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12 Language Rights as Cultural Rights: a European Perspective by Susanna Mancini and Bruno De Witte

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Chapter Summary

Language rights constitute limits to the ordinary operation of the politics of language within a state (or within a region or a supranational entity such as the European Union) which is expressed in statutes and administrative acts regulating the use of languages. This chapter first explores the national constitutional law of European countries, in recognition of the fact that linguistic rights are still primarily defined and regulated within the national context. It then analyses the common standards that have been developed at a transnational European level, in the context of the Council of Europe and also in the context of the European Union (EU). Although these common European standards have limited the previously complete discretion that states had in regulating language use, their relevance is limited and uneven. There is, arguably, not yet a 'comprehensive and coherent package of European linguistic rights, but it maybe in the making.

Keywords: Council of Europe; cultural rights; European Union (EU); language rights



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