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European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages: Map


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The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) is a European treaty (CETS 148) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the Council of Europe to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe. It only applies to languages traditionally used by the nationals of the State Parties (thus excluding languages used by recent immigrants from other states), which significantly differ from the majority or official language (thus excluding what the state party wishes to consider as mere local dialects of the official or majority language) and which either have a territorial basis (and are therefore traditionally spoken by populations of regions or areas within the State) or are used by linguistic minorities within the State as a whole (thereby including such languages as Yiddish and Romani, which are used over a wide geographic area).

Languages which are official within regions or provinces or federal units within a State (for example Catalan in Spainmarker) are not classified as official languages of the State and may therefore benefit from the Charter. On the other hand, the Republic of Irelandmarker has not been able to sign the Charter on behalf of the Irish language (although a minority language) as it is defined as the first official language of the state. The United Kingdommarker has, though, ratified the Charter in respect of (among other languages) Irish in Northern Irelandmarker. Francemarker, although a signatory has been constitutionally blocked from ratifying the Charter in respect of the languages of France.

The charter provides a large number of different actions state parties can take to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages. There are two levels of protection—all signatories must apply the lower level of protection to qualifying languages; signatories may further declare that a qualifying language or languages will benefit from the higher level of protection which lists a range of actions from which states must agree to undertake at least 35.

Languages protected under the Charter

The countries which have ratified the Charter and the languages for which the ratification was made are the following:

ratification: 25 January 2002

ratification: 28 June 2001

ratification: 5 November 1997

ratification: 26 August 2002

ratification: 15 November 2006

ratification: 8 September 2000

ratification: 9 November 1994

ratification: 16 September 1998

ratification: 26 April 1995

ratification: 18 November 1997

  • No regional or minority languages

ratification: 22 June 2005

  • No regional or minority languages

ratification: 15 February 2006

ratification: 2 May 1996

ratification: 10 November 1993

ratification: 12 February 2009

ratification 24 October 2007

Part II applied to:

Part III applied to:

ratification: 15 February 2006

ratification: 5 September 2001

ratification: 4 October 2000

ratification: 9 April 2001

ratification: 9 February 2000

ratification: 23 December 1997

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":

ratification : 27 March 2001

All languages are ratified as applicable to the territory of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Irelandmarker, except Manx, which is ratified on behalf of the Crown dependency of the Isle of Manmarker.

Notes and references

See also

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