Monday, September 22, 2014

The Languages of Separatists in Europe: Part 2

On Friday following the results of the Scottish Referendum, we took a look at several languages spoken by separatist groups around Europe. We didn't find it very surprising that a large number of separatist groups in Europe speak a different language to the rest of the country. We concluded Friday's post with a look at the Netherlands so today we'll carry on through the alphabet with some of the separatist movements we find the most interesting.

Poland

The region of Silesia is located in both Poland and Germany. While the region's separatist movement wishes to unite the region as its own independent nation, the inhabitants of each country tend to speak the majority language of their respective nation, with the Silesians in Poland speaking Polish and those in Germany speaking German.

Bran Castle in Romania
Romania

There are a number of proposed independent areas of Romania. These areas tend to be inhabited by either ethnically Hungarian people or by Hungarian-speaking Romanians.

Russia

If you ever read our series on the languages of Russia, you will know that the world's largest country has plenty of indigenous languages. Since it also spans two continents, there are plenty of different groups in terms of ethnicity and the language they speak. 

Both Russian and Chechen are spoken in the region of Chechnya, which has its own movement to break away from Russia.

The region of Dagestan is also a special example because there are so many different languages being spoken there. There are calls for Dagestan, with the Ingushetia and Chechnya regions, to unite as a single independent region.

Serbia

The Republic of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. While the area was the site of horrible fighting between Serbs and Albanians during the late 1990s, the Republic of Kosovo has been recognised by a great number of countries across the world. It should be noted that the ethnically Albanian and Albanian-speakers in Kosovo were generally part of the separatist movement.

Spain

Spain, much like France, is home to a good number of separatist movements. Since Spain and France are neighbours, a number of these separatist movements exist across their borders.

We mentioned the Catalan separatist movement on Friday when we covered France. However, the majority of the breakaway nation can be found in northeast Spain, where the Catalan language has official language status in the autonomous region of Catalonia.

We also mentioned the Basque separatist movement in France. However, the movement's real stronghold is in the Spanish autonomous community of País Vasco, which while meaning "Basque Country" in Spanish, should not be confused with the entity that many Basque separatists consider to be the real Basque Country.

Seemingly the entire coastline of Spain is home to separatist movements, while the "Castillian" centre of the country seemingly feels Spanish. In the northwest, Galicia is home to the Galician language and its own separatist movement.

The Balearic Islands have small separatist movements as well, both as part of the Països Catalans and as a Majorcan sovereign state. The islands are home to a number of speakers of a Balearic variety of Catalan called Mallorquí in reference to the island.

There are a couple more European countries with separatist movements that we could cover, but we don't feel like touching the situation in Ukraine with a barge pole and we're saving the United Kingdom and Scotland for when the dust has settled.