Ana səhifə

Europe at Present [Spring 2003]

Yüklə 1.85 Mb.
ölçüsü1.85 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   63

Ewa Glezman (Editor), Anna Dzienis, Jakub Nowacki, Tomasz Kula

Multilingual countries in Europe

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Main information about Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a country, which is not even big enough, to contain the letters of its name on most maps of Europe. This respected member of the European Union, has an area of 2586 sq km, with a population of about 430000 citizens. About 70% of the Luxembourgs population are nationals and the rest 30% consist of foreigners such as Belgian, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. This constitutional monarchy is ruled by the Grand Duke Henri. There are three main languages used in Luxembourg, which are Luxembourgish, French and German.46

Language in the past

In the Middle Ages, the great dividing line between Latinia and Germania, already underlying the treaty concluded at Meerssen between the grandsons of Charlemagne in 870, exactly constituted the territory of old Luxembourg, which had first entered on the historical stage in the year 963. Throughout the Ancien Regime, and even under Maria-Theresia of Austria, the country of Luxembourg was composed of a Walloon area and a Germanic region. These designations, which may be read on geographical charts of the era, make reference to the linguistic usage of the population, and of an administration which published all its edicts and laws in bilingual form, French and German.

Moreover the dialect still developed. The Luxembourgish language is referred to a Letzebuergesch by the inhabitants of the Grand Duchy, the Letzebuerger. Historically it finds its origins in the migrations of the Germanic tribes during the late Empire, of whom the salian Franks (from the North Sea) and the riparian Franks (from the Rhine) settled in the region of Luxembourg, at the foot of the Ardennes (and the Eifel in Germany) from the end of the third century of the Christian era. The Germanic language of Luxembourg is the result of a linguistic symbiosis which lasted for several centuries between these Frankish populations and the Gallo-Romans of the North East Gaul.47

From the point of view of German dialectology, which considers Luxembourgish as one of its most westerly and one of its most archaic dialects, Letzebuergesch finds itself classed among the dialects of Middle German (mitteldeutsch). The earliest written evidence of Luxembourgish appears in the biography of Countess Yolanda of Vianden (c.1290).  However, some scholars suggest it would be more prudent to recognize the first written expression of Luxembourgish in a French survey of the language in 1806. Until the twentieth century, the official use of Luxembourgish was sporadic, and its speakers did not see themselves as having a separate linguistic identity. In 1848 Luxembourgish was first used at a meeting of the Estates (a forerunner of the parliament of Luxembourg). In 1896 the poet Caspar Mathias Spoo gave his inaugural speech in parliament in Luxembourgish48.A number of attempts have been made to establish Luxembourgish as a written language. In 1912 according to a Education Law Luxembourgish was introduced into primary schools. This system never became official, though a generation of Luxembourg school children became familiar with it. In 1941 Nazi occupiers sought to have Luxembourgers declare German their native language and identity, but the people defiantly declared “Luxembourgish” instead. In 1950, a new dictionary of the Luxembourg language was commissioned. First the orthography had to be invented, that would have been more transparent than that of felters, and closer to the German.49 In 1975 the first official orthography of Luxembourgish was adopted and the dictionary Luxemburger Wörterbuch was published. In 1984 parliament voted to designate Luxembourgish as the national language, while stipulating that legislation  would continue to be written in French. All other administrative or judicial acts may be written in Luxembourgish, French, or German, but in practice mostly are written in French. This trilingualism in administrative matters is reflected in daily life, where individuals remain free to use the language of their choice. Thus, Luxembourgers today write in any of these languages, and sometimes even in English.

The use of three languages in Luxembourg today

Strictly speaking Luxembourgish cannot be considered a minority language. It is spoken as a native language by nearly the entire Luxembourg population (about 290,000 speakers). However, a considerable number of foreigners (110,000 residents, 65,000 working along the border) neither speak nor understand Luxembourgish50

The utilisation of Luxembourgish (spoken and written) in public life is becoming more and more widespread in the Grand Duchy, while German seems to be losing momentum and French enjoys a certain prestige! With English, French tends more and more to be used alongside Luxembourgish since the majority of foreigners living and working in Luxembourg express themselves in international languages. Therefore the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg basically presents a trilingual image. The use of these three languages is extremely complex..

