors for Latvian language maintenance Sufficient number of L1 speakers and growing number of L2 speakers. Sufficient number of L1 speakers and growing number of L2 speakers. Legal status of the official state language. Legal status of the official state language. The use in all sociolinguistic functions. The use in all sociolinguistic functions. The dominant use in higher education. The dominant use in higher education. High linguistic quality of Standard language (developed stylistic system and terminology). High linguistic quality of Standard language (developed stylistic system and terminology). Legal and financial mechanisms for language protection. Legal and financial mechanisms for language protection. Status as one of the official EU languages. Status as one of the official EU languages.

17 Negative factors forLatvian language maintenance Competition of languages that is unfavourable for the respective language. Competition of languages that is unfavourable for the respective language. High economic value of the main languages in competition. High economic value of the main languages in competition. Insufficient and uneven enlargement of the environment of the Latvian language. Insufficient and uneven enlargement of the environment of the Latvian language. Discrepancy between nominal and actual sociolinguistic functions of the State language and minority language. Discrepancy between nominal and actual sociolinguistic functions of the State language and minority language. Decline of the quality of language in professional activities. Decline of the quality of language in professional activities. Narrowing of the cultural environment of the language. Narrowing of the cultural environment of the language. Adverse linguistic attitudes. Adverse linguistic attitudes. Uncertainty about the future language regime in the EU institutions. Uncertainty about the future language regime in the EU institutions.

18 Member state’s/EU interaction areas: Language regime in EU institutions (translation, interpretation) Language regime in EU institutions (translation, interpretation) Language use in meetings and publications Language use in meetings and publications Terminology development Terminology development Language teaching and learning Language teaching and learning Language standardization Language standardization

19 Education systems have to ensure high- level multilingualism both among students and staff avoiding subtractive bilingualism and allowing students to function at the international arena and protecting national identity at the same time.

20 “Communicative competence in languages (= first language plus two other languages) should be the minimum goal within the primary and secondary educational system of each country. If the learner’ s first language is not an official language of the country, one of the two additional languages should be an official language.” (EFNIL Brussels Declaration, 2006)

21 "It needs to be recognised that the trend in non-English speaking countries towards teaching through the medium of English, instead of through the national and regional language, may have unforeseen consequences for the vitality of those languages". (A new Framework Strategy for Multilingualism, 2005)

22 Domain loss in higher education will have a direct impact on: …the other sociolinguistic domains, e.g. science, quality of language in general (terminology, academic writing, scientific popular literature, the language use and teaching/learning ideologies and practices in all the hierarchically subordinated education system.

23 Language standardization: Use of diacritics ! Use of diacritics ! EURO! EURO! Spelling of proper names! Spelling of proper names!

24 "One of the paradoxes of language policy in the EU institutions is that languages are often regarded as purely practical, technical matters, while at the same time they are fundamental to personal, group and national identity and national interests" (Phillipson 2003: 21)

25 Small official languages of the EU form a special group not sufficiently protected neither by market forces (as so-called international languages), nor by international declarations, charters or conventions (as minority languages).

26 It is necessary to develop both dimensions: centralized EU activities and activities in the member-states. There is an urgent need for more definite language policy in the European Union taking into account sociolinguistic realities.

27 The Riga Resolution of EFNIL on National and European Language Policy (2007) “Successful co-ordination and co- operation between the different national and European policies can only be achieved if the various policy-making bodies and their ideas are linked. “National and European policy measures should be goal-oriented and bases on a sound knowledge of the linguistic facts.


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