Prospects for EU Citizenship
Edited by Sandra Seubert, Marcel Hoogenboom, Trudie Knijn, Sybe de Vries and Frans van Waarden
Chapter 13: Linguistic diversity and barriers to EU citizens’ rights
The aim of the chapter is the analysis of the relation between language and EU rights at the European level. The first section develops into an anthropological reflection on the historical meaning of cultural diversity and on its historical perception, with particular attention to the language aspect. The second section takes this further by proposing some conceptual models of barriers and then reviewing how to organize language hindrances to the exercising of EU citizens’ rights through structuring the field of enquiring around these models. Based on the distinction between the legal and factual language barriers, an overview of some models of obstacles will be offered, according to the results of the research carried out within the bEUcitizen project. In the end, together with a brief survey of the different solutions offered by the scholars who are studying language issues in the academic environment, we will suggest that the process of eroding the language barriers in Europe has consequences that go far beyond matters of identity and culture. Thus, a pragmatic approach is needed, but one that is respectful of the linguistic diversity value.
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