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Encyclopedia > European languages

European languages are the object of Eurolinguistics. Europe is not defined in a unanimous way. There are three different definitions of Europe: Eurolinguistics is a comparatively young branch of linguistics which deals with questions on the languages of Europe. ...

  • political (languages of the European Union) (this definition is often used by authors dealing with language policy, e.g. Ahrens 2003, Kraus 2004)
  • geographical (from the Atlantic to the Ural) (this seems the most current definition of Europe, e.g. in Haarmann 1975 and 1993, Görlach 2002, Heine/Kuteva 2006)
  • anthropological (languages of the nations characterized by a Greek and a Latin heritage (including the rules of law), the (West) Roman variant of Christian religion (and its developments during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation), the use of the Latin alphabet, the separation of spiritual and secular power, societal pluralism and individualism, a common history of the arts (in their broadest sense) as well as a common history of education and formation like the establishment of the universities) (this is the definition that is used, for instance, by Huntington [1996: 45ff.], Schmidt [2000: 207ff.] and Grzega [2006]; Haarmann uses this definition to define the western part of Europe in its geographical sense)


Map of the Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (Russian: , Uralskiye gory) (also known as the Urals, the Riphean Mountains in Greco-Roman antiquity, and known as the Stone Belt) are a mountain range that runs roughly north and south through western Russia. ... This article is 150 kilobytes or more in size. ... Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (see Hebrews 8:6). ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ... The Counter-Reformation or the Catholic Reformation was a strong reaffirmation of the doctrine and structure of the Catholic Church, climaxing at the Council of Trent, partly in reaction to the growth of Protestantism. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt (born December 23, 1918) is a German Social Democratic politician. ... Joachim Grzega Joachim Grzega ([] or []; * 9 September 1971) is a German linguist. ...

List of Languages in Europe

See List of languages in Europe and Alphabetic list of living languages in Europe Map showing approximate current distribution of languages in Europe, but with emphasis on locations of minority languages Most of the many languages of Europe (in its geographical sense[1]) belong to the Indo-European language family. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ...

Common features of European languages

The following observations are based on the cultural-anthropological definition of Europe.

History of the writing system

(Sources and further information for this section: Haarmann 1991, Grzega 2006)

The writing system used in Europe is based on the phonographic-alphabetic principle. It originates in North Semitic (2000-1700 BC), was introduced by the Greeks and from there also brought to the Romans (6th century BC). The Latin alphabet was developed into several scripts. In the early years of Europe, the Carolingian minuscules were the most important variety of the Latin script. From this two branches developed, the Gothic/Fracture/German tradition, which Germans used well into the 20th century, and the Italian/Italic/Antiqua/Latin tradition, still used. For some nations the integration into Europe meant giving up older scripts, e.g. the Germanic gave up the runes (futhark) (3rd--17th century), the Irish the Ogham script (4th--7th century). 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world today. ... Example from 10th century manuscript Carolingian or Caroline minuscule is a script developed as a writing standard in Europe so that the Roman alphabet could be easily recognized by the small literate class from one region to another. ...   The Gothic alphabet is an alphabetic writing system attributed by Philostorgius to Wulfila, used exclusively for writing the ancient Gothic language. ... Antiqua is the traditional term for most kinds of roman typeface derived from the archetype designed by Nicholas Jenson circa 1470. ... Technical note: Due to technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ...

Sound features

(Sources and further information for this section: Haarmann 1973, Asher 1994, Price 1998, Grzega 2006)

The sound systems of languages may differ considerably between languages. European languages can thus rather be characterized negatively, e.g. by the absence of click sounds. One could also think of specific prosodic features, such as tonal accents. But there are also tonal languages in Europe: Croatian and Slovenian. In Slovenian the use of the musical accent is declining though (cf. Rehder 1998: 234)--but there are hardly any contexts where intelligibility is endangered. In Sweden Swedish (but not in Finland Swedish) there also is a pitch accent in some words, which can be meaningful, e.g. ´anden ‘the duck’ vs. ˇanden ‘the ghost, spirit’. Clicks are stops produced with two articulatory closures in the oral cavity. ... Prosody may mean several things: Prosody consists of distinctive variations of stress, tone, and timing in spoken language. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Tone (linguistics). ... Areas where Finland-Swedish populations are found shown in yellow Finland-Swedish is a general term for the closely related cluster of dialects of Swedish spoken in Finland by Finland-Swedes as a first language. ...

