Minority Languages and Protection of National Minorities in Europe

There are between 60 and 150 minority languages—the number depending on the definition of what constitutes a minority language—that are widespread throughout Europe, spoken by approximately 55 million people. Except for Iceland, minority languages are spoken in all European countries. About one tenth of the European population belongs to a minority. Various international treaties protect and promote the cultures and languages of national and regional minorities but their treatment and corresponding policies, regulations, and measures are matters of state-level politics and thus vary among different European states. Contrary to more recent migrant populations, members of national and regional minorities have inhabited the European states for long periods of time. The minority status of some groups, however, is due to more recent border changes in the ...

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