EU Parliament Intergroup appalled at dire situation of Alsacian language and culture

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Jun 16 13:57:19 UTC 2006

European Parliament Intergroup appalled at dire situation of Alsacian
language and culture

Strassburg - Strasbourg, Thursday, 15 June 2006 by Davyth Hicks

The Intergroup for Traditional National Minorities, Constitutional Regions
and Regional Languages held a met yesterday in the European Parliament in
Strassburg (Strasbourg) to discuss the preservation of Alsacian culture
and identity, under the chairmanship of Csaba Tabajdi. Guest speakers were
Justin Vogel, Vice-President of the Regional Council and President of the
OLCA (Office for the language and culture of Alsace), Francois Schaffner,
President of Culture et Bilinguisme d'Alsace et de Moselle, and Philippe
Elsass, Vice-President of EBLUL-France. They gave an overview of the
history of Alsace and of its German dialects, the status of the regional
language today, and the efforts made by local authorities, associations
and parents to keep the language alive despite the lack of any linguistic

The Intergroup was appalled at the dire situation faced by the language
today, with a rapidly declining number of speakers and little
intergenerational transmission because of the degraded image and
stigmatisation of the language, and because of the difficulties
encountered in the development of bilingual (French-High German)
schooling. Mr. Tabajdi stated that the much-praised French-German
reconciliation had been made at the expense of the Alsacian population,
and that it was time for France to ratify the European Charter for
Regional of Minority Languages. "Europe cannot have double standards, the
older member states must respect the same rights which are demanded from
the new member states", he said. (Eurolang 2006)

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