Typical grammatical features

(Sources and further information for this section: Asher 1994, Price 1998, Haspelmath 2001, Heine/Kuteva 2006)

Linguists distinguish between three structural types of languages:

  • isolating (i.e. grammatical/sentence functions are expressed through analytic means and relatively strict word-order rules, e.g. the strict S-V order rule in English),
  • agglutinating (i.e. grammatical/sentence functions are expressed through affixes, with one affix expressing exactly one function) and
  • inflecting (i.e. grammatical/sentence functions are expressed through affixes, with one affix expressing several functions).

European languages are seldom pure representatives of one type. For (a) Modern English is a good example (and in many way the code oral of French verbs); for (c) Old English and Modern High German are good examples (and in many ways the code écrit of French verb forms); classical representatives of type (b) are Finnish and Hungarian. If a language is not isolating, this does not necessarily mean that it has no word-order rules. Latin, Finnish and the Slavic languages have a relatively free word order, whereas many languages show more restricted rules. German and Dutch, e.g., show verb-second word-order in main clauses and verb-final order in subordinate clauses. English has subject-verb word-order, which is also preferred by the Romanic languages. Irish has a basic verb-initial word order. An agglutinative language is a language that uses agglutination extensively: most words are formed by joining morphemes together. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ...  Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language  Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language  Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup... Word order, in linguistic typology, refers to the order in which words appear in sentences across different languages. ... In grammar, a clause is a word or group of words with a subject and a verb. ... See subject (grammar) for the linguistic definition of subject. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Romance languages, also called Romanic languages, are a subfamily of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people evolving in different areas after the break-up of the Roman Empire. ...

Apart from the points already mentioned, the categories of aspect (not always easy to separate from the tense system) and gender are noteworthy. Under the category of aspect linguists basically understand the distinction between perfective actions (activity finished, has led to a result; single event) and imperfective actions (activity not yet finished, w/out information on termination; long duration, repetitive). The Slavic languages have a fine and rigid aspect system; in English there’s the distinction between progressive and non-progressive (simple) and a distinction between present perfect and past; in the Romanic languages the imperfect serves to denote background actions. In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in the described event or state. ...

The most current gender systems in Europe are twofold (masculine vs. feminine, e.g. in the Romanic languages, or uter vs. neuter, e.g. in the Scandinavian languages); but there are also languages that are three-fold (e.g. German) or lack grammatical gender at all (e.g. English, Hungarian, Finnish). The problem of gender also concerns the system of personal pronouns. We normally distinguish between 3 persons singular and 3 persons plural, but there are also some languages that have specific words for the dual (e.g. Sorbic). In the 3rd person singular we often have a distinction according to grammatical gender; in English, though, the choice is determined by natural gender; in Hungarian and Finnish we have no differentiation at all, in the Scandinavian languages on the other hand we have a differentiation that incorporate both grammatical and natural gender. In some languages the grammatical gender is also relevant in the 3rd pl. (e.g. the Romance languages). In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ... The North Germanic languages (also Scandinavian languages or Nordic languages) is a branch of the Germanic languages spoken in Scandinavia, parts of Finland and on the Faroe Islands and Iceland. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun phrase. ...

