1 Juzragore

European Union Language Starting With I Personal Essays

  • Introduction :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • The evolution of what is today the European Union (EU) from a regional economic agreement among six neighboring states in 1951 to today's hybrid intergovernmental and supranational organization of 28 countries across the European continent stands as an unprecedented phenomenon in the annals of history. Dynastic unions for territorial consolidation were long the norm in Europe; on a few occasions even country-level unions were arranged - the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were examples. But for such a large number of nation-states to cede some of their sovereignty to an overarching entity is unique.

    Although the EU is not a federation in the strict sense, it is far more than a free-trade association such as ASEAN, NAFTA, or Mercosur, and it has certain attributes associated with independent nations: its own flag, currency (for some members), and law-making abilities, as well as diplomatic representation and a common foreign and security policy in its dealings with external partners.

    Thus, inclusion of basic intelligence on the EU has been deemed appropriate as a separate entity in The World Factbook. However, because of the EU's special status, this description is placed after the regular country entries.

    Following the two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century, a number of far-sighted European leaders in the late 1940s sought a response to the overwhelming desire for peace and reconciliation on the continent. In 1950, the French Foreign Minister Robert SCHUMAN proposed pooling the production of coal and steel in Western Europe and setting up an organization for that purpose that would bring France and the Federal Republic of Germany together and would be open to other countries as well. The following year, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up when six members - Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands - signed the Treaty of Paris.

    The ECSC was so successful that within a few years the decision was made to integrate other elements of the countries' economies. In 1957, envisioning an "ever closer union," the Treaties of Rome created the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the six member states undertook to eliminate trade barriers among themselves by forming a common market. In 1967, the institutions of all three communities were formally merged into the European Community (EC), creating a single Commission, a single Council of Ministers, and the body known today as the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament were initially selected by national parliaments, but in 1979 the first direct elections were undertaken and have been held every five years since.

    In 1973, the first enlargement of the EC took place with the addition of Denmark, Ireland, and the UK. The 1980s saw further membership expansion with Greece joining in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht laid the basis for further forms of cooperation in foreign and defense policy, in judicial and internal affairs, and in the creation of an economic and monetary union - including a common currency. This further integration created the European Union (EU), at the time standing alongside the EC. In 1995, Austria, Finland, and Sweden joined the EU/EC, raising the membership total to 15.

    A new currency, the euro, was launched in world money markets on 1 January 1999; it became the unit of exchange for all EU member states except Denmark, Sweden, and the UK. In 2002, citizens of those 12 countries began using euro banknotes and coins. Ten new countries joined the EU in 2004 - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007 and Croatia in 2013, bringing the current membership to 28. (Seven of these new countries - Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia - have now adopted the euro, bringing total euro-zone membership to 19.)

    In an effort to ensure that the EU could function efficiently with an expanded membership, the Treaty of Nice (concluded in 2000; entered into force in 2003) set forth rules to streamline the size and procedures of EU institutions. An effort to establish a "Constitution for Europe," growing out of a Convention held in 2002-2003, foundered when it was rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands in 2005. A subsequent effort in 2007 incorporated many of the features of the rejected draft Constitutional Treaty while also making a number of substantive and symbolic changes. The new treaty, referred to as the Treaty of Lisbon, sought to amend existing treaties rather than replace them. The treaty was approved at the EU intergovernmental conference of the then 27 member states held in Lisbon in December 2007, after which the process of national ratifications began. In October 2009, an Irish referendum approved the Lisbon Treaty (overturning a previous rejection) and cleared the way for an ultimate unanimous endorsement. Poland and the Czech Republic ratified soon after. The Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009 and the EU officially replaced and succeeded the EC. The Treaty's provisions are part of the basic consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) now governing what remains a very specific integration project.

    Frustrated by a remote bureaucracy in Brussels and massive migration into the country, UK citizens on 23 June 2016 narrowly voted to leave the EU. The so-called “Brexit” will take years to carry out, but could embolden skeptics of EU membership in other member states.

