Fryslân, Netherlands (West Frisian), (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany => North Frisian), (Lower Saxony, Germany => Saterland Frisian)
600.000 (2004): 94% of the inhabitants of the province of Fryslân can understand spoken Frisian, 74% can speak Frisian, 75% can read Frisian, and 27% can write it.
Indo-European, Germanic, Anglo-Frisian, Ingvaeonic (North Sea Germanic), Dialects
Wâldfrysk, Klaaifrysk, Noardhoeksk, Súdwesthoeksk, Hylpersk, Aastersk,
Skylgersk, Skiermûntseagersk, Molkwardersk
Since 1956, West Frisian has an official status along with and equal to Dutch, in the province of Fryslân. It is used in many domains of Frisian society, among which are education, legislation, and administration. In 2010, some sixty public transportation ticket machines in Friesland and Groningen added a Frisian-language option.
Although in the courts of law the Dutch language is still mainly used, Frisians have the right to plead in their own language and, outside of the province, the possibility to use a court appointed translator. Also, they can take the oath in Frisian in courts anywhere in the Netherlands.
Primary education in Fryslân was made bilingual in 1956, which means Frisian can be used as a teaching medium. In the same year, Frisian became an official school subject, having been introduced to primary education as an optional subject in 1937. It was not until 1980 that Frisian got the status of a required subject in primary schools, and not until 1993 that it got the same position in secondary education.
In 1997, the province of Fryslân officially changed its name from the Dutch form Friesland to the Frisian Fryslân. So far 8 out of 24 municipalities have changed all their official (geographical) names from Dutch to Frisian.
In the early Middle Ages the Frisian lands stretched from the area around Bruges (Belgium), to the river Weser in northern Germany. At that time, the Frisian language was spoken along the entire southern North Sea coast. Today this region is sometimes referred to as Greater Frisia or Frisia Magna, and many of the areas within it still treasure their Frisian heritage, even though in most places the Frisian language has been lost.
Old Frisian, however, did bear a striking similarity to Old English. This similarity was reinforced in the late Middle Ages by the Ingvaeonic sound shift, which affected Frisian and English, but the other West Germanic varieties hardly at all. Historically, both English and Frisian are marked by the suppression of the Germanic nasal in a word like us (ús), soft (sêft) or goose (goes). Also, when followed by some vowels the Germanic ‘k’ developed into a ‘ch’ sound. For example, the Frisian for cheese and church is tsiis and tsjerke, whereas in Dutch it is kaas and kerk.
The earliest definite written examples of Frisian are from approximately the 9th century, there are a few examples of runic inscriptions from the region which are probably older and possibly in the Frisian language. Up until the fifteenth century Frisian was a language widely spoken and written, but from 1500 onwards it became an almost exclusively oral language, mainly used in rural areas. This was in part due to the occupation of its stronghold, the Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân), in 1498, by Duke Albert of Saxony, who replaced Frisian as the language of government with Dutch.
After a period of German and Spanish domination, the Netherlands became independent in 1585. Frisian however did not regain its former status, because of the rise of Holland as the dominant part of the Netherlands and its language, Dutch, as the dominant language in judicial, administrative and religious affairs.
It was in the nineteenth century, when entire generations of Frisian authors and poets appeared. This coincided with the introduction of the so-called newer breaking system, a prominent grammatical feature in almost all West Frisian dialects, with the notable exception of Súdwesthoeksk. Therefore, the modern Frisian period is considered to have begun around 1820.
Modern Frisian, beginning around 1800-1820 with the Romantic movement, went through a rebirth. Many authors once again came to appreciate their language, and scholars studied Frisian from an academic standpoint. Organizations were formed that drew supporters from upper and middle-class backgrounds. In 1871, the Halbertsma brothers wrote an amusing collection of prose and poetry, ‘Rimen en Teltsjes’ (‘Rhymes and Tales’), that stimulated the rise of a rich folk literature.
Frisian language was firmly established as an academic study in the twentieth century. After World War II, Frisian literature experienced another period of growth with important authors and literary ambassadors like Anne Wadman, Fedde Schurer, Trinus Riemersma, Ypk fan der Fear and Lolle Nauta. There has been a continuous stream of literary publications ever since. Frisian literature continues to flourish, at least within Fryslân.
