Europe and the Politics of Language: Citizens, Migrants and by Máiréad Nic Craith

By Máiréad Nic Craith

Do political obstacles effect on options of language? How major is language for citizenship in modern Europe? Can disputed languages collect complete prestige? should still non-European languages obtain reputation from the ecu? those are one of several questions explored during this new examine of legitimate, nearby and disputed languages in an ever-changing ecu context. extensive coverage concerns and the functionality of the diversity of tools of coverage at neighborhood, nationwide and ecu degrees are illustrated as regards to case reviews throughout Europe.

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Extra resources for Europe and the Politics of Language: Citizens, Migrants and Outsiders

Sample text

From this perspective the inclusion of a high proportion of Russians could split the state into two with a large minority seeking a two-nation, two-language state (Ozolins 1999: 253). This is an argument with which I personally am not in favour as the implementation of political hegemony in other contexts such as Northern Ireland ultimately engendered riots, violence and terrorism on an ongoing basis (cf. Nic Craith 2002a, 2003a). But more significantly, there was a fear in Latvia in particular that ‘if citizenship was granted to non-Latvians any change in the composition of the population might lead to Latvia being voted back to Russia.

Initially they confined their demands to cultural self-determination and each of the three introduced language laws in the late 1980s. In the case of Estonia, for example, legislation in 1989 established Estonian as the state language and required that all official personnel be competent in the language within 4 years. Despite the denial of official status for Russian, it was given a lot of attention in the law. ‘Citizens in their relations with authorities, subordinates in their relations with superiors at the workplace, as well as clients in the service sector, were given the right to choose either Estonian or Russian as the language of communication’ (Järve 2003: 78–9).

Ultimately some provisions of the new State Language Law actually appeared to be even more liberal than those in force before its adoption (Tsilevich 2001). The OSCE continued to monitor the Latvian citizenship law and severely criticised subsequent proposed language legislation in the private economic sector. Entry into the EU would be jeopardised, they warned, unless Latvia reconsidered language legislation in this area. In 1999, the Latvian Parliament passed a new language law which effectively repeated the earlier provisions for the law to apply to the private economic sphere, but ultimately this law was returned to parliament by the President for further consideration (Ozolins 1999).

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