Whereas traditionally languages are grouped according to historical language families (e.g. Indo-European languages, Finno-Ugric languages), a more modern way is to look at grammatical features from a synchronic point of view. A certain number of common structural features would then characterize a sprachbund. For Europe, the most prominent sprachbund that we can determine is referred to as SAE (= Standard Average European) or Charlemagne sprachbund. Haspelmath (2001) illustrates that German, Dutch, French, Occitan and Northern Italian are the most central members of this sprachbund. Important features are (cf., e.g., Haspelmath 2001, Heine/Kuteva 2006): The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred related languages and dialects [1], including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many spoken in the Indian subcontinent (South Asia), the Iranian plateau (Southwest Asia), and Central Asia. ... Approximate geographical distribution of areas where indigenous Finno-Ugric languages are spoken. ... A Sprachbund (German for language bond, also known as a linguistic area, convergence area, diffusion area) is a group of languages that have become similar in some way because of geographical proximity. ... Standard average European (SAE) is a concept introduced by Benjamin Whorf to distinguish Indo-European and especially West Indo-European languages from languages of other grammatical types. ... Occitan, or langue doc is a Romance language characterized by its richness, variability, and by the intelligibility of its dialects. ...

  1. the distinction between an indefinite and a definite article
  2. the formation of relative clauses, which are positioned after the (pro)noun concerned and are introduced by a variable relative pronoun
  3. a past tense construction with “to have”
  4. a passive voice construction that shows the object of the action in the syntactic position of the subject and that uses the past participle in connection with an auxiliary
  5. a specific suffix for the comparative

An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. ... A relative clause is a subordinate clause that modifies a noun. ... A relative pronoun is a pronoun that marks a relative clause within a larger sentence. ... The past tense is a verb tense expressing action, activity, state or being in the past. ... In grammar, voice is the relationship between the action or state expressed by a verb, and its arguments (subject, object, etc. ... Suffix has meanings in linguistics, nomenclature and computer science. ... In grammar the comparative is the form of an adjective or adverb which denotes the degree or grade by which a person, thing, or other entity has a property or quality greater or less in extent than that of another. ...

Typical vocabulary features

(Sources and further information for this section: Haarmann 1975, Haarmann 1993, Paczolay 1997, Panzer 2000, Görlach 2002)

Latin, French and English not only served or still serve as linguae francae (cf. below), but also influenced the vernacular/national languages due to their high prestige. Due to this prestige, there are not only “necessity loans”, but also “luxury loans” and pseudo-loans. Many loans from these three languages (esp. Neo-Latin with its Greek elements) can be considered internationalisms, although occasionally the meanings vary from one language to another, which might even lead to misunderstandings. Examples: Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ... In linguistics (especially in German linguistics), an internationalism is a loanword that occurs in several languages with the same or at least similar meaning and etymology. ...

  • Lat. forma: e.g. Fr. forme, It. Sp. Cat. Cz. Slovak. Slovenian Hung. Pol. Croat. Latv. Lith. forma, Dan. Swed. E. Du. form, Romansh furma, G. Form, Ir. foirm),
  • Fr. restaurant, e.g. E. Du. Norw. Cat. Romansh restaurant, G. Restaurant, Swed. restaurang, Pg. restaurante, Sp. restaurante, It. ristorante, Cz. restaurace, Slovak reštaurácia, Slovenian restavracija, Latv. restorâns, Lith. restoranas, Estn. restoran, Pol. restauracja
  • E. manager, e.g. Du. Norw. Swed. Icel. Fr. Sp. Cat. It. Finn. Romansh manager, G. Manager, Pol. menadżer, Croat. menedžer, Lith. menedžeris, Hung. menedzser

Three minor source languages for European borrowings are Arabic (esp. in mathematics and science, foreign plants and fruits), Italian (esp. in arts, esp. from the 15th to the 17th c.), German (esp. in arts, education, mining, trading from the 12th to the 20th c. with alternating importance). Arabic ( or just ) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. ...

