Problem

Discrimination against minority languages

Other Names:
Repression of ethnic languages
Active prejudice towards regional speech
Prejudicial treatment of provincial dialects
Nature:
Disuse of a minority language in teaching, when this is the children's mother tongue, is discriminating against the minority language population within a nation in that it denies the cultural identity of this minority population.
Incidence:
There are some 5000 minority languages worldwide all of which are in danger of extinction. Until recently, France, whose 8 distinct languages and more than a dozen dialects made it the most linguistically diverse nation of western Europe, was ironically one of the most disapproving of regional speech patterns. In an attempt to create standardized French, Parisian intellectuals and leaders shunned other French dialects, deeming them crude, unintelligible or mere dialects. By 1993, the French regional languages of Corsican, Breton, Basque and Provencal were close to becoming extinct. Out of 2.8 million people living in Brittany, an estimated 50,000 used Breton daily and only half those were able to write it in 1993.

Turkey views the campaign to win linguistic and cultural rights for the country's large Kurdish-speaking minority as treason. Greece has an intolerant attitude toward Slav, Albanian and other minority languages within its region.

Related Problems:
Dialect discrimination
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
23.10.1999 – 00:00 CEST
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