French may be considered as a official language of the authorities. Parliamentary documents, proposed bills, procedures in court, administrative and judicial acts, are held and written in French, but the synoptic accounts of parliamentary debates (themselves carried out in Lëtzebuergesch or in French) are printed in German (Analytischer Kammerbericht) because they are distributed to all households in the country.51 Speeches at political rallies and other public occasions are in Lëtzebuergesch. Certain texts are multilingual, depending on the need to make sure that information is brought to all levels of the population.

Luxembourgish is used as a teaching medium at pre-primary level, and partly also at primary level. At secondary level, Luxembourgish is not taught as a subject, but used in practical courses. The language is not taught or used as a medium of teaching in higher education except in teacher training colleges where future pre- and primary school teachers a follow courses in teaching methods for Luxembourgish and Luxembourgish literature. Adult courses in Luxembourgish do exist. Education give the students a unique opportunity to learn many languages and thus gives access to many cultures. From the second year of primary school onwards, French is added as a discipline to the general program of education which, at this stage is still taught in German. Over the years, however, and particularly in secondary education, French gets an ever bigger share until it completely replaces German as the language of instruction, German being limited to the specialised courses in German language and literature. English too, it should be added, is required as a compulsory language throughout most of secondary education, and students choosing language studies also have the option to add Latin and/or ancient Greek.It appears therefore that the Luxembourg intellectual is mainly orientated towards French cultural values through his education, the more so since he will most probably attend University either in Belgium or in France (attendance at German Universities is statistically in third place). Tradition, natural sympathy and education all concur to put the Luxembourg élite within the French cultural orbit:52

The Catholic church, the leading denomination in Luxembourg, uses German in the majority of its written communications, while sermons and even liturgy are spoken more and more often in Luxembourgish.53

Audio-visual media are concerned, the Luxembourg viewer is able to receive thirty or more foreign and local stations as a consequence of the country's central geographical location. The radio programme in the Luxembourg language, was joined in October 1991 by a daily television magazine programme. There is an exception to this process of mixing languages in the Luxembourg press: official notices from the government and from the administration are drawn up in French, the traditional language of government and administration. A full radio service operates in the language all day.54 Most of the written press is in German. There are no daily or weekly newspapers in Luxembourgish, but some newspapers in French or German do carry articles in the language. There are a number of periodical publications in Luxembourgish

Kingdom of the Netherlands

Basic information about the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a country, which is quite small, with a territory of 41526 sq km and a population of 16105000 citizens. It is a constitutional monarchy with a Queen Beatrix van Oranje Nassau being a head of state. Over 95% of this country population are Dutch (Germanic and Gallo-Celtic stock), most of the rest are Indonesian, Surinamese and Moroccan. 60% of citizens are Christian, mainly Roman Catolics and Protestants, 3% are Muslims. The main languages of that country comes from Netherlandic branch. These are Deutch and Flemish. Other languages spoken are Frisian, Low saxon, Limburgish, Zeeuws and Brabantish.55

The Netherland's early history is linked with Belgium and Luxembourg; the three were known as the 'Low Countries' until the 16th century, when the present-day Netherlands' boundaries were roughly drawn. Originally the land was inhabited by tribal groups: the Germanic Batavi drained the sea lagoons while the Frisii lived on mounds in the remote north.

