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Title: EU AND NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICIES: PROTECTION OF THE STATE AND MINORITY LANGUAGES


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 Unions languages is a founding
principle of the European Union. Promoting
Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity An
Action Plan 2004-2006. 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.
  • Proficient usage in children and adults.
  • Retaining the use of language in all
    sociolinguistic domains.
  • 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,
  • ?? 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...
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
  • German 12
  • French 11
  • Spanish 5
  • Italian 2
  • Polish 1
  • Dutch 1
  • All other EU languages 3

  • Eurobarometer 63.4, 2005

11
Percentage of minorities among total population
12
The Latvian Language
  • Belongs to the Baltic group of the Indo-European
    family of languages.
  • First written texts in the 16th century.
  • The only official State language in Latvia.
  • Native language for 1.5 million people (1.38
    million in Latvia). L2 speakers - 0.4 million.
  • One of 200-250 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.

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 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 -2007 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.
  • Legal status of the official state language.
  • The use in all sociolinguistic functions.
  • The dominant use in higher education.
  • High linguistic quality of Standard language
    (developed stylistic system and terminology).
  • Legal and financial mechanisms for language
    protection.
  • Status as one of the official EU languages.

17
Negative factors forLatvian language maintenance
  • Competition of languages that is unfavourable for
    the respective language.
  • High economic value of the main languages in
    competition.
  • 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.
  • Decline of the quality of language in
    professional activities.
  • Narrowing of the cultural environment of the
    language.
  • Adverse linguistic attitudes.
  • Uncertainty about the future language regime in
    the EU institutions.

18
Member states/EU interaction areas
  • Language regime in EU institutions (translation,
    interpretation)
  • Language use in meetings and publications
  • Terminology development
  • Language teaching and learning
  • 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 1 2 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 !
  • EURO!
  • 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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