Europäisches Journal für Minderheitenfragen

ISSN 1865-1089(Print)
ISSN 1865-1097 (Online)

Abstract 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.

Abstract 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 sufficient care is taken, the ensuing linguistic insecurity may sow the seeds of the appearance of a new negative form of identity.

Abstract 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 significance of linguistic diversity is thus revealed as variable and dependent on the prevailing language ideologies and language policies.

Abstract: 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 first recounts the history of the territory of Carinthia, the second analyses the linguistic features of bilingual Carinthia, the third describes the national conflicts in the last 100 years and the fourth represents the Slovenian language as „territorial language“ in Carinthia. The fifth 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-Conflict“ is now solved by the „Road Sign Compromise“ (Ortstafelkompromiss) of 2011.

Abstract 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 discussed.

Abstract The article is a summary of the arduous way – characterized by „heights“ and „depths“ – gone by Austria and Italy, which finally 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.

Abstract 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.

Abstract 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.

Abstract This article deals with ethnomusicological research on music and minorities, which has in the last decades developed into an influential 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.