In the late 16th century the region's northern provinces, inhabited by recent converts to Protestantism, united to fight the Catholic Spanish rulers. Philip II of Spain sent the cruel Inquisition to enforce Catholicism, and war broke out in 1568. The revolt of the Netherlands was led by Prince William of Orange, nicknamed William the Silent for his refusal to enter into religious arguments. After 80 years of conflict Holland and its allied provinces expelled the Spaniards in 1648, and Holland became synonymous with the independent country that emerged in this corner of Europe (a bit like saying England when you mean Britain). The first king, King William I of Orange, was crowned in 1814, and the House of Orange rules to this day. In 1830 the Belgians rebelled and became independent; Luxembourg did the same soon after.56

Netherlands languages


It is Westerlauwer Frisian that most people mean when they say “Frisian.” Westerlauwer Frisian (Westerlauwersk Frysk, Frisian west of the Lauwer river) is used in the Netherlands’ province of Friesland and in the western parts of the Netherlands’ province of Groningen. Outside the Netherlands, these varieties tend to be known as “West Frisian,” but in the Netherlands this name (Westfries) refers to certain, strongly Frisian-influenced Dutch dialects.Frisian dialects survive in some emigrant communities, particularly in North America57.

The Netherlands province of Friesland has more than 600,000 inhabitants, about 450,000 of whom are able to speak Frisian. Approximately 350,000 use it as a native language. The estimated number of Frisian speakers in the province Groningen is 3,000. A 1994 survey revealed that 94% of Friesland’s population can understand Frisian, 74% can speak it, 65% are able to read it, and 17% can write it. Westerlauwer Frisian speakers are large majorities in rural communities. They are small minorities in the cities, on the Frisian Islands and in two Lowlands-Saxon-dominated southeastern municipalities of Friesland.

Friesland has been an officially (Frisian and Dutch) bilingual province for a few decades now. In 1996, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was ratified by the Netherlands, and this included Frisian. In 2001, a Covenant on Frisian Language and Culture between the Netherlands’ government and the province of Friesland was signed. This covenant is the implementation instrument of the Charter. In 1995, the right to use Frisian in the local and provincial assemblies was confirmed by statute. In 1980, Westerlauwer Frisian became a mandatory subject in Friesland’s elementary schools, and in 1993 it became mandatory in early secondary education. Already in the 1970s, Friesland’s students were able to choose Frisian as an examination subject in secondary education and in teacher training. The provincial government and the councils of several municipalities have begun to afford equal rights to Frisian and Dutch. “Friesland” (rather than Dutch “Friesland”) is now the official name of the province, and some Frisian place names in the province have been declared the only official ones.58

There are no printed newspapers totally in Frisian. Newspapers tend to carry some Frisian articles on cultural matters, and in Dutch articles Frisian speakers are usually quoted in their language. A small number of literary periodicals are published totally in Frisian.

Frisian used to be covered rarely and sparsely in the North German media. Some local newspapers and newsletters carry Frisian articles and columns. Some regular Frisian radio broadcasting was introduced recently.

Literary production in Westerlauwer Frisian is considerable, fairly meager in other Frisian language varieties. There are several Frisian museums, libraries, archives and cultural centres in both countries. Westerlauwer Frisian radio and television is broadcast all over the Netherlands. There is some production of Westerlauwer Frisian musical compact disks and lately also of films.59

Low saxon

There are several varieties of Low-Saxon in the Netherlands. The main differences exist in the province of Drenthe, between eastern parts of the province of Overijssel, and between east and west in the province of Gelderland. The  Stellingwerfs variety is spoken in the municipalities of Oost- en Weststellingwerf in Friesland and adjacent parts of Drenthe and the Northwestern part of Overijssel. Low-Saxon in the Netherlands is linguistically related to Low-Saxon/Low-German in northern Germany60


Limburgish is spoken in the two provinces of Limburg (Netherlands & Belgium), and in a few border villages in a small neighbouring part of Germany (the Selfkant area).

There are many varieties of Limburgish. Each village and city has its own dialect, but they are all mutually intelligible. The dialects in the north of Dutch Limburg are not considered Limburgish. The north boundary of the language is roughly marked by the "ik-ich isogloss". In this area, a lot of linguistic boundaries converge. In the east, there is a gradual transition to the Rhenish dialects (Kerkrade-Aachen, Sittard-Selfkant, Venlo-Krefeld).

