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The Birth of New Languages in Contemporary Europe

Alberto Nocentini

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 54 Kb

str. 49-53

preuzimanja: 492



The birth of a language is a historical process, which develops through almost six
stages corresponding to six main properties (genetic distance, geographical isolation,
adoption of a writing system, elaboration of a literary koine, national consciousness, official
status), which are specific to Western civilization and limited to our concern, i.e.
the languages in contemporary Europe. The two last properties are the most important
and conclusive in achieving the full status of language in contrast with dialect, speech,
idiom, vernacular and so on. Consequently, in this perspective the birth of a language
can be stated when its use is felt as a token of national identity and its official status is
recognized by politic power. The history of some interesting cases during the 20th century,
such as Luxemburgish, Feroese and Macedonian will throw a light on the possible
future scenario of the languages of the Former Yugoslavia. Other disputed, although not
so dramatic cases, like Sardinian, Aranese, Moldavian and Ruthenian, are dealt with
together with recurrent topics on minority languages. The conclusion is that, unlike the
worldwide tendency, the number of languages will probably increase within the greater
European Union in the course of the 21st century.

Ključne riječi

language birth; official status; standard variety; national identity

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