Official Languages of the EU

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  • 8/2/2019 Official Languages of the EU


  • 8/2/2019 Official Languages of the EU


    The European Union (EU) is a family of democratic Europeancountries, committed to working together for peace andprosperity. It is not a State intended to replace existing states, but it

    is more than just another international organisation. The EU is, infact, unique. Its Member States have set up common institutions towhich they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions onspecific matters of joint interest can be made democratically atEuropean level.

    Europe is a continent with many different traditions and languages,but also with shared values. The EU defends these values. It fostersco-operation among the peoples of Europe, promoting unity whilepreserving diversity and ensuring that decisions are taken as close

    as possible to the citizens.

    In the increasingly interdependent world of the 21st century, it willbe even more necessary for every European citizen to co-operatewith people from other countries in a spirit of curiosity, toleranceand solidarity.

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    All languages of the EU are also workinglanguages. Documents which a member state or aperson subject to the jurisdiction of a member statesends to institutions of the Community may bedrafted in any one of the official languagesselected by the sender. The reply is drafted in thesame language. Regulations and other documentsof general application are drafted in the twenty-three official languages. The Official Journal of the

    European Union is published in the twenty-threeofficial languages.

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    They are (in alphabetical order, written inLatin): Bulgarian, Czech, Danish,German,English, Estonian, Finnish, Irish,French, Greek, Hungarian,

    Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian,Maltese, Polish, Portuguese,Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish,Dutch and Romanian but in practice

    only three languages are used mostoften: English, French, and German.

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    Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, amember of the Southern branch of the Slavic

    language family. Bulgarian, along with the closely related

    Macedonian language, has several characteristicsthat set it apart from all other Slavic languagessuch as the elimination of case declension, the

    development of a suffixed definite article, the lackof a verb infinitive, and the retention and furtherdevelopment of the Proto-Slavic verb system.Various evidential verb forms exist to expressunwitnessed, retold, and doubtful action.


    Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a memberof the Southern branch of the Slavic language family.

    Bulgarian, along with the closely relatedMacedonian language, has several characteristicsthat set it apart from all other Slavic languages such

    as the elimination of case declension, thedevelopment of a suffixed definite article, the lack of

    a verb infinitive, and the retention and further

    development of the Proto-Slavic verb system. Variousevidential verb forms exist to express unwitnessed,

    retold, and doubtful action

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    Is a West Slavic language with about 12million native speakers; it is the majoritylanguage in the Czech Republic and

    spoken by Czechs worldwide. Thelanguage was known as Bohemian inEnglish until the late 19th century. Czech is

    similar to and mutually

    intelligible with Slovak and, to a lesserextent, with Polish and Sorbian.


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    Is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people,principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and 25,000 Danes in Norway where it holds

    minority language status. Danish is a mandatory subject in school inthe Danish crown territories of the Faroe Islands (where it is also anofficial language after Faroese) and Greenland (where, however,the only official language since 2009 is Kalaallisut), as well as theformer crown holding of Iceland. There are also Danish language

    communities in Argentina, the United States and Canada. Danish ismutually intelligible with Norwegian and Swedish (see"Classification").


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    Is a West Germanic language related to and classifiedalongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 9098

    million native speakers, German is one of theworld's major languages and is the most widely-

    spoken first languagein the European Union.Most German vocabulary is derived from theGermanic branch of the Indo-European language

    family.Significant minorities of words are derivedfrom Latin and Greek, with a smaller amount from

    French and English.German is written using the Latin alphabet. In addition

    to the 26 standard letters, German has three vowelswith umlauts (/, /, and /) and the letter .


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    English is a West Germanic language spoken originallyin England, and is now the most widely used languagein the world.It is spoken as a first language by a majority

    of the inhabitants of several nations, includingthe United Kingdom, the UnitedStates, Canada,Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. It isthe third most commonly spoken language in the worldin terms of native speakers, after MandarinChinese and Spanish. English is an official language ofthe European Union and manyCommonwealth countries, as well as in many worldoranisations.


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    Is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia

    and tens of thousands in various migr communities. It is a Uralic

    language and is closely related to Finnish.

    One distinctive feature that has caused a great amount of interest

    among linguists is what is traditionally seen as three degrees

    of phoneme length: short, long, and "overlong", such

    that /toto/, /toto/ and /toto/ are distinct. In actuality, the distinction is not purely

    in the phoneme length, and the underlying phonological mechanism is still


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    Finnish is the eponymous member ofthe Finnic language family andis typologically between fusional and agglutinative languages. It modifiesand inflects the formsof nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals a

    nd verbs, depending on their roles inthe sentence.

    Is the language spokenby the majority of thepopulationin Finland and by ethnicFinnsh outside Finland. It

    is one of the two officiallanguages of Finlandand an official minoritylanguage in Sweden.

    In Sweden, bothstandard Finnishand Menkieli, aFinnish dialect, arespoken. The Kven

    language, a Finnishdialect, is spoken inNorthern Norway.

