Minority languages in Europe
Many different languages are spoken in Europe. Most of them are Indo-European languages. In addition to the large national languages, there are also many smaller languages. They are minority languages. Minority languages are different from official languages. But they aren't dialects. They aren't the languages of immigrants either. Minority languages are always ethnically driven. Meaning, they are the languages of particular ethnic groups. There are minority languages in almost every country of Europe. That amounts to about 40 languages in the European Union. Some minority languages are only spoken in one country. Among them for example is Sorbian in Germany. Romani, on the other hand, has speakers in many European countries. Minority languages have a special status. Because they are only spoken by a relatively small group. These groups cannot afford to build their own schools. It is also difficult for them to publish their own literature. As a result, many minority languages are threatened by extinction. The European Union wants to protect minority languages. Because every language is an important part of a culture or identity. Some nations do not have a commonwealth and only exist as a minority. Various programs and projects are meant to promote their languages. It is hoped that the culture of smaller ethnic groups will be preserved as well. Nevertheless, some minority languages will disappear soon. Among them is Livonian, spoken in a province of Latvia. Only 20 people remain as native speakers of Livonian. This makes Livonian the smallest language in Europe.
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