Linguistic diversity in the European Union: An overview

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An examination of the extent and diversity of languages in Europe and specifically in the European Union reveals that there are over sixty indigenous languages currently spoken in, and historically established in, the territory of the EU, along with almost thirty sign languages. The authors identify and briefly examine the spoken languages, with due attention to the difficulty of working with language statistics. European languages within the EU can be divided into three categories, based on the number of native speakers of a given language in the EU itself. The authors also compare European linguistic diversity with linguistic diversity worldwide, and present a brief overview of language policies in the EU with respect to the designation of official languages in various member states.


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