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Minority language

From Academic Kids

A minority language is a language spoken by a minority of the population of a country.

In Europe and in some other parts of the world, like in Canada, minority languages are often defined by legislation and afforded some form of official support.

However, throughout the world the political system is more often than not used to ignore, belittle or even to eliminate minority languages.

Other terms that may be applied to minority languages are minoritised language, marginalised language, lesser-used language, immigrant language, regional language, indigenous language, primitive language, the people's language or language of the people, creole language, condemned language, undesirable language, 'prohibited language', unpatriotic language or subversive language (as opposed to national language), spoken language, "signed language", "concrete language", written language, reading language, language still remembered and dead language, etc...

The Irish language is an example of an official language that is itself a minority language.

The existence of minority languages is not even acknowledged in many parts of the world. And when they are, they are often dismissed as insignificant for different reasons (i.e. because of the small number of speakers, the decline in the number of speakers, because they are considered uncultured, primitive, simple dialects, Creole, etc. when compared to the dominant language).

For example, in Brazil there are many minority languages. For example, Guaraní, an Amerindian language, Riograndenser Hunsrückisch and Italian or Talian. In other words, some of these languages are native to the region or spoken by the region's indigenous peoples, others are the so-called immigrant languages.

However, there is this belief amongst the majority of the Brazilian population and in the minds of most in the Brazilian intellectual circles that only Portuguese is really spoken in the land... that any other languages are insignificant, that is if they indeed do exist.

What is important to note here is that Brazil in this sense is not truly unique. On the contrary, the situation in Brazil is more like the standard on how these matters are viewed and dealt with around the globe.

Signed languages are often not recognized as true natural languages even though they are supported by extensive research. In the United States, for example, American Sign Language is the most used indigenous language yet almost the only indigeneous language with lacks official government recognition.

Taking these things into account, one could argue that linguistic rights is a matter closely linked to human rights. If the age of discovery or of European expansionism went unchecked, perhaps globalism should be more measured as to minimized cultural damage throughout the world.

See also

nl:Minderheidstaal

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