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Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity

Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity. Ch 22: Western Europe By Andree Tabouret-Keller. The Present Concept of Western Europe. Eastern border of Europe is hard to define, and European Union is gradually expanding Eastward

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Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity

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  1. Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity Ch 22: Western Europe By Andree Tabouret-Keller

  2. The Present Concept of Western Europe • Eastern border of Europe is hard to define, and European Union is gradually expanding Eastward • Unlike the Slavic World, W Europe does not consist of clear linguistic groupings • There are also both long-established minorities and “pockets” of immigrants

  3. Ethnicity “natural” grouping with shared features (physical, cultural), common past, and same race More usual for reference to other parts of the world Race family generations biological species human groups distinguished by physical features Reference to race is often avoided Ethnicity vs. Race

  4. EU language policies • We will examine: • education, ethnicity, and language in immigrant populations in Britain & France • regional language policies in France • ethnicization among Spanish Basque and Belgian Flemmings

  5. The Link to Democracy • Some assume that a common language is necessary to provide the communication needed for democracy • This leads to policies that promote monolingualism • Such policies are the norm among W European nation-states

  6. European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages • What do you know about it? • 1992: most states signed (France is an exception), only an agreement to protect languages, no legal commitment & no political recognition of groups • To qualify a language must: • be European, be distinct, have a territory • Weaknesses: • states get to choose which languages qualify, what measures to take

  7. Directive originally called for mother-tongue instruction for children, regardless of country of origin Final version was aimed only at indigenous and minority groups of Europe, and all implementation was left up to the member states The Council Directive on Education of Minority Workers

  8. Only Foreigners Are Ethnic • Linguistic minorities: indigenous people who were either always a minority or became one when political boundaries moved • Ethnic minorities: Groups of recent immigrants • Countries differ (French is official language, UK has no official language…), but overall trend: • Moving toward closed-door policy, particularly in relation to immigrants

  9. Ethnicity and language in Britain • 1948 Nationality Act allowed free entry for all from colonies of UK & Commonwealth; 1950s-60s assimilation policy • 1981 Nationality Act -- 2 classes of citizens • Pre-1983 residents vs. those in the protectorates & colonies • Those born in British territories lost the right to British citizenship • Language maintenance is up to the ethnic group • Unhappiness, economic woes may inspire ethnic identity to grow in the future

  10. Ethnicity and language in France • Immigrants constitute 5% of urban population • Uneasy relationships • Immigrants blamed for unemployment, for “stealing” jobs, and associated with urban poor • Immigration is a major political issue, both mainstream and extreme right-wing • 1973-82 Instructors hired from (and paid by) other countries to provide mother-tongue education for immigrants • Later realization that immigrants weren’t going home > shift to integration policy & acquisition of French

  11. Legal Difficulties in Naming the Regional Languages • Since 1951 increasing support for regional languages • France -- reluctance to name languages, for fears of fueling movements; support has been so meager that languages used everyday in 1950s are now threatened

  12. The Case of Basque and the Basques • Basques have been successful both economically and linguistically (through ikastolas underground schools during Franco regime) • Sometimes race and language are confused, despite the differences in time depth that they access (human genetics can compare over 100K years, but comparative linguistics only up to 5K)

  13. The Case of Belgium: Flemish and the Flemings • Administrative borders establish use zones for French, Flemish, German • Legislation covers use of language in the workplace • Complicated system of monolingual and bilingual territories -- jigsaw puzzle • Army has 3 separate units for the languages • Uneasy relationship between Flemish and Dutch literary language

  14. Ethnic Revival in Western Europe • Western Europe has a rich tradition of ethnic identity • Nationality principle has a long legacy of war • Nation-states have been built on monolingual policies • Smaller languages have seen ethnic revival • Immigrants face challenges of needs both to integrate for survival and to maintain their identity

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