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European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages facts for kids

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The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty that was adopted in 1992.

It was designed by the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe. It applies only to languages traditionally used by the nationals of the State Parties that are very different from the majority or official language. The treaty does not protect languages that are used by recent immigrants from other countries. Also, the treaty does not protect local dialects of the official or majority language.

To be protected, a language must be spoken either by the people living in a region or area of the country or by a minority in the country as a whole (languages such as Yiddish and Romani are covered by the treaty even if there is no "Romani region").

National official languages are not covered by the treaty, but some regional official languages are. For example, Catalan is official only in a region of Spain and so can benefit from the treaty. However, Irish cannot because it is an official language in Ireland even if it is a minority language. However, Irish is protected in Northern Ireland because it is not an official or national language of the United Kingdom.

France has signed the treaty, but the French constitution does not allow the government to support a language other than French.

There are two levels of protection. Every country that signed the treaty must give all qualifying languages the lower level of protection. Countries may decide to give some languages the higher level of protection. Countries then must do 35 things.

Languages protected under the Charter

Here are the countries that have ratified the Charter and the languages for which the ratification was made:

 Armenia ratification: 25 January 2002

 Austria ratification: 28 June 2001

 Bosnia and Herzegovina ratification: 21 September 2010

 Croatia ratification: 5 November 1997

 Cyprus ratification: 26 August 2002

 Czech Republic ratification: 15 November 2006

 Denmark ratification: 8 September 2000

 Finland ratification: 9 November 1994

 Germany ratification: 16 September 1998

 Hungary ratification: 26 April 1995

 Liechtenstein ratification: 18 November 1997

  • No regional or minority languages

 Luxembourg ratification: 22 June 2005

  • No regional or minority languages

 Montenegro ratification: 15 February 2006

 Netherlands ratification: 2 May 1996

 Norway ratification: 10 November 1993

  • Sami (parts II and III)
  • Kven (part II only)
  • Romani (part II only)
  • Scandoromani (part II only)

 Poland ratification: 12 February 2009

 Romania ratification 24 October 2007

Part II applied to:

Part III applied to:

 Serbia ratification: 15 February 2006

 Slovakia ratification: 5 September 2001

 Slovenia ratification: 4 October 2000

 Spain ratification: 9 April 2001

 Sweden ratification: 9 February 2000

 Switzerland ratification: 23 December 1997

 Ukraine ratification: 19 September 2005

Ukraine does not specify languages by name, but rather ratifies on behalf of "the languages of the following ethnic minorities of Ukraine": Not counted are Rusyns (Ruthenians), because Ukraine (unlike neighboring countries) denies them separate ethnic and linguistic status.

 United Kingdom ratification : 1 July 2001 (effective; ratified 27 March 2001)  Isle of Man extension : 23 April 2003 (declaration dated 22 April 2003)

The Government of the United Kingdom declares [on 23 April 2003] that the Charter should extend to the Isle of Man, being a territory for whose international relations the Government of the United Kingdom is responsible.

  • Cornish (Article 2, Part II only (Article 7))
  • Irish
    (Articles 2 and 3, Part II (Article 7) and Part III (Articles 8-14, with reservations))
  • Scots (Articles 2 and 3, Part II only (Article 7))
  • Scots as Ulster-Scots (Articles 2 and 3, Part II only (Article 7))
  • Scottish Gaelic
    (Articles 2 and 3, Part II (Article 7) and Part III (Articles 8-14, with reservations))
    (British Nationality Act 1981, Schedule 1, Article 1(1)(c)[1], and the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 [2])
  • Welsh
    (Articles 2 and 3, Part II (Article 7) and Part III (Articles 8-14, with reservations))
    (Welsh Language Act 1967 (repealed 21.12.1993) [3] and the Welsh Language Act 1993 [4])
  • Manx (Manx Gaelic) (Article 2, Part II only (Article 7))

Related pages

  • European languages
  • Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
  • Languages of the European Union
  • Language policy in France
  • Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights
  • Vergonha
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