  • Geography :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • Europe between the North Atlantic Ocean in the west and Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine to the east


    total: 4,479,968 sq km

    rank by area (sq km):

    1. France (includes five overseas regions) 643,801

    2. Spain 505,370

    3. Sweden 450,295

    4. Germany 357,022

    5. Finland 338,145

    6. Poland 312,685

    7. Italy 301,340

    8. United Kingdom (includes Gibraltar) 243,617

    9. Romania 238,391

    10. Greece 131,957

    11. Bulgaria 110,879

    12. Hungary 93,028

    13. Portugal 92,090

    14. Austria 83,871

    15. Czechia 78,867

    16. Ireland 70,273

    17. Lithuania 65,300

    18. Latvia 64,589

    19. Croatia 56,594

    20. Slovakia 49,035

    21. Estonia 45,228

    22. Denmark 43,094

    23. Netherlands 41,543

    24. Belgium 30,528

    25. Slovenia 20,273

    26. Cyprus 9,251

    27. Luxembourg 2,586

    28. Malta 316

    less than one-half the size of the US

    total: 13,271 km

    border countries (17): Albania 212 km, Andorra 118 km, Belarus 1,176 km, Bosnia and Herzegovina 956 km, Holy See 3 km, Liechtenstein 34 km, Macedonia 396 km, Moldova 683 km, Monaco 6 km, Montenegro 19 km, Norway 2,375 km, Russia 2,435 km, San Marino 37 km, Serbia 1,353 km, Switzerland 1,729 km, Turkey 415 km, Ukraine 1,324 km

    note: data for European continent only

    65,992.9 km

    cold temperate; potentially subarctic in the north to temperate; mild wet winters; hot dry summers in the south

    fairly flat along Baltic and Atlantic coasts; mountainous in the central and southern areas

    mean elevation: about 300 m

    elevation extremes: lowest point: Lammefjord, Denmark -7 m; Zuidplaspolder, Netherlands -7 m

    highest point: Mont Blanc 4,810 m

    iron ore, natural gas, petroleum, coal, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite, uranium, potash, salt, hydropower, arable land, timber, fish

    154,539.82 sq km (2011 est.)

    population distribution varies considerably from country to country, but tends to follow a pattern of coastal and river settlement, with urban agglomerations forming large hubs facilitating large scale housing, industry, and commerce; the area in and around the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg (known collectively as Benelux), is the most densely populated area in the EU

    flooding along coasts; avalanches in mountainous area; earthquakes in the south; volcanic eruptions in Italy; periodic droughts in Spain; ice floes in the Baltic

    various forms of air, soil, and water pollution; see individual country entries

    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94

    signed but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds

  • People and Society :: EUROPEAN UNION

  • total: 516,195,432

    rank by population:

    1. Germany 80,594,017

    2. France 67,106,161

    3. United Kingdom 64,769,452

    4. Italy 62,137,802

    5. Spain 48,958,159

    6. Poland 38,476,269

    7. Romania 21,529,967

    8. Netherlands 17,084,719

    9. Belgium 11,491,346

    10. Portugal 10,839,514

    11. Greece 10,768,477

    12. Czechia 10,674,723

    13. Sweden 9,960,487

    14. Hungary 9,850,845

    15. Austria 8,754,413

    16. Bulgaria 7,101,510

    17. Denmark 5,605,948

    18. Finland 5,518,371

    19. Slovakia 5,445,829

    20. Ireland 5,011,102

    21. Croatia 4,292,095

    22. Lithuania 2,823,859

    23. Slovenia 1,972,126

    24. Latvia 1,944,643

    25. Estonia 1,251,581

    26. Cyprus 1,221,549

    27. Luxembourg 594,130

    28. Malta 416,338 (July 2017 est.)

    Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish

    note: only the 24 official languages are listed; German, the major language of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, is the most widely spoken mother tongue - about 16% of the EU population; English is the most widely spoken foreign language - about 38% of the EU population is conversant with it (2012)

    Roman Catholic 48%, Protestant 12%, Orthodox 8%, other Christian 4%, Muslim 2%, other 1% (includes Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu), atheist 7%, non-believer/agnostic 16%, unspecified 2% (2012 est.)