As far as the structuring or “wording” of the world is concerned changes occur relatively fast due to progresses in knowledge, sociopolitical changes etc. Lexical items that seem more conservative are proverbs and metaphorical idioms. Many European proverbs and idioms go back to Antiquity and the Bible, some originate in national stories and were spread over other languages via Latin. A typical European proverb to express that there is no profit without working can be paraphrased as “Roasted pigeons/larks/sparrows/geese/chickens/birds don’t fly into one’s mouth”, e.g. Cz. Pečeni ptáci nelítají do huby (birds!) = Dan. Stegte duer flyve ingen i munden (pigeon!) = ndl. De gebraden duiven vliegen je niet in de mond (pigeons!) = E. He thinks that larks will fall into his mouth roasted = Finn. Ei paistetut varpuset suuhun lennä (sparrows!) = Fr. Les alouettes ne vous tombent pas toutes rôties dans le bec (larks!) = G. Gebratene Tauben fliegen einem nicht ins Maul (pigeon!) = Hungar. Senkinek nem repül a szájába a sült galamb (pigeon!) = Lith. Keptas karvelis neatlėks pats i burną (pigeon!) = Latv. Cepts zvirbulis no jumta mutē nekrīt (sparrow!) = (Nynorsk) Norw. Det kjem ikkje steikte fuglar fljugande i munnen (bird!) = Pol. Pieczone gołąbki nie przydą same do gąbki (pigeons!) = Slovak Nech nik nečaká, že mu pečené holuby budú padať do úst (pigeons!) = Slovenian Pečeni golobje ne lete nobenemu v usta [pigeons!] = Swed. Stekta sparvar flyger inte in i munnen (sparrows!). Paczolay (1997) shows that many other proverbs and idioms, however, can also be found in North America and/or Latin America and/or the Slavic-Orthodox civilization, e.g. E. A prophet not without honor in his own country, Span. Nadie es profeta en su tierra. Look up metaphor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Nynorsk (Neonorwegian) is one of the two officially sanctioned written standards of the Norwegian language. ...

Typical communicative strategies

(Sources and further information for this section: Axtell 1993, Collett 1993, Morrison et al. 1994, Hickey/Stewart 2005, Grzega 2006)

In Geert Hofstede’s terms Europe can, to a large extend, be considered an individualistic civilization (i.e. a rather direct and analytic style is preferred, important points are mentioned before an explanation or illustration in an argument, decisions are based on compromise or the majority’s vote); in contrast, the Sinic (Chinese), Japanese, Arabic and Hindu (Indian) civilizations are collectivistic (i.e. a rather indirect and synthetic style is used, explanations and illustrations are mentioned before the essential point of an argument, decisions are reached through consent). We can further make Edward Hall’s distinction between “low context” communication (i.e. direct style, person-oriented, self-projection, loquacity) and “high context” communication (i.e. indirect style, status-oriented, reservation, silence). Most European nations use “low context” communication. Geert Hofstede Geert Hofstede is an influential Dutch expert on the interactions between national cultures and organizational cultures, and is an author of several books including Cultures Consequences (2nd, fully revised edition, 2001) and Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind (2nd, revised edition 2005, with Gert Jan Hofstede). ... Edward Hall (c. ...

What are some specific features of European communication strategies?

