EPRS Admin By / September 25, 2018

Endangered languages in the EU

Endangered languages in the EU

Figure 3 – Endangered languages in the EU

The critical threshold for the survival of a language is estimated at 300 000 speakers. According to Unesco, there are 221 endangered regional and minority languages in the EU (see Figure 3). While indigenous to Europe, these are not state languages within a particular state. They are protected and promoted by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (1992) adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and signed and ratified by 17 EU Member States. The EU is committed to safeguarding linguistic diversity, and it promotes knowledge of languages through Erasmus+. However, it has limited influence, because educational and language policies are the responsibility of the individual EU countries.

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