    0-14 years: 15.5% (male 40,853,366/female 38,783,889)

    15-24 years: 10.9% (male 28,680,885/female 27,396,922)

    25-54 years: 41.8% (male 108,312,731/female 106,407,509)

    55-64 years: 12.9% (male 32,287,068/female 34,128,099)

    65 years and over: 19.1% (male 42,074,448/female 56,127,861) (2017 est.)

    population pyramid:

    total: 42.9 years

    male: 41.5 years

    female: 44.4 years (2017 est.)


    Population Pyramid

    A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

    For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page under the References tab.

  • For the ethnography of Europe, see Peoples of Europe.

    For the populations of Europe by country and the population overall, see Demographics of Europe.

    See also: Languages of the European Union, List of extinct languages of Europe, and List of endangered languages in Europe

    Most languages of Europe belong to the Indo-Europeanlanguage family. Out of a total population of 740 million (as of 2010), some 94% are native speakers of an Indo-European language; within Indo-European, the three largest phyla are Slavic, Germanic and Romance, with more than 200 million speakers each, between them accounting for close to 90% of Europeans.

    Smaller phyla of Indo-European found in Europe include Hellenic (Greek, c. 10 million), Baltic (c. 7 million), Albanian (c. 5 million), Indo-Aryan (Romani, c. 1.5 million) and Celtic (c. 1 million).

    Five languages have more than 50 million native speakers in Europe: Russian, German, French, Italian and English. While Russian has the largest number of native speakers (more than 100 million in Europe), English in Europe has the largest number of speakers in total, including some 200 million speakers of English as a second language.

    Of c. 45 million Europeans speaking non-Indo-European languages, around 20 million each fall within the Uralic and Turkic families. Still smaller groups (such as Basque and various languages of the Caucasus) account for less than 1% of European population between them. Immigration has added sizeable communities of speakers of African and Asian languages, amounting to about 4% of the population,[1] with Arabic being the most widely spoken of them.

    Indo-European languages[edit]

    See also: List of Indo-European languages

    The Indo-European language family is descended from Proto-Indo-European, which is believed to have been spoken thousands of years ago. Early speakers of Indo-European daughter languages most likely expanded into Europe with the incipient Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago (Bell-Beaker culture).


    See also: Slavic languages and Slavs

    Slavic languages are spoken in large areas of Central Europe, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe. An estimated 250 million Europeans are native speakers of Slavic languages, the largest groups being Russian (c. 110 million in European Russia and adjacient parts of Eastern Europe, Russian forming the largest linguistic community in Europe), Polish (c. 55 million), Ukrainian (c. 40 million), Serbo-Croatian (c. 21 million), Czech (c. 11 million), Bulgarian (c. 9 million), Slovak (c. 5 million) Belarusian and Slovene (c. 3 million each) and Macedonian (c. 2 million).

    Phylogenetically, Slavic is divided into three subgroups:

    • West Slavic includes Polish, Czech, Slovak, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian and Kashubian.
    • East Slavic includes Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Rusyn.
    • South Slavic is divided into Southeast Slavic and Southwest Slavic groups: Southwest Slavic languages include Serbo-Croatian and Slovene, each with numerous distinctive dialects. Serbo-Croatian boasts four distinct national standards, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian, all based on the Eastern Herzegovinian dialect; Southeast Slavic languages include Bulgarian, Macedonian and Old Church Slavonic (a liturgical language).


    Further information: Romance languages, Romance-speaking Europe, and Italic languages

    Roughly 210 million Europeans are native speakers of Romance languages, the largest groups including Italian (c. 65 million), French (c. 60 million), Spanish (Castilian) (c. 40 million), Romanian (c. 25 million), Portuguese (c. 10 million), Sicilian (c. 5 million, also subsumed under Italian), Catalan (c. 4 million), Galician (c. 2 million), Sardinian (c. 1 million), besides numerous smaller communities.