  1. One of them is the mostly reciprocal use of address terms (this is different in the Slavic Orthodox and Asian civilizations). Status seems to play a less important role than in the Sinic and Japanese civilizations. Communication between the sexes is absolutely normal in Europe, whereas it is traditionally very rare in the Arabic civilization. As to pronouns, we can point out the pronominal dualism in the vast majority of European languages (which also exists in Argentina, Uruguay, Guatemala [vos vs. usted], the Slavic Orthodox nations [e.g. Russ. ty vs. vy]; it has also been said that the American dialect form y'all is/was occasionally used as a formal address pronoun--cf. y'all). There are also tendencies in the nominal series of address terms, which distinguish Europe from other civilizations. In private, Europeans nowadays agree on addressing each other by the first name comparatively fast; in business communication, one should first use the correct title, even if a change toward less formal addressing may occur quite rapidly again. Title are definitely more important in the Hindu, Arabic, Sinic and Japanese civilizations; the Slavic Orthodox civilization can be characterized particularly by the frequency of nicknames in all kinds of private and informal conversation. Nicknames are sometimes used in informal and social situations among close friends and associates in the Americas (North and South/Latin).
  2. Concerning salutation terms in Europe (cf. especially Spillner 2001) we find that many of them include wishes for a good time of the day, for health (or the question whether somebody is in good health), for success or for luck. The common Arabic and Asiatic wish for peace, though, is absent in European civilization. It is also noteworthy that many European salutation phrases are frequently (at least in informal situations) very much reduced on a phonetic level, which is not so much the case in Arabic, Hindu (Indian), Sinic (Chinese) and Japanese civilizations.
  3. Frequent small talk topics are traveling, soccer (and other international sports disciplines), hobbies, American entertainment industry and the weather. In contrast, sexuality, death, religion, politics, money or class, personal issues and swearing are generally tabooed. Any racial, ethnic, sexist and cultural biased comments are shunned and morally opposed in Europe (and all developed countries) more than anywhere else. In Hindu, Arabic, Sinic and Japanese civilization people are frequently asked about their family (in Arabic civilization, however, this excludes the wife...even the word "wife" is compared to the "F" word in English-speaking countries). Due to their status-oriented nature, people from the Far East civilizations often ask for “administrative form” information, especially in Japan.
  4. Among Europeans (includes the Americas and Australia) and sometimes east Asians (esp. in Japan), the phrases for “thank you” are expected and welcomed in quite a number of situations (it's said the most in Great Britain and North America), whereas South Asian and Middle Eastern people use the phrase in a more economical way and often contend themselves with simple looks of thanks; on the other hand, other non-western civilizations (i.e. Polynesians of the south Pacific and Native American tribes) have rather extended formulae of thanks.
  5. With requests (cf. especially Trosborg 1995 and Cenoz/Valencia 1996), the bare imperative is normally avoided in favor of devices such as questions, modal auxiliaries, subjunctive, conditional, special adverbs. The exchange of verbal stems, which is found in Japanese and Sinic languages, is not a part of (Indo-)European languages.
  6. When somebody has to say no, this is normally accompanied by some form of apology or explanation. In the civilizations of the Far East and many Native American tribes in North America, the formal equivalents for “no” are unaccepted and/or basically tabooed in general.
  7. Apologies are necessary with face-threatening acts or after somebody has intruded somebody else’s private sphere--which is bigger and thus more easily violated in North America and Asia than in Europe and bigger in Europe (esp. the British Isles for etiquette reasons) than in Latin America and the Arab nations, and the concept of privacy and apology is universal, but varies from northern/western, eastern/Slavic and southern/Mediterranean countries. (Cf. especially Trosborg 1995).
  8. If the national descriptions by Axtell (1998) and Morris et al. (1979) are compared, then the following conclusions can be drawn with regard to compliments: in Europe one can safely make compliements on somebody’s clothes and appearance, meals and restaurants, voluntary offerings, a room’s equipment.

Water tower in Florence, Kentucky featuring the word yall. ...

Linguistic and cultural history

The following observations are based on the cultural-anthropological definition of Europe.

Linguae Francae — past and present

(Sources and further information for this section: Haarmann 1975, Haarmann 1993, Grzega 2006)

Europe’s history is characterized by four linguae francae: Lingua franca, literally Frankish language in Italian, was originally a mixed language consisting largely of Italian plus a vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Persian, French, Greek and Arabic and used for communication throughout the Middle East. ...

Linguae francae that were less wide-spread, but still played a comparatively important role in European history are: Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Look up Vernacular in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Cardinal Richelieu was the French chief minister from 1624 until his death. ... Louis XIV King of France and Navarre By Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701) Louis XIV (Louis-Dieudonné) (September 5, 1638–September 1, 1715) reigned as King of France and King of Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death. ... 1648 (MDCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Saturday of the 10-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nikolay II Aleksey Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Robert Nivelle Herbert H. Asquith D. Lloyd George Sir Douglas Haig Sir John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna... Year 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The Holy Roman Empire should not be mistaken for the Roman Empire (31 B.C.–A.D. 476). ... Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nikolay II Aleksey Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Robert Nivelle Herbert H. Asquith D. Lloyd George Sir Douglas Haig Sir John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...

Provençal (Prouvençau in Provençal language) is one of several dialects of the Romance language Occitan, which is spoken by a minority of people in southern France and other areas of France. ... Occitan, or langue doc is a Romance language characterized by its richness, variability, and by the intelligibility of its dialects. ... A troubadour composing lyrics, Germany c. ... The Middle Low German language is an ancestor of the modern Low German language, and was spoken from about 1100 to 1500. ... Carta marina of the Baltic Sea region (1539). ... Northern Europe is marked in dark blue Northern Europe is a name of the northern part of the European continent. ...

