Language

24 Official Languages of the Europ

24 Official Languages of the European Union

The continent of Europe has 50 countries and 24 official languages, as well as over 200 regional languages. Europe is considered one of the most important continents when it comes to languages. It may not seem like a lot compared to some continents. For instance, Africa has between 1,500 and 2,000 languages. However, Europe’s 200 or so languages still offer a wide range of diversity. These include languages like English, Latin, German, Spanish, French, and many others.

24 Official Languages of the European Union (EU)

In the European Union (EU), each member state has its own official language, and the EU provides documentation, translation, interpretation, and other services for these languages. The EU recognizes 24 official languages, which are:

Bulgarian Croatian Czech Danish Dutch Estonian
English Finnish French German Greek Hungarian
Irish Italian Latvian Lithuanian Maltese Polish
Portuguese Romanian Slovak Slovenian Spanish Swedish

History of European Languages

The traditional view of the spread of Indo-European languages ​, was a nomadic horseman living north of the Black Sea in western Russia. These mountain warriors roamed over vast areas. They conquered the natives and emphasized their Proto-Indo-European language, which, over the following centuries, evolved in the local areas into the European languages ​​we know today. Latin was the dominant language used for government and religion in ancient and medieval Europe. Many scholars, especially archaeologists, have become dissatisfied with the traditional explanation of Indo-European languages in recent years. 

The problem of the origin of Indo-European languages ​​is linguistic, not archaeological.  When linguists searched for the languages of Europe, they found similarities. The similarities can be seen in phonology (rules for pronunciation), grammar, and vocabulary. Estonia official languages and what they speak in Estonia is Estonian.

With more detailed information, linguists can divide Europe’s languages further into families.

Main family of European Languages

The prominent families of European languages ​​are the Romance languages, the Slavic languages, and the Germanic languages. Here is a map of European languages. The oldest family of European languages ​​are the Romance languages ​​- all of which come from Latin, including French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Slavic languages ​​are divided into Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian. The Germanic languages ​​are further divided into German, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish. The most closely related families can be regrouped into the more prominent Indo-European language families. Only a few European languages ​​are not members of this family, including Hungarian, Finnish, and Basque.Importance

Indo-European Langauge

The Indo-European languages are essential as billions of people speak this language.These languages facilitate communication, understanding of diverse communities, and cultural exchange. These languages have shaped literature, art, science, and global commerce. They also provide a relation between shared linguistics and cultural heritage. Transformation

When languages ​​diverge, they diverge rapidly, and dialects gradually diverge until they become separate languages. The evolution of language is not just about the ability to disagree. A decade after Schleicher proposed his tree hypothesis, another German linguist, Johannes Schmidt, introduced a “wave” model that, like a wave of linguistic change, led to increasing similarities between languages, which were completely different initially. European languages ​​have undergone significant changes throughout history. Various factors such as migration, trade, conquest, and cultural exchange influence these changes, leading to alterations in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, and the emergence of new dialects and languages. One of the best examples of language transformation and formation is the English language. The collaboration of the two main languages of the Continent—Latin, French, and the Germanic languages of the 6th to 11th centuries—shaped it. English was formed by these three elements

      •  Migration of Germanic Groups
      •  The invasion of the Anglo-Saxons
      •  The conquest of the Anglo-Normans

All of these events unfolded in Britain, and the English language emerged through the amalgamation of languages from different Groups. Old English was influenced by German (Anglo, Norman, and Saxon). Subsequently, after 1066 AD, Middle English evolved with the infusion of the French language, ultimately culminating in the development of the modern English language by 1500 AD.

Example: The Norman Conquest and the influence of Latin, French, and Germanic languages shaped English.

Few of Top European Languages

These are the most spoken languages in Europe.

English

European English refers to the various forms of English spoken in European Countries. English that originated in England evolved from Europe through historical, cultural, and economic influences. English is not only the native language in the United Kingdom and Ireland but also a secondary language in many European countries.  Due to this, there are different English accents, dialects, and variations across Europe. European English is diverse. Depending on the region, you may find other forms of English. English is vital in Europe’s education system from primary to onward. European English-speaking countries are Cyprus, Gibraltar, Malta, the UK, and Ireland.

Status

English has become the world’s lingua franca as it is used to communicate with each other regardless of their cultural background. European countries speaking english and English has a vital role in Europe’s education system from primary to onward. Everybody knows the term Euro-English and is interested in the different kinds of varieties in English. Native speakers use the varieties of English they are norm-providing, while the English language learner strives to reproduce the native speaker’s usage and is norm-dependent. English speakers are developing their endonormative varieties, distinct and independent from the native speaker, and they use English as a secondary language.

