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LANGUAGE SECTARIANISM: REGIONAL LANGUAGES BETWEEN THE NATIONAL PAST AND A EUROPEAN FUTURE

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Chapter Summary

The European Union is home to national, regional and minority languages, only some of which have some recognition and the support of state language policies. To demonstrate this we proceed in three steps. First, we demonstrate that the current approach of European institutions and nation-states, providing support for languages is at odds with the commitment for equality of citizens, i.e. language communities and their members on the entire territory of the Union. Second, we demonstrate that most European languages with a stringently defined homeland territory are likely to survive, while those with no support from territorially defined language policies struggle to compete for speakers with the majority/official state languages. Thirdly, we discuss regional efforts to increase the currency of what is frequently seen as regional variety of the state language Samogitian, Latgalian and Võru in three new EU member-states undergoing processes of nation-cum-institution building. Finally, we review minority language activism of languages, ‘officially distinct’ from the state language, Kashubian and Silesian, contending that activism of these communities reflects the stark centripetal logic in state language policies. The salience of non-standard idioms, as we conclude, reflects both the European emphasis on linguistic diversity and nation-state linguistic cohesion – both trends resulting in ‘language sectarianism.’

10.1163/9789401208031_010
/content/books/b9789401208031s010
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