Just a quick note on two subjects; 1) to highlight the story below and 2) to bring to your attention the all new singing and dancing Eurominority website.
‘Regional’ languages recognised as ‘part of France’s heritage’
Brussel – Bruxelles, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 Ecrit par Davyth Hicks
The clause that “Regional languages are part of France’s heritage” will be included in Article 75 of France’s Constitution following a vote in the Senate yesterday. The Senate’s decision followed a second vote last week in the National Assembly calling for the introduction of the clause. The move has been given a qualified welcome by ‘regional’ language supporters, with the NGO EBLUL calling for France to go the extra mile and ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
As reported on Eurolang, recognition was previously voted down by the Senate in June following a vitriolic response from the French Academy, which had called for the withdrawal of the proposed clause because recognition of ‘regional’ languages would, it said, “undermine national identity”. This provoked a huge outcry from language supporters, many of whom have seen their languages become endangered because of an ongoing French state policy of eradication.
Marc le Fur, the Breton UMP deputy who pressed for the clause, expressed his “great satisfaction” yesterday on the Senate’s decision.
In a press release EBLUL President, Neasa Ní Chinnéide, while welcoming the move, added that, “EBLUL stresses that the regional languages of France also belong to a European and global linguistic heritage. It is hoped that this recognition will reinforce the European policy of meaningful linguistic diversity on the continent. On this point, EBLUL also expects that France, which currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, ratifies the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which would give its languages a concrete and pragmatic European framework, for their development.
The statement continued that, “EBLUL believes it is high time that France puts an end to its policy of destruction of its autochthonous languages that has undermined its credibility both in Europe and internationally, and that concrete measures be taken quickly to translate this recognition into realities.”
The President of the Academy of the Basque Language, Andres Urrutia, hailed the reform as an “important and significant”, but adding that this is only a “first step… It is not enough to recognize the heritage of the Basque language, it more important that this heritage is alive,” he said. (Eurolang 2008)
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