Dialects

There are two major categories of native dialects: British English and North American English. There is also the third common grouping of English varieties, the most prominent known as the Southern Hemisphere. Varieties of English acknowledged for its features for one reason or another are called dialects of the English language. In the United States, people are well aware of the “southern drawl,” a”Boosten,” and a”New York City accent.” In Irish dialects like Dublin, Cork, and Belfast, accents are used. The Glaswegian, Edinburg, and Highland accents of English are spoken in the Scottish country.

Sound

European English contains a wide range of sounds. Here are some features of sounds of European English:

The English language has 26 letters, but it has 44 sounds that are further categorized into two main sounds: vowel and consonant. Twenty vowel sounds are divided into pure vowels (twelve) and vowel glides (eight). There are twenty-four consonant sounds. Specific symbols represent all of these sounds. Different European countries use different vowel sounds. The IPA is a system of symbols and letters to indicate the individual sounds of the language. It makes it easy to learn new vowel sounds in any language. 

Consonants

These consonant phonemes are from the International Phonetic Alphabet(IPA) list.

Labial Dental Alveolar Post-alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal     m     n           ŋ
Plosive p         b t         d k         g
Affricate tʃ         ʤ
Fricative f         v θ         ð s         z    ʃ         3           j         w     h
Aproximant         ɹ*
Lateral approx.       l

Vocabulary

Europe country English speaking with a rich vocabulary. Cultural interactions, historical ties, and regional languages influence European English vocabulary. The English vocabulary of Europe refers to European culture, history, and geography. English vocabulary is different from the various spelling sounds and meanings. Many English words have the same spelling but differ in their pronunciation and definitely in their meaning. For example, “live” can be pronounced as “laiv” and liv. The definition of the vocabulary is more complex than our mind. There are two forms of vocabulary: oral and print. Oral vocabulary is the vocabulary we use in our conversation, while print vocabulary is used in reading and writing. Additionally, about 26% of English words are derived from German, and 29% are derived from Latin.

Here are few words derived from Latin:

    • Aberration
    • Allusion
    • Anachronism
    • Democratic
    • Dexterity

Here are few examples of words derived from German:

    • Blitzkrieg
    • Cobalt
    • Dachshund
    • Delicatessen
    • Ersatz
    • Frankfurter

Writing system

English speaking countries in Europe use the writing style of European English depending upon the country, context, and writer’s preferences.

General features related to European English writing:

The writing system of the European language contains complex sentence structure, longer sentences, and subordinate clauses. It can contribute to the academic and formal tone. European writers are well aware of the multiple languages affecting their writing style. In business, academic, and official documents, the traditional writing system is used in European English.

Italian

Italian is a European language. It is one of the Romance languages primarily spoken in Italy and some neighboring regions. Italian is one of the official languages of the European Union. It is plentiful in cultural and historical heritage. It was widely spoken in various Italian communities.

Status

The Italian language is institutionally guarded, and its teaching is encouraged in the majority, while the goal of its oral use in daily life has yet to be reached. The Italian language is the language of the social environment. Instrumental values were added to the Italian language, which motivated its learning. The Italian language gains the symbolic linguistic space in the national language. It has a symbolic function for its potential use by the public.

Dialects

Due to its geographical diversity and history, Italian has many regional dialects and variations.

Quite different from standard Italian with its unique dialects. It is the primary language of Sardina. In Italian, there are various forms of the national language. The dialects of the Italian language are dialects of the Romance language derived from Latin. Italian has three dialects: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The regional varieties are called tertiary dialects. Italo-Romance represents the primary dialects.

Sound

Like English, the Italian language uses the five vowels. These vowel pronouns are pure and clear. The Italian words end at the vowel words, giving them open syllables that give the language a musical quality. In Italian, two or more words can combine into a word. No air is escaped when pronouncing T, D, and P consonants. The word C with the vowel a, o, and u produce a hard sound, for example, coconut.

Vocabulary

Like English, the Italian language uses the five vowels. These vowel pronouns are pure and clear. The Italian words end at the vowel words, giving them open syllables that give the language a musical quality. In Italian, two or more words can combine into a word. No air is escaped when pronouncing T, D, and P consonants. The word C with the vowel a, o, and u produce a hard sound, for example, coconut.

Here are some words that the native Italian speaker pronounces.