    The Romance languages are descended from varieties of Vulgar Latin spoken in the various parts of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity. Latin was itself part of the (otherwise extinct) Italic branch of Indo-European. Romance is divided phylogenetically into Italo-Western, Eastern Romance (including Romanian) and Sardinian.

    Italo-Western in turn has the sub-branches Italo-Dalmatian (sometimes grouped with Eastern Romance), including numerous variants of Italian as well as Dalmatian, and the Western Romance languages

    The Western Romance languages in turn separate into:

    • Gallo-Romance, including French and its varieties (Langues d'oïl), the Rhaeto-Romance languages, and the Gallo-Italic languages,
    • Occito-Romance (East Iberian), grouped with either Gallo-Romance or West Iberian, including Occitan, Catalan and Aragonese,
    • West Iberian (Spanish-Portuguese), including Astur-Leonese languages, Galician-Portuguese and Castilian.


    Further information: Germanic-speaking Europe

    The Germanic languages make up the predominant language family in northwestern Europe. An estimated 210 million Europeans are native speakers of Germanic languages, the largest groups being German (c. 110 million), English (c. 65 million) and Dutch (c. 22 million), Swedish (c. 9 million), Norwegian (c. 5 million) and Danish (c. 5 million).

    There are two extant major sub-divisions: West Germanic and North Germanic. A third group, East Germanic, is now extinct; the only known surviving East Germanic texts are written in the Gothic language. West Germanic is divided into Anglo-Frisian (including English), Low German and Low Franconian (including Dutch) and High German (including Standard German).

    German and Low Franconian

    Main articles: German language, German-speaking Europe, Low Franconian, and Dutch-speaking Europe

    German is spoken throughout Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the East Cantons of Belgium, much of Switzerland (including the northeast areas bordering on Germany and Austria) and northern Italy (South Tyrol).

    There are several groups of German dialects:

    Low German (including Low Saxon) is spoken in various regions throughout Northern Germany and the North and East of the Netherlands. It is an official language in Germany. It may be separated into Low Saxon (West Low German) and East Low German.

    Dutch is spoken throughout the Netherlands, northern Belgium, as well as the Nord-Pas de Calais region of France, and around Düsseldorf in Germany. In Belgian and French contexts, Dutch is sometimes referred to as Flemish. Dutch dialects are varied and cut across national borders. In Germany it is called East Bergish.


    Main articles: Anglo-Frisian languages and English-speaking Europe

    The Anglo-Frisian language family is now mostly represented by English (Anglic), descended from the Old English language spoken by the Anglo-Saxons:

    The Frisian languages are spoken by about 500,000 Frisians, who live on the southern coast of the North Sea in the Netherlands and Germany. These languages include West Frisian, Saterlandic, and North Frisian.

    North Germanic (Scandinavian)

    The North Germanic languages are spoken in Scandinavian countries and include Danish (Denmark), Norwegian (Norway), Swedish (Sweden and parts of Finland), or Elfdalian (in a small part of central Sweden), Faroese (Faroe Islands), and Icelandic (Iceland).

    English has a long history of contact with Scandinavian languages, given the immigration of Scandinavians early in the history of Britain, and has similar structure with Scandinavian languages.[2]


    • Greek is the official language of Greece and Cyprus, and there are Greek-speaking enclaves in Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Turkey, and in Greek communities around the world. Dialects of modern Greek that originate from Attic Greek (through Koine and then Medieval Greek) are Cappadocian, Pontic, Cretan, Cypriot, Katharevousa, and Yevanic
    • There are six living Celtic languages, spoken in areas of northwestern Europe dubbed the "Celtic nations". All six are members of the Insular Celtic family, which in turn is divided into:
    • The Indo-Aryan languages have one major representation, it being Romani (c. 1.5 million speakers), introduced to Europe in the late medieval period.
    • The Iranian languages in Europe are natively represented in the North Caucasus, notably with Ossetian.
    • Armenian speakers came to Russia in significant numbers after the First World War due to Armenian genocide and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (see below).