First dictionaries and grammars

(Sources and further information for this section: Haarmann 1975, Haarmann 1993, Grzega 2006)

The first type of dictionaries are glossaries, i.e. more or less structured lists of lexical pairs (in alphabetical order or according to conceptual fields). The Latin-German (Latin-Bavarian) Abrogans is among the first. A new wave of lexicography can be seen from the late 15th century onwards (after the introduction of the printing press, with the growing interest for standardizing languages). The dictionary is a list of words with their definitions, a list of characters with their glyphs, or a list of words with corresponding words in other languages. ... Look up glossary in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Lexicography is either of two things Practical lexicography is the art or craft of writing dictionaries. ... The printing press is a mechanical device for printing many copies of a text on rectangular sheets of paper. ...

Language and identity, standardization processes

(Sources and further information for this section: Haarmann 1975, Haarmann 1993, Grzega 2006)

In the Middle Ages the two most important definitory elements of Europe were Christianitas and Latinitas. Thus language—at least the supranational language—played an elementary role. This changed with the spread of the national languages in official contexts and the rise of a national feeling. Among other things, this led to projects of standardizing national language and gave birth to a number of language academies (e.g. 1582 Accademia della Crusca in Florence, 1617 Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, 1635 Académie française, 1713 Real Academia de la Lengua in Madrid). “Language” was then (and still is today) more connected with “nation” than with “civilization” (particularly in France). “Language” was also used to create a feeling of “religious/ethnic identity” (e.g. different Bible translations by Catholics and Protestants of the same language). The Accademia della Crusca is an Italian institution that brings together scholars and experts in Italian linguistics and philology. ... The Académie française In the French educational system an académie LAcadémie française, or the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. ... The Real Academia Española (Spanish for Royal Spanish Academy, RAE) is the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress. ...

Among the first standardization discussions and processes are the ones for Italian (“questione della lingua”: Modern Tuscan/Florentine vs. Old Tuscan/Florentine vs. Venetian > Modern Florentine + archaic Tuscan + Upper Italian), French (standard is based on Parisian), English (standard is based on the London dialect) and (High) German (based on: chancellery of Meißen/Saxony + Middle German + chancellery of Prague/Bohemia [“Common German”]). But also a number of other nations began to look for and develop a standard variety in the 16th century. This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Chancellery is the office of the chancellor, sometimes also reffered to as the chancery. ... Nickname: City of a Hundred Spires Motto: Praga Caput Rei publicae Location within the Czech Republic Coordinates: Country Czech Republic Region Capital City of Prague Founded 9th century  - Mayor Pavel Bém Area    - City 496 km²  (191. ...

Treatment of linguistic minorities

(Sources and further information for this section: Stephens 1976, Price 1998, Ahrens 2003, Grzega 2006)

Despite the importance of English as an international lingua franca also in Europe, Europe can be associated with its linguistic diversity, which also includes the special protection of minority languages, e.g. by the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages founded in the 1990's. This underlines that the popular view of “one nation = one language” (cf. Wirrer 2003) is mostly false.

A minority language can be defined as a language used by a group that defines itself as an ethnic minority group, whereby the language of this group is typologically different and not a dialect of the standard language. For several years now, Jan Wirrer has been working on the status of minority languages in Europe (cf., e.g., Wirrer 2000 and 2003). In Europe--e.g. thanks to the European Charter of Regional and Minority Language--some languages are in quite a strong position, in the sense that they are given special status, such as Basque, Irish, Welsh/Cymraeg, Catalan, Rhaeto-Romance/Romansh and Romani, native language of the Roma/Gypsies in Eastern Europe). Some minor languages don’t even have a standard yet, i.e. they have not even reached the level of an ausbausprache yet, which could be changed, e.g., if these languages were given official status. (cf. also next section). Roma may refer to: Roma people, also known as Gypsies Rome, the capital of Italy, its name in Italian and several other languages ROMA, Representational Oligonucleotide Microarray Analysis, a genomics technology A.S. Roma, an Italian football (soccer) team Roma (mythology), Roman deity Roma (film), three films of that name... An Ausbausprache (also called an ausbau language) is a language which has a standard spelling, a standard grammar and a relatively wide and clear vocabulary (and is thus almost identical with a standard language). ...