Research has shown that approximately 75% of the inhabitants of the Dutch province of Limburg are able to speak the language. In a population of 1,200,000 people, this makes ± 900,000 speakers. The number of speakers is higher in the south, and lower in the northern parts and the city of Heerlen. The number of speakers in Belgian Limburg (675,000 inhabitants) is not exactly known. It is spoken in the entire province, but in a less extensive range of situations.61

Since 1997, the Limburgish language has been recognized as regional language by the Netherlands' government, according to Article 2, paragraph 1, of the "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages". Because of this, the Dutch Government is obligated to encourage the use of the language, although no specific rules or arrangements have been set.

With regard to social status, Limburgish is better off than many other regional languages. Not only the common people, but also the middle classes and the elite speak Limburgish.62


Zeeuws or Zeelandic is a regional language with a lot of North Sea Germanic features and is therefore related to Frisian, Scots and English. Some of these features can be found in Frisian as well, but others are exclusive to Zeeuws. As a reslut of continuing influence on Zeeuws by the Dutch standard language since the 17th century, a lot of these features have disappeared and made way for more 'Hollandic' forms. If this official recognition would go through in West and French Flanders as well, a huge linguistic area would become to exist with more than 1,2 million speakers. Zeeland and French Flanders are allready on their way.

It is the dialects of the Netherlands’ province Northern Brabant (Noord-Brabant) and the Belgian provinces of Antwerp (Antwerpen) and Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant) that are considered Brabantish. Of course, the isoglosses do not exactly coincide with the provincial boundaries. There are three smaller areas in Northern Brabant where non-Brabantish dialects are used: the Westhoek around Dinteloord with dialects that are rather more Hollandish, Budel and environs, that is Dommellands (d.h. Northwestern Belgian Limburgish), and the region of Cuijk where Kleverlandish is used, thus being more connected with the northern parts of Netherlands Limburg and southeastern Gelderland. Furthermore, there are a few transitional areas in which no exact boundary can be determined. The dialects of the Bommelerwaard to the north of eastern Northern Brabant strongly resemble the Brabantish dialects south of the Maas River. Flemish Brabant borders the Eastern Flemish dialect area in the west; the dialects in the transitional area, the Denderstreek, are also more or less Brabantish. Flemish Brabant borders Belgian Limburg in the east; the dialects of the transitional area, the Geteland, are also more or less Brabantish. In these three problematic cases, the provincial boundaries are referred to for the sake of convenience, although this is not quite correct in terms of dialectology.
Important features of Brabantish dialects include umlauting, diminutive forms with -ke, and 2nd person pronouns with g- (ge, gij, gellie).63

kingdom of Spain

Ethnic minorities

At the beginning of the Modern Age, the national State imposed a rigid ethnic, religious and cultural homogenization. After expelling the two most important minorities, the Jews exiled by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, and the Moriscos banished by Felipe II in 1609, there remained a religiously homogeneous population that was oblivious of its ethnic origins (at least until the appearance of the late 19th century Basque nationalism) and easily assimilated the small immigrant minorities (African slaves brought to Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries and the Germans who settled in the Sierra Morena in the 18th century). There has always existed some differentiated groups, for example the 'agotes' in Navarra or the 'vaqueiros de alzada' in Asturias, however the only clearly traditional ethnic minority are the Gypsies, who seemed to have arrived in Spain at the end of Middle Ages.

Their nomadic way of life has dispersed them all over the country, although the greatest number, Gypsy communities, are to be found in Madrid, Barcelona and the larger southern cities.

As in other countries, Spanish gypsies have for centuries managed to preserve their own culture and social organization, based on classes and lineages. The traditional pattern of segregation is increasingly difficult to maintain in urban areas, where their integration poses conflicts in schools, neighbourhoods and even in local communities.

Recent immigration is giving rise to new ethnic minorities as of yet not clearly defined. While Europeans have no incorporation problems whatsoever, and the assimilation of Latin Americans presents few difficulties owing to their cultural affinity to Spanish, the integration of Africans and Asians is more problematical.64

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   ...   63

Verilənlər bazası müəlliflik hüququ ilə müdafiə olunur © 2016
rəhbərliyinə müraciət