    Non-Indo-European languages[edit]


    Main article: Uralic languages

    Uralic is native to northern Eurasia. Finno-Ugric groups the Uralic languages other than Samoyedic. Finnic languages include Finnish and Estonian. The Sami languages are closely related to Finnic.

    The Ugric languages are represented in Europe with the Hungarian language, historically introduced with the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin of the 9th century.

    The Samoyedic Nenets language is spoken in Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the far northeastern corner of Europe (as delimited by the Ural Mountains).


    Main article: Turkic languages


    • The Basque language (or Euskara) is a language isolate and the ancestral language of the Basque people who inhabit the Basque Country, a region in the western Pyrenees mountains mostly in northeastern Spain and partly in southwestern France of about 3 million inhabitants, where it is spoken fluently by about 750,000 and understood by more than 1.5 million people. Basque is directly related to ancient Aquitanian, and it is likely that an early form of the Basque language was present in Western Europe before the arrival of the Indo-European languages in the area in the Bronze Age.
    • Maltese is a Semitic language with Romance and Germanic influences, spoken in Malta.[3][4][5][6] It is based on Sicilian Arabic, with influences from Italian (particularly Sicilian), French, and, more recently, English. It is unique in that it is the only Semitic language whose standard form is written in the Latin script. It is also the smallest official language of the EU in terms of speakers, and the only official Semitic language within the EU. Cypriot Maronite Arabic (also known as Cypriot Arabic) is a variety of Arabic spoken by Maronites in Cyprus. Most speakers live in Nicosia, but others are in the communities of Kormakiti and Lemesos. Brought to the island by Maronites fleeing Lebanon over 700 years ago, this variety of Arabic has been influenced by Greek in both phonology and vocabulary, while retaining certain unusually archaic features in other respects.

    History of standardization[edit]

    Further information: Ethnic groups in Europe § History, Vernacular, and De vulgari eloquentia

    Language and identity, standardization processes[edit]

    In the Middle Ages the two most important defining elements of Europe were Christianitas and Latinitas. Thus language—at least the supranational language—played an elementary role[clarification needed]. The earliest dictionaries were glossaries, i.e., more or less structured lists of lexical pairs (in alphabetical order or according to conceptual fields). The Latin-German (Latin-Bavarian) Abrogans was among the first. A new wave of lexicography can be seen from the late 15th century onwards (after the introduction of the printing press, with the growing interest in standardizing languages).

    The concept of the nation state begins to emerge in the early modern period. Nations adopted particular dialects as their national language. This, together with improved communications, led to official efforts to standardise the national language, and a number of language academies were established (e.g., 1582 Accademia della Crusca in Florence, 1617 Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft in Weimar, 1635 Académie française in Paris, 1713 Real Academia Española in Madrid). Language became increasingly linked to nation as opposed to culture, and was also used to promote religious and ethnic identity (e.g., different Bible translations in the same language for Catholics and Protestants).

    The first languages for which standardisation was promoted included Italian (questione della lingua: Modern Tuscan/Florentine vs. Old Tuscan/Florentine vs. Venetian → Modern Florentine + archaic Tuscan + Upper Italian), French (the standard is based on Parisian), English (the standard is based on the London dialect) and (High) German (based on the dialects of the chancellery of Meissen in Saxony, Middle German, and the chancellery of Prague in Bohemia ("Common German")). But several other nations also began to develop a standard variety in the 16th century.

    Lingua Franca[edit]

    Europe has had a number of languages that were considered linguae francae over some ranges for some periods according to some historians. Typically in the rise of a national language the new language becomes a lingua franca to peoples in the range of the future nation until the consolidation and unification phases. If the nation becomes internationally influential, its language may become a lingua franca among nations that speak their own national languages. Europe has had no lingua franca ranging over its entire territory spoken by all or most of its populations during any historical period. Some linguae francae of past and present over some of its regions for some of its populations are:

    • Classical Greek and then Koine Greek in the Mediterranean Basin from the Athenian empire to the eastern Roman Empire, being replaced by Modern Greek.
    • Koine Greek and Modern Greek, in the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire and other parts of the Balkans south of the Jireček Line.[7]
    • Vulgar Latin and Late Latin among the uneducated and educated populations respectively of the Roman empire and the states that followed it in the same range no later than 900 AD; medieval Latin and Renaissance Latin among the educated populations of western, northern, central and part of eastern Europe until the rise of the national languages in that range, beginning with the first language academy in Italy in 1582/83; new Latin written only in scholarly and scientific contexts by a small minority of the educated population at scattered locations over all of Europe; ecclesiastical Latin, in spoken and written contexts of liturgy and church administration only, over the range of the Roman Catholic Church.
    • Lingua Franca or Sabir, the original of the name, an Italian-based pidgin language of mixed origins used by maritime commercial interests around the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages and early Modern Age.[8]
    • Old French in continental western European countries and in the Crusader states.[9]
    • Czech, mainly during the reign of Holy Roman EmperorCharles IV (14th century) but also during other periods of Bohemian control over the Holy Roman Empire.
    • Middle Low German (14th–16th century, during the heyday of the Hanseatic League).
    • Spanish as Castilian in Spain and New Spain from the times of the Catholic Monarchs and Columbus, c. 1492; that is, after the Reconquista, until established as a national language in the times of Louis XIV, c. 1648; subsequently multinational in all nations in or formerly in the Spanish Empire.[10]
    • Polish, due to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (16th–18th centuries).
    • Italian due to the Renaissance, the opera, the Italian empire, the fashion industry and the influence of the Roman catholic church.[11]
    • French from the golden age under Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIV c. 1648; i.e., after the Thirty Years' War, in France and the French colonial empire, until established as the national language during the French Revolution of 1789 and subsequently multinational in all nations in or formerly in the various French Empires.[9]
    • German in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe.[12]
    • English in Great Britain until its consolidation as a national language in the Renaissance and the rise of Modern English; subsequently internationally under the various states in or formerly in the British Empire; globally since the victories of the predominantly English speaking countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others) and their allies in the two world wars ending in 1918 (World War I) and 1945 (World War II) and the subsequent rise of the United States as a superpower and major cultural influence.
    • Russian in the former Soviet Union and Russian Empire including Northern and Central Asia.

    Linguistic minorities[edit]

    Historical attitudes towards linguistic diversity are illustrated by two French laws: the Ordonnance de Villers-Cotterêts (1539), which said that every document in France should be written in French (neither in Latin nor in Occitan) and the Loi Toubon (1994), which aimed to eliminate anglicisms from official documents. States and populations within a state have often resorted to war to settle their differences. There have been attempts to prevent such hostilities: two such initiatives were promoted by the Council of Europe, founded in 1949, which affirms the right of minority language speakers to use their language fully and freely.[13] The Council of Europe is committed to protecting linguistic diversity. Currently all European countries except France, Andorra and Turkey have signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, while Greece, Iceland and Luxembourg have signed it, but have not ratified it; this framework entered into force in 1998. Another European treaty, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, was adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe: it entered into force in 1998, and while it is legally binding for 24 countries, France, Iceland, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova and Russia have chosen to sign without ratifying the convention.


    The main scripts used in Europe today are the Latin and Cyrillic; Greek, Armenian and Georgian also have their own scripts. All of the aforementioned are alphabets.

    The Greek alphabet was derived from the Phoenician alphabet, and Latin was derived from the Greek via the Old Italic alphabet.

    In the Early Middle Ages, Ogham was used in Ireland and runes (derived the Old Italic script) in Scandinavia. Both were replaced in general use by the Latin alphabet by the Late Middle Ages. The Cyrillic script was derived from the Greek with the first texts appearing around 940 AD.