Issues in language politics

(Sources and further information for this section: Siguan 2002, Ahrens 2003, Grzega 2006)

France is the origin of two laws, or decrees, concerning language: the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts (1239), which says that every document in France should be written in French (i.e. not in Latin nor Occitan) and the French Loi Toubon, which aims at eliminating Anglicisms from official documents. But a characteristic feature of Europe is linguistic diversity and tolerance, which is not only shown by the European Charta of Regional and Minority Languages. An illustrative proof of the promotion of linguistic diversity in the Middle Ages is the translation school in Toledo, Spain, founded in the 12th century (in medieval Toledo the Christian, the Jewish and the Arab civilizations live together remarkably peacefully). The Toubon Law (full name: law 94-665 of 4 August 1994 relating to usage of the French language), is a law of the French government mandating the use of the French language in official government publications, advertisements, and some other contexts. ... Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain, about 70 kilometers south of Madrid. ...

This tolerant linguistic attitude is also the reason why the EU’s general rule is that every official national language is also an official EU language. However, Letzebuergish/Luxemburgish is not an official EU language, because there are also other (stronger) official languages with “EU status” in that country. Several concepts for a EU language policy are being debated: Luxembourgish or Luxembourgian (in French, Luxembourgeois; in German, Luxemburgisch; in Luxembourgish Lëtzebuergesch) is a West Germanic language spoken in Luxembourg. ...

  • one official language (e.g. English, Interlingua, or Esperanto.
  • several official languages (e.g. English, French, German, Spanish + another topic-dependend language).
  • all national languages as official languages, but with a number of relay languages for translations (e.g. English or Esperanto as relais languages).
  • New immigrants in European countries are expected to learn the host nation's language, but are still speaking and reading their native languages (i.e. Arabic, Hindustani/Urdu, Mandarin Chinese, Swahili and Tahitian) in Europe's increasingly multiethnic/multicultural profile.

Interlingua is an international auxiliary language (IAL) published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA). ... Look up Esperanto in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