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    Irish (Gaeilge), also known as Irish

    Gaelic,is a Goidelic language ofthe Indo-European languagefamily, originating in Ireland andhistorically spoken by the Irishpeople. Irish is now spoken asa first language by a small

    minority of Irish people, as well asbeing a second language of alarger proportion of thepopulation. Irishenjoys constitutional status asthe national and first official

    language of the Republic ofIreland. It is an officiallanguage ofthe European Union and anofficially recognised minoritylanguage in Northern Ireland

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    Is a Romance language spoken as a first

    language in France, the Romandy regionin Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the provinceof Quebec and the Acadia regionin Canada, and by various communitieselsewhere. Second-language speakers of

    French are distributed throughout manyparts of the world, the largest numbers ofwhich reside in Francophone Africa . InAfrica, French is most commonly spokenin Gabon (where 80% reportfluency) Mauritius (78%), Algeria (75%), Sen

    egal and Cte d'Ivoire (70%). French isestimated as having between 70 million

    and 110 million native speakers and190 million second languagespeakers. French is the second-moststudied foreign language in the world,

    after English.

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    Is an independent branchof the Indo-European familyof languages. Native to thesouthern Balkans Western Asia Minor and the Aegean, it

    has the longestdocumented history of anyIndo-European language,spanning 34 centuries ofwritten records. Its writing

    system has been the Greekalphabet for the majority ofits history

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    Is a Uralic language, partof the Ugric group, spokenby the Hungarians. It is themost widely spoken non-Indo-European language in

    Europe, based on thenumber of native speakers.Hungarian is the officiallanguage of Hungary andis also spoken by Hungarian

    communities in the sevenneighboring countries andby diaspora communitiesworldwide.

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    Is a Romance language spoken mainly inEurope: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, VaticanCity, by minoritiesin Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia and by immigrant

    communities in the Americas and Australia.Many speakers are native bilinguals of bothstandardised Italian and other regionallanguages.

    According to the Bologna statistics of

    the European Union, Italian is spoken as amother tongue by 65 million people in the EU(13% of the EU population), mainly in Italy, andas a second language by 14 million (3%).[
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    Is the official state languageof Latvia. It is also sometimesreferred to as Lettish. There areabout 1.4 million native Latvianspeakers in Latvia and about

    150,000 abroad. The Latvianlanguage has a relatively largenumber of non-native speakers,atypical for a small language

    Because of the language policy in

    Latvia about 1.9 million or 79% ofLatvian population speakLatvian.[2] The use of the Latvianlanguage in various areas of sociallife in Latvia is increasing.[3]
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    Is the official state languageof Lithuania and is recognized asone of the official languages ofthe European Union. There areabout 2.9 millionnative Lithuanian speakers in

    Lithuania and about 300 000abroad. Lithuanian is a Balticlanguage, closely relatedto Latvian, although they arenot mutually intelligible. It iswritten in a Latin alphabet. The

    Lithuanian language is believedto be themost conservative living Indo-European language, retainingmany features of Proto-Indo-European now lost in other Indo-

    European languages

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    Is the national language of Malta, and a co-official language of thecountry alongside English,while also serving asan official language of the EU, the only Semiticlanguage so distinguished. Maltese is descended

    from Siculo-Arabic About half of the vocabulary isborrowed from standard Italian andSicilian,English words make up between 6% and20% of the Maltese vocabulary, according todifferent estimates (see below).It is the onlySemitic language written in the Latin script in

    its standard form.


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    is a language of the Lechitic subgroupof West Slavic languages, usedthroughout Poland (being thatcountry'sofficial language) andby Polish minorities in other countries. Its

    written standard is the Polish alphabet, whichhas several additions to the letters of thebasic Latin script.Despite the pressure of non-Polishadministrations in Poland, who have oftenattempted to suppress the Polish language, a

    rich literature has developed over thecenturies, and the language is currently thelargest, in terms of speakers, of the West Slavicgroup. It is also the second most widelyspoken Slavic language, after Russian andahead of Ukrainia

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    Is a Romance language. It is the officiallanguage of Portugal, the former SouthAmerican Portuguese colony of Brazil andformer colonies inAfrica: Mozambique, Angola, CapeVerde, Guin-Bissau and So Tom ePrncipe.Portuguese has co-official status(alongside the indigenous language)in Macau, and in East Timor in South EastAsia; Portuguese speakers are also foundin Goa in India.Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes oncecalled Portuguese "the sweet language"and Spanish playwright Lope deVega referred to it as "sweet", while the

    Brazilian writer Olavo Bilac poeticallydescribed it as a ltima flor do Lcio,inculta e bela (the last flower of Latium,wild and beautiful). Portuguese is alsotermed "the language of Cames", afterone of Portugal's greatest literary

    figures, Lus Vaz de Cames.


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    Flags of all contries inthe European Union

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    The European Parlament

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