    See also: Antiqua–Fraktur dispute

    Around 1900 there were mainly two typeface variants of the Latin alphabet used in Europe: Antiqua and Fraktur. Fraktur was used most for German, Estonian, Latvian, Norwegian and Danish whereas Antiqua was used for Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, English, Romanian, Swedish and Finnish. The Fraktur variant was banned by Hitler in 1941, having been described as "Schwabacher Jewish letters".[14] Other scripts have historically been in use in Europe, including Arabic during the era of the Ottoman Empire, Phoenician, from which modern Latin letters descend, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on Egyptian artefacts traded during Antiquity, and various runic systems used in Northern Europe preceding Christianisation.

    Hungarian rovás was used by the Hungarian people in the early Middle Ages, but it was gradually replaced with the Latin-based Hungarian alphabet when Hungary became a kingdom, though it was revived in the 20th century and has certain marginal, but growing area of usage since then.

    The European Union[edit]

    Main article: Languages of the European Union

    The European Union (as of 2016) had 28 member states accounting for a population of 510 million, or about 69% of the population of Europe.

    The European Union has designated by agreement with the member states 24 languages as "official and working:" Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.[15] This designation provides member states with two "entitlements:" the member state may communicate with the EU in the designated one of those languages and view "EU regulations and other legislative documents" in that language.[16]

    The European Union and the Council of Europe have been collaborating in education of member populations in languages for "the promotion of plurilingualism" among EU member states,[17] The joint document, "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR)", is an educational standard defining "the competencies necessary for communication" and related knowledge for the benefit of educators in setting up educational programs. In a 2005 independent survey requested by the EU's Directorate-General for Education and Culture regarding the extent to which major European languages were spoken in member states. The results were published in a 2006 document, "Europeans and Their Languages", or "Eurobarometer 243". In this study, statistically relevant samples of the population in each country were asked to fill out a survey form concerning the languages that they spoke with sufficient competency "to be able to have a conversation".[18]

    List of languages[edit]

    Further information: List of endangered languages in Europe, List of extinct languages of Europe, and List of languages of Russia

    The following is a table of European languages. The number of speakers as a first or second language (L1 and L2 speakers) listed are speakers in Europe only;[nb 1] see list of languages by number of native speakers and list of languages by total number of speakers for global estimates on numbers of speakers.

    The list includes any language or dialect with an ISO 639 code; this means that some communities of speakers within a macrolanguage may be listed more than once, e.g. speakers of Austro-Bavarian listed both separately (under bar) and subsumed in the total given under "German" (de).

    NameISO-639ClassificationL1 speakers
    (in Europe)
    L1+L2 speakers
    (in Europe)
    Official status (national)[nb 2]Official status (regional)
    AbkhazabNorthwest Caucasian, Abazgi113,000[19] Abkhazia
    AdygheadyNorthwest Caucasian, Circassian117,500[20] Adygea (Russia)
    AlbaniansqIndo-European5,400,000[21] Albania,  Kosovo[nb 3] Macedonia
    AragoneseanIndo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian25,000[22]55,000[23] Aragon (Spain)
    ArbëreshaaeIndo-European, Albanian, Tosk100,000 native speakers in 2007[24]400,000[25][26][27][28] Sicily,  Calabria[29],  Apulia,  Molise,  Basilicata,  Abruzzo,  Campania, (Italy)
    ArmenianhyIndo-European12,000,000[30] Armenia,  Artsakh
    AromanianrupIndo-European, Romance, Eastern114,000[31] Macedonia
    Asturian (Astur-Leonese)astIndo-European, Romance, Western, West Iberian110,000[32]450,000[33] Asturias
    Austro-BavarianbarIndo-European, Germanic, West, High German, Upper, Bavarian14,000,000[34] Austria (as German)
    AvaravNortheast Caucasian, Avar–Andic760,000 Dagestan (Russia)
    AzerbaijaniazTurkic, Oghuz
    Distribution of Slavic-speaking populations in Europe

      Official Slavic language used by the majority

      Significant unofficial / co-official / historical Slavic language usage

      Significant non-Slavic language usage or bilingual

    Romance languages, 20th century
    Distribution of the Baltic languages in the Baltic (simplified).
    Distribution of Uralic languages in Eurasia
    Distribution of Turkic languages in Eurasia

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