    • Ciao = Hello. Let’s naturally start with “Ciao,” which means “Hello” in Italian
    • Amore = Love
    • Felicità = Happiness
    • Gatto = Cat
    • Cane = Dog
    • Sorridere = Smile
    • Italiano = Italian
    • Sì = Yes

Writing system

The Italian writing system uses the Latin alphabet. Here’s an overview of the Italian writing system:

Alphabet: 

The Italian alphabet consists of 21 letters. It includes the standard 26 Latin alphabet letters but doesn’t use the letters J, K, W, X, and Y in native Italian words. These letters are used in loanwords and proper nouns.

Accents and Diacritics: 
  •  Acute accent (‘): Used on vowels(á,é,í,ó,ú) to indicate stress or to differentiate between homophones. For example, “papà” (dad) vs. “papa” (pope).
  • Grave Accent (`): Used on the letter “e” (è) to indicate an open mid pronunciation
  • Circumflex (^): This is not commonly used. Used on vowels to indicate the historical presence of a letter that has been dropped. For example, “fôro” (they bore) vs. “foro” (hole).
  • Diaeresis (¨):  For indicating separate pronunciation on some words, use the letter “i” (ï)

Digraphs:

For the representation of specific words, Italian uses digraphs (a combination of two letters)

    • “Ch” represents the /k/ sound, as in “Chiesa” (church).
    • “Gh” represents the /g/ sound, as in “ghiaccio” (ice).

Double Consonants: Double consonants indicate the short, sharp pronunciation of the preceding vowel. For example, “casa” (house) vs. “cassa” (cash register).

Nasal Consonants: Italians only have nasal consonants (e.g., “gn” in “gnocchi” or “gnomo”). They don’t have nasal vowels.

Silent Letters: With few exceptions, Italians generally pronounce all the letters. The letter “h” is always quiet in Italian, and in a few cases, the letter “e” is silent (e.g., rate)

German 

It is the official language of Germany and is also spoken in European countries like Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. The German language is relatively easy. German is also one of the major languages of the world. It is the third most taught foreign language.

Status

Germany opens the door for understanding and participating in the influential world culture. It has a close relationship with English. Germany has a special status in Belgium and Denmark.

It is known for contributing to science, technology, and culture. It is an essential language for business and academic purposes and has outstanding international influence. German literature and philosophy have an excellent contribution to the world’s culture. It is the native language of the 90 million speakers.

Dialects

Across different regions, German has different dialects that can be categorized into several major groups :

  1. Low German (Niederdeutsch or Plattdeutsch): This language has several regional variations spoken in the northern parts of Germany. It is also expressed in the Netherlands and Denmark.
  2. Franconian (Fränkisch): This language is found in Franconia, a region in northern Bavaria and parts of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Franconian has various sub-dialects.
  3. Saxon (Sächsisch): The dialects of Saxon have distinctive characteristics and are primarily spoken in the eastern state of Saxony.

Sound

The sound of the German languages can vary depending upon the dialects and regions. There are some key characteristics:

  1. Consonant Clusters: One of the features of German is consonant clusters, which means many consonants can appear together in a word.
  2. Vowel Sounds: German has umlauted vowels (ä,ö,ü) that don’t exist in English. The German language gains its characteristic melodic quality from these vowel sounds.
  3. Word Order: German’s word order differs from English’s, affecting the flow and sound of spoken speech.

Vocabulary

German has a wide range of words and expressions. German has a rich vocabulary. Here are some key points about the vocabulary of the German language:

By compounding exciting words, German can form new words. All nouns are capitalized in German. This feature helps to identify nouns in a sentence. This is a distinctive feature. German employs compound words for expressing complex concepts, and it features quite complex verbs with distinct conjugations for various tenses and persons.

Basic German words:
    • Guten Tag = Good day.
    • Hallo = Hello.
    • Auf Wiedersehen = Goodbye.
    • Bitte = Please.
    • Danke = Thanks, Thank you.
    • Entschuldigung = Sorry.
    • Gesundheit = Bless you (after someone sneezes)
    • Ja = Yes.

Writing system

Here are the key aspects of the German writing system:

 Just like the English alphabet, the German alphabet consists of 26 letters.

German includes three additional characters that are not part of the English alphabets: Ä (a-umlaut), Ö (o-umlaut), and Ü (u-umlaut). German spelling follows specific rules, including rules for compound words and the use of umlaut. For the representation of specific words, German uses digraphs like “ch,” “sch,” and “th.”

