- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2005


About 46 million people in the European Union speak languages that are not majority tongues in

their countries — ranging from Swedish speakers in Finland to users of Sorbic, a Slavonic language spoken by 60,000 people, in eastern Germany.

Across the continent — including non-EU countries — more than 90 minority languages are spoken.

Some are majority languages in neighboring countries, such as French and Italian in Switzerland; German in France and Italy; Hungarian in Romania; and Russian in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Others are languages without a national home. They include Basque and Galician in Spain; Breton in France; Sami in the Nordic countries and Russia; Gaelic, Irish and Welsh in Britain; and Romansch in Switzerland.

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