West Frisian Language
Araba, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Nafarroa (Spanish Estate) and Lapurdi, Nafarroa Beherea, Zuberoa (French State)
720.000 speakers (2012)
Proto-Basque, Aquitanian, Basque
Biscayan, Gipuzkoan, Upper Navarrese, Lower Navarrese–Lapurdian, Eastern Navarrese, Souletin (Zuberoan)
The Statute of Autonomy of the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain) establishes Basque as the co-official language of Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa. The Statute of Navarre (Spain) establishes Spanish as the official language of Navarre, but grants co-official status to the Basque language in the northern areas of Navarre. Basque has no official status in the North Basque Country (France).
The 2006 sociolinguistic survey of all Basque-speaking territories showed that of all people aged 16 and above (a total population of 2,589,600), 665,800 spoke Basque. This amounts to 25.7% Basque bilinguals overall, 15.4% passive speakers, and 58.9% non-speakers. Compared to the 1991 figures, this represents an overall increase of 137,000, from 528,500 (from a population of 2,371,100) 15 years previously.
A language isolate, Basque is believed to be one of the few surviving pre-Indo-European languages in Europe. The language's origins are not conclusively known, though the most accepted current theory is that early forms of Basque developed prior to the arrival of Indo-European languages in the area, including the Romance languages that geographically surround the Basque-speaking region.
Gipuzkoa, most of Bizkaia, a few municipalities of Araba, and the northern area of Nafarroa formed the core of the remaining Basque-speaking area before measures were introduced in the 1980s to strengthen the language. By contrast, most of Álava, the western part of Bizkaia and central and southern areas of Nafarroa are predominantly populated by native speakers of Spanish, either because Basque was replaced by Spanish along the centuries.
Under Restorationist and Francoist Spain, the public use of Basque was suppressed and regarded as a sign of separatism. A standardized form of the Basque language, called Euskara Batua, was developed by the Basque Language Academy in the late 1960s. Euskara Batua was created so that Basque language could be used—and easily understood by all Basque speakers—in formal situations (education, mass media, literature), and this is its main use today. In both Spain and France, the use of Basque for education varies from region to region and from school to school.
Although the first instances of coherent Basque phrases and sentences are dated back to about 950AD, the earliest surviving traces of Basque literary activity go back to the 16th century, but significant production does not seem to have set in until the 17th century.
Since the end of the Francoist period in Spain, the formation of a standard language and the large scale introduction of Basque into the education system consequently increased literary activity. While much of the literature written in Basque remains targeted at the native audience, some created by Basque authors that have been translated into other languages have achieved global recognition.
Macedonian (/ˌmæsɨˈdoʊniən/; македонски јазик, makedonski jazik, pronounced [maˈkɛdɔnski ˈjazik] is a South Slavic language, spoken as a first language by around two million people, principally in Macedonia and the Macedonian diaspora, with a smaller number of speakers throughout the transnational region of Macedonia. It is the official language of Macedonia and an official minority language in parts of Albania, Romania and Serbia.
Ancient Macedonian was the language of the ancient Macedonians. It was spoken in the kingdom of Macedon during the 1st millennium BC and it belongs to the Indo-European language family. It gradually fell out of use during the 4th century BC, but it is one of the oldest world languages mentioned also in the Bible and new testimony.
Standard Macedonian was implemented as the official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1945 and has since developed a modern literature. Most of the codification was formalized during the same period.
All South Slavic languages, including Macedonian, form a dialect continuum. Macedonian, along with Bulgarian and Torlakian (transitional varieties of Serbo-Croatian), is also a part of the Balkan sprachbund, a group of languages that share typological, grammatical and lexical features based on geographical convergence, rather than genetic proximity. Its other principal members are Romanian, Greek and Albanian, all of which belong to different genetic branches of the Indo-European family (Romanian is a Romance language, whereas Greek and Albanian comprise separate branches). Macedonian and Bulgarian are sharply divergent from the remaining South Slavic languages, Serbo-Croatian and Slovene, and indeed all other Slavic languages, in that they do not use noun cases (except for the vocative, and apart from some traces of once productive inflections still found scattered throughout the languages) and have lost the infinitive. They are also the only Slavic languages with any definite articles (unlike standard Bulgarian, which uses only one article, standard Macedonian as well as some south-eastern Bulgarian dialects have a set of three based on an external frame of reference: unspecified, proximal and distal definite article). Bulgarian and Macedonian are the only Indo-European languages that make use of the narrative mood.
The population of the Republic of Macedonia was 2,022,547 in 2002, with 1,644,815 speaking Macedonian as their native language. Outside of the Republic, there are Macedonians living in other parts of the geographical area of Macedonia. There are ethnic Macedonian minorities in neighboring Albania, in Bulgaria, in Greece, and in Serbia. According to the official Albanian census of 1989, 4,697 ethnic Macedonians reside in Albania.
