Many, if not most, minority languages (also called regional or ‘lesserused’
languages) have always been restricted to local community life and private
use. Nevertheless, the concept underlying nearly all measures meant to protect
and to promote these languages is aimed at intervening considerably in the way
they have been traditionally used by their speakers. Rather than promoting the
maintenance of the traditional ways of usage of what is considered an integral
part of Europe’s cultural wealth, language protection efforts like those implemented
by 25 countries in accordance with the European Charter for Regional or
Minority Languages are intended to ‘publicize’ and ‘develop’ these languages, i. e.
extending their usage to the public sphere and rendering them ‘public languages’.
By analyzing the Charter against the backdrop of the notion of ‘public sphere’,
this article will argue that European language planning is fundamentally – and
paradoxically – based on changing what it intends to protect.
Breton, the only Celtic language still spoken in continental Europe, has
undergone a massive language shift to French in the 20th century. In hyper-centralised
France marked by a long-standing monolingual ideology, it is clearly one
of the most endangered languages in Western Europe. Stigmatization of its practice,
especially at school, has led to self-stigmatization among speakers. In 2017
Breton is mainly used by a small, scattered, ageing bilingual minority in Brittany
and by a growing new speaker community. Regional language policy efforts are at
last bearing some fruit albeit modestly. External attacks and internal apathy have
somewhat receded. Like in other contexts of language revitalisation however, the
handover from traditional speakers to new speakers poses a delicate challenge.
Although the latter are usually uninhibited regarding the language, they are also
subject to a renewed form of stigmatization. Their register is denigrated, they are
accused of not preserving the integrity of a language that traditional speakers
have not passed down. Unless suffi cient care is taken, the ensuing linguistic insecurity
may sow the seeds of the appearance of a new negative form of identity.
Statistics on languages do not present an objective portrayal of the
linguistic reality, but are rather the product of decisions, constructs and selection
processes in the spheres of policy-making and academia. They play a key role
in discourses on linguistic representation, identity and language policy; indeed,
statistics on languages are regularly the topic of public debate in Switzerland.
The following analysis of the development of language statistics and the debates
surrounding Rhaeto-Romance since the middle of the 19th century underscores
that, although this language has long been part of Switzerland’s national selfimage,
the multilingual reality of the speakers of Rhaeto-Romance has largely
been ignored – and the comprehensive population census, relevant for this and
other minority languages, has fallen victim to current modernisation interests and
austerity measures. The signifi cance of linguistic diversity is thus revealed as variable
and dependent on the prevailing language ideologies and language policies.
This paper describes the namescape (or ‘onymic landscape’) of the
Austrian state of Carinthia, which combines elements of both Slovenian and
German (Bavarian) origin. The article comprises six sections. The fi rst recounts
the history of the territory of Carinthia, the second analyses the linguistic features
of bilingual Carinthia, the third describes the national confl icts in the last
100 years and the fourth represents the Slovenian language as „territorial language“
in Carinthia. The fi fth shows the onomastic characteristics of the region,
focusing above all on the relationship between the different forms of Slovenian
and German place names on the basis of the existence in Carinthia of a tradition
for common place names and examines the main features of the bilingual placenaming
system from a comparative perspective. The sixth section explains the
recommendation of the Constitutional Court to build up bilingual road signs in
regions where the Slovenian population constitutes more than 10 % of the entire
population. The so called „Road-Sign-Confl ict“ is now solved by the „Road Sign
Compromise“ (Ortstafelkompromiss) of 2011.
This paper compares some sociolinguistic aspects of Flemish Sign Language
(the language signed in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium) and Upper
Sorbian (a West Slavonic language spoken in the east of Germany). For both
languages, the following aspects are discussed: establishing the number of signers/
speakers; policies which lead to a situation of unstable diglossia; the domain
in which both languages are being used; disrupted transmission patterns; (absence
of) written tradition; (absence of) formal standard; language rights and the
grounds on which these rights are granted; and attitudes towards the languages
and their speakers/signers. To end with, the future vitality of VGT and USo is
The article is a summary of the arduous way – characterized by
„heights“ and „depths“– gone by Austria and Italy, which fi nally led to an acceptable
solution of the South Tyrol-problem.
At the end the author tries to give an analyse in terms of international law of
the Settlement Declaration and he stresses, that in no way it would constitute a
renunciation to the right of self-determination.
Following the chronicle sketched by the previous article, this essay sets
out to show the international aspects of all the measures taken in the context of
the Paris Agreement of 1946, the protection of minorities and the autonomy of
South Tyrol within the Italian State. Since all these measures can be seen to be
tied to the original treaty, their international impact is governed by the Vienna
Convention on the Law of Treaties. This paves the way for a judicial settlement
of any dispute in the matter of South Tyrol‘s autonomy.
This article depicts a correspondence in spring 1992 between Prof. Dr.
Hans Goebl, professor for Romance Linguistics at the Universität Salzburg, and
Dr. Alois Mock, Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1987 till 1995. On
22nd of April 1992, the Italian government send a note verbale, in which the word
„minoranza“ (minority) appeared in the singular and seemed to refer exclusively to
the German minority in South Tyrol. Prof Goebl suggested not to speak about
minoranza, but to speak about minoranze (minorities) to include the Ladin minority
in South Tyrol in this forthcoming agreement too.
This article deals with ethnomusicological research on music and minorities,
which has in the last decades developed into an infl uential approach in
international ethnomusicology. By looking into the early history and showing the
further development within the discipline, the author analyses major tendencies
up to now. Minorities’ research in ethnomusicology mirrors the development
of the discipline itself with its European specialities (folk music research, comparative
musicology). The research on Roma music serves as an example for
strategies, theories and methods. Especially with the research on Roma there is
a strong connection to the socio-political relevance of this research. The institutional
rooting of minority research in the Department of Folk Music Research
and Ethnomusicology at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna as
well as on the international level as an ICTM Study Group “Music and Minorities”
seems to be an important precondition for further developing the growth
of this very relevant direction of ethnomusicology.