  • Rüdiger Ahrens (ed.): Europäische Sprachenpolitik / European Language Policy, Heidelberg: Winter 2003.
  • R. E. Asher et al. (eds.): The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Oxford: Pergamon 1994.
  • Roger Axtell: Do's and Taboos Around the World, White Plains: Benjamin 1993.
  • Jasone Cenoz / Jose F. Valencia: 'Cross-Cultural Communication and Interlanguage Pragmatics: American vs. European Requests', in: Journal of Pragmatics vol. 20 (1996): p. 41-54.
  • Peter Collett: Foreign Bodies: A Guide to European Mannerisms, London: Simon & Schuster 1993.
  • Gyula Décsy: Die linguistische Struktur Europas: Vergangenheit – Gegenwart – Zukunft, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 1973.
  • Manfred Görlach (ed.), English in Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2002.
  • Joachim Grzega: EuroLinguistischer Parcours: Kernwissen zur europäischen Sprachkultur, Frankfurt: IKO 2006, ISBN 3-88939-796-4 (most of the information presented here is a summary of this book--the book was positively reviewed by Norbert Reiter here and by Uwe Hinrichs here)
  • Harald Haarmann: Soziologie und Politik der Sprachen Europas, München: dtv 1975.
  • Harald Haarmann: Universalgeschichte der Schrift, 2nd ed., Frankfurt (Main)/New York: Campus 1991.
  • Harald Haarmann: Die Sprachenwelt Europas: Geschichte und Zukunft der Sprachnationen zwischen Atlantik und Ural, Frankfurt (Main): Campus 1993.
  • Martin Haspelmath: "The European Linguistic Area: Standard Average European", in: Martin Haspelmath et al. (eds.), Language Typology and Language Universals, vol. 1, p. 1492-1510, Berlin: de Gruyter 2001.
  • Martin Haspelmath et al. (eds.): The World Atlas of Language Structures, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2005.
  • Bernd Heine / Tania Kuteva: The Changing Languages of Europe, New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press 2006.
  • Leo Hickey / Miranda Stewart (eds.): Politeness in Europe, Clevedon etc.: Multilingual Matters 2005.
  • Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York: Simon & Schuster 1996.
  • Peter A. Kraus: Europäische Öffentlichkeit und Sprachpolitik: Integration durch Anerkennung, Frankfurt (Main)/New York: Campus.
  • Ernst Lewy: Der Bau der europäischen Sprachen, Tübingen: Niemeyer 1964.
  • Desmond Morris et al. (1979): Gestures: Their Origins and Distribtions, New York: Stein & Day.
  • Terri Morrison et al.: Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries, Holbrook: Adams Media 1994.
  • Gyula Paczolay: European Proverbs in 55 Languages with Equivalents in Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Chinese and Japanese, Veszprém: Veszprém Press 1997.
  • Baldur Panzer: "Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede im Wortschatz europäischer Sprachen", in: Werner Besch et al. (eds.), Sprachgeschichte, vol. 2, p. 1123-1136, Frankfurt (Main): Lang 2000.
  • Siegfried Piotrowski / Helmar Frank (eds.): Europas Sprachlosigkeit: Vom blinden Fleck der European Studies und seiner eurologischen Behebung, München: KoPäd 2002.
  • Glanville Price: Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe, Oxford: Blackwell 1998.
  • Peter Rehder: 'Das Slovenische', in: Rehder, Peter (ed.), Einführung in die slavischen Sprachen, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1998.
  • Helmut Schmidt: Die Selbstbehauptung Europas: Perspektiven für das 21. Jahrhundert, Stuttgart/München: Deutsche Verlangs-Anstalt 2000.
  • Miquel Siguan: Europe and the Languages, 2002, English internet version of the book L'Europa de les llengües, Barcelona: edicions 62.
  • Bernd Spillner: Die perfekte Anrede: Schriftlich und mündlich, formell und informell, national und international, Landsberg (Lech): Moderne Industrie.
  • M. Stephens: Linguistic Minorities in Western Europe, Llandysul 1976.
  • Anna Trosborg: Interlanguage Pragmatics: Requests, Complaints and Apologies, Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter 1995.
  • Jan Wirrer (ed.): Minderheitensprachen in Europa, Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag 2000.
  • Jan Wirrer: 'Staat -- Nation -- Sprache, eine Gleichung, die -- fast -- aufgeht: Minderheiten- und Regionalsprachen in Europa", in: Metzing, Dieter (ed.), Sprachen in Europa: Sprachpolitik, Sprachkontakt, Sprachkultur, Sprachentwicklung, Sprachtypologie, p. 21-52, Bielefeld: Aisthesis 2003.

Samuel Phillips Huntington (born April 18, 1927) is a political scientist known for his analysis of the relationship between the military and the civil government, his investigation of coup detats, and his thesis that the central political actors of the 21st century will be civilizations rather than nation-states. ... Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt (born December 23, 1918) is a German Social Democratic politician. ...

See also

Eurolinguistics is a comparatively young branch of linguistics which deals with questions on the languages of Europe. ...

External links

  • EuroLinguistiX (ELiX) (including an academic journal, a discussion forum, a wiki for projects, a collection of internet links as well as a bibliography of Eurolinguistic studies)

  Results from FactBites:
Indo-European languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2290 words)
The Indo-European languages comprise a family of several hundred languages and dialects (443 according to the SIL estimate), including most of the major languages of Europe, as well as many in Southwest Asia, Central Asia and Southern Asia.
Tocharian languages, extinct tongues of the Tocharians, extant in two dialects, attested from roughly the 6th century.
Archaic Proto-Indo-European languages occur in the Balkans (Starčevo-Körös-Cris culture), in the Danube valley (Linear Pottery culture), and possibly in the Bug-Dniestr area (Eastern Linear pottery culture).
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