A large number of Macedonians live outside the traditional Balkan Macedonian region, with Australia, Canada and the United States having the largest emigrant communities. According to a 1964 estimate, approximately 580,000 Macedonians live outside of the Macedonian Republic, nearly 30% of the total population. The Macedonian language has the status of official language only in the Republic of Macedonia, and is a recognized minority and official language in parts of Albania (Pustec) ,Romania, and Serbia (Jabuka and Plandište). There are provisions for learning the Macedonian language in Romania as Macedonians are an officially recognized minority group. Macedonian is taught in some universities in Australia, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries.
The total number of Macedonian speakers is highly disputed. Although the precise number of speakers is unknown, figures of between 1.6 million (from Ethnologic) and 2–2.5 million have been cited; see Topolinjska (1998) and Friedman (1985). The general academic consensus is that there are approximately 2 million speakers of the Macedonian language, accepting that "it is difficult to determine the total number of speakers of Macedonian due to the official policies of the neighboring Balkan states and the fluid nature of emigration" . According to the censuses and figures, the number of speakers of Macedonian is:
Census data Lower range Higher range
Macedonia 1,344,815 1,344,815 2,022,547
Albania 4,443 4,443 30,000
Bulgaria 1,404 1,404
Serbia 12,706 12,706
Rest of the Balkans 15,807 25,000
Canada 18,440 18,440 150,000
Australia 72,000 72,000 200,000
Germany 62,295 85,000
Italy 50,000 74,162
United States of America 45,000 200,000
Switzerland 6,415 60,116
Rest of World
Total 1,710,670 4,100,000
Macedonian literature (Macedonian: македонска книжевност) begins with the Ohrid Literary School which was established in Ohrid (nowadays Republic of Macedonia) in 886. These first written works in the dialects of the Macedonian recension were religious. The school was established by St. Clement of Ohrid in the First Bulgarian Empire. The Macedonian recension at that time was part of the Old Church Slavonic and it didn't represent one regional dialect but a generalized form of early eastern South Slavic. The standardization of the Macedonian language in the 20 c. provided good ground for further development of the modern Macedonian literature and this period is the richest one in the history of the literature itself.
Slovene, or the Slovenian language, is a Slavic language which is descended from the Proto-Slavic language. Slovene is a part of the South Slavic language branch, together with Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian. Despite this fact, Slovene also has many similarities with the West Slavic branch. Slovene uses a Latin alphabet. Around 2.5 million people speak Slovene today and most of the speakers live in Slovenia. The oldest written documents of a distinct Slovene dialect are the Freising manuscripts from Carinthia, which date back to the 10th and 11th centuries. The Freising fragments show that in that period the Slovenian language had already started to develop as a distinct language, distancing itself from Alpine Slavic.
Slovene is also spoken in some other parts of Europe and elsewhere, with approximately four hundred thousand speakers in the world outside of the Slovenian republic; for instance in Germany, the USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia and the South African Republic. Slovene language minorities in neighbouring countries can be found in the following regions:
Italy (Resia, Venetian Slovenia – Natisone and Torre valleys, Province of Trieste, Gorizia and Udine, the Canale valley)
Austria (Carinthia; Podjuna valley (Jauntal), Roža valley (Rosental), lower Labotska valley (Lavanttal), Gure mountains (Sattniz), lower Ziljska valley (Gailtal)
Hungary (Rába valley in western Hungary)
Croatia (Istria; Čabar in Gorski Kotar County)
A distinctive characteristic of the Slovenian language is the dual grammatical number.
The beginnings of Standard Slovene stretch back as far as the 16th century. In that period, the era of the Protestant Reformation, the first books in Slovene were written, by Primož Trubar, and the first book in Slovene was printed as well, in 1550.
One of the defining features of the Slovenian language is certainly its variety and richness of dialects. Together there are at least 48 distinct dialects. These dialects are divided into eight dialect groups or bases (Upper Carniolan, Lower Carniolan, Styrian, Pannonian, Carinthian, Littoral, Rovte, Mixed Kočevje subdialects), which are then further subdivided. The diversity of Slovene dialects is fittingly captured in the Slovene proverb: “Vsaka vas ima svoj glas”, which simply means “Every village has its own voice”. Such heterogeneity can be attributed to an array of factors, geographical, historical, political, social, and other. The Slovene territory is linguistically quite complex due to the fact that it represents a crossroads of the Slavic world with the Romance, Germanic and Finno-Ugric worlds. The sound of the Slovene language, the music of it, reflects these influences: sung vowels, for example, are much more like those of a Romance language than one would expect from a Slavic language.
Slovene was granted official status as one of the 24 official languages of the European Union when Slovenia became a member of EU on May 1st 2004.
Parts of the western coast and also parts of counties Cork, Meath and Waterford. These areas are called ‘an Ghaeltacht’. Irish is used widely as the means of communication on a daily basis in Carlow, Ennis, Loughrea and Dublin as well as in Carntogher, Co. Tyrone and ‘An Cheathrú Gaeltachta’ (the Gaeltacht Quarter) in Belfast.
In the Republic of Ireland, 1,774,437 people, or 40.6% of the population can speak Irish (2011 Census). In Northern Ireland Census, 184,898 people, or 10.65% of the population have some knowledge of Irish.
Indo-European, Common Celtic, Gaelic languages, Irish
Ulster, Munster, Connacht, Areas
The Irish language is the first official language in the Republic of Ireland and is protected in the Constitution. It permits the public to conduct its business with the state solely through Irish.
In Northern Ireland, Irish, in 1998 received official recognition under the Good Friday Agreement. In 2001, the British government ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages and Irish is specified under Part III of the Charter.
Irish is a Celtic language. Celtic is a branch of the Indo-European language family. This branch also includes Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Welsh, Cornish and Breton.
Irish has been spoken on the island of Ireland for over 2500 years.
The oldest examples of written Ancient Irish that we have are inscriptions on Ogham stones from the 4th century. Many of these stones can be found today in Ireland, the Isle of Mann and the west of Britain.
Old Irish has been written in the Roman alphabet around the beginning of the 7th century and is the oldest written language north of the Alps.
With the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century Irish absorbed words from Latin related, usually, to writing and learning, and to religious matters.
Latin, Irish, English, littera, litir, letter, liber, leabhar, book, schola, scoil, school
Following the Viking invasions from 795 AD onwards, many words entered Irish from Old Norse. Being primarily traders, merchants and seamen, the Norse legacy to Irish is characterised by words to do with these fields of endeavour.
Old Norse, Norwegian, Irish, English, bátr, båt (fartøy), bád, boat, knappr, knapp, cnaipe, button
The Norman invasion of Ireland (1169 AD) brought words into Irish in the fields of food, clothing, administrative and social affairs and some literary matters.
Old French, Irish, English, goune, gúna, gown, baron, barún, baron, bacoun, bagún, bacon
While English was the language of government administration since the 16thcentury, the Irish language was the main spoken language throughout Ireland among the population of 8 million up to the mid 19th century.
Following the Famine during the 19th century, English replaced the Irish language as the main spoken language of the country, though Irish survived mainly primarily in the Gaeltacht.
Interest in Irish as a spoken language (rather than an academic antiquity subject) grew during the cultural revival of Conradh na Gaeilge (the Gaelic League) at the turn of the 20th century. A mass movement of support was created for the language and in 1958 the Official Standard was published by the Government of Ireland.
The image of the Irish language has changed a great deal in recent years, which is evident by the number of people who speak and learn the language, not only in Ireland but around the world.
Nearly 50,000 young people receive their nursery, primary and secondary education through Irish everyday, while..... are taught Irish in English medium schools in Ireland.
Writing came to Ireland with the advent of Christianity in the 5th century and it is customary to date Irish literature from that time. By the middle of the 6th century religious texts in Latin were being transcribed in monasteries throughout the country. Irish appears in the margins of these texts. By the middle of the 12th century the native monasteries had been replaced by monasteries of continental Europe orders who showed no interest in cultivating native learning.
Poetry in Irish became the preserve of the Bardic Schools. These schools developed a standard literary language which was in use for the next 500 years. The poets practised intricate syllabic metres which are difficult for modern-day readers.
The Reformation in the 16th century and the ban on printing by Catholics hindered greatly the development of prose in Irish.
In 1606 the Franciscan Order founded an Irish College in Louvain in the Netherlands (now in Belgium) where they published a series of religious works in Irish.They also undertook to collect existing Irish manuscripts and to print them.
The founding of the bilingual magazine, Irisleabhar na Gaeilge, in 1882 marks the beginning of a new era in Irish literature.
An Gúm, the Irish state company tasked with the publication of Irish literature was established in 1926. It provides reading material and plays in Irish as well as novels translated from other languages and educational materials for schools. An Gúm is now part of Foras na Gaeilge.
Foras na Gaeilge
An Choiste Téarmaíochta