French

French is one of the major languages spoken in Europe. It is the official language in several European countries, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland. It is one of the working languages of the various European Union institutions, like English and German.

Status

Throughout the world, the French language holds a prominent and influential position, serving as an official language in 29 countries. French is one of the United Nations’ (UN) official languages. its culture, including literature, art, and cinema, has a global impact. It is widely taught in many countries as a foreign language.

Dialects

Like other languages, French has various dialects and regional variations. Some of the notable French dialects and regional variations are:

  1. Parisian French: This depends on the dialects spoken in and around Paris. It is one of the Standard forms of French. It is used in media, education, and government. It serves as the prestige dialect.
  2. Belgian French: This is spoken in Belgium. It has variations in vocabulary and pronunciation as compared to the Parisian French.
  3. Swiss French: In Switzerland, Swiss-French features unique vocabulary and pronunciation.

Sound

French is often known as a romantic, elegant language for its smooth, flowing, and musical sound. The sound of the French language is characterized by its melodic and rhythmic quality. Some key features of French include:

  • Vowels: Including nasalized vowels, which are unique to the language, French boasts a rich system of vowel sounds. These vowels, pronounced with various accents and nuances, contribute to the musical quality of the French language.
  • Consonants: Consonants of the French language are softer and less pronounced.
  • Intonation:French speakers frequently employ rising and falling intonation patterns to convey meaning and emphasis, lending a highly expressive quality to the language.

Vocabulary

French has a rich vocabulary with thousands of words and expressions. This language is influenced by its history. Here are some categories of French vocabulary and examples:

Common phrases and greetings
    • Bonjour (Hello)
    • Bonsoir (Good morning)
    • Oui (Yes) 
    • Non (No)
    • De rien (You’re Welcome)
Number In French
    • Un (One)
    • Deux ( Two)
    • Trois (Three)
    • Quatre (Four)
    • Cinq ( Five)
    • Dix (Ten)
Days of the week in French
  • Lundi (Monday)
  • Mardi (Tuesday)
  • Mercredi (Wednesday)
  • Jeudi (Thursday)
  • Vendredi (Friday)
  • Samedi (Saturday)
  • Dimanche (Sunday)

Writing system

Here is an overview of the French writing system:

  1. Alphabet: Like English, French alphabets consist of 26 letters.
  2. Consonant Combinations: French also has some uncommon consonant combinations in English.
  3. Silent Letters: The French language also contains silent letters, especially at the end of the word. It’s essential to be aware of the silent letters while reading and pronouncing French words.
  4. Capitalization: Like English, French capitalized the proper noun’s first letter and the sentence’s first word.

Greek

What language do they speak in Greece? Greek is one of the official European languages spoken in Greece and Cyprus. In some European countries, it is considered a minority language. It plays an important role in the European Union due to Greece’s Membership in the EU. Greece has a rich history.

Status

Due to its historical, cultural, and linguistic importance, the Greek language holds a unique and significant status. In the development of Western Civilization, it has played a foundation role. Greek is one of the world’s oldest languages. It has contributed various words and terms to multiple fields, notably in science, medicine, and mathematics.

Dialects

Greek has a rich history and a variety of dialects. The main dialects of Greek include:

Ancient Greek Dialects:
  1. Attic: Spoken in Athens, Attica, and the surrounding regions, it became the literary standard in ancient Greece.
  2. Ionic: Used in the Eastern Aegean islands, along the western coast of Asia Minor, and some parts of western Greece.
  3. Doric: The Spartans spoke a Doric dialect. Predominant in the Peloponnese, Crete, and some Aegean islands.
Koine Greek:

 After Alexander the Great’s Conquests, a simplified form of Greek called Koine emerged. Used in the New Testament of the Bible.

Sound

The sound of Greek can vary depending on the specific words and dialects. This language has its unique alphabets and pronunciation. Here is a general idea of how some Greek letters are pronounced:

  • Alpha (Α, α): Similar to the “a” in “father.”
  • Beta (Β, β): Similar to the English “b.”
  • Gamma (Γ, γ): Can be pronounce as “g” in “go” or a voiced throaty sound, like the “y” in the Spanish word “llama.”
  • Delta (Δ, δ): Similar to the English “d.”
  • Epsilon (Ε, ε): Similar to the short “e” sound in “bet.”
  • Zeta (Ζ, ζ): Similar to the English “z.” T ,’

Vocabulary

With a vast vocabulary, Greek is a rich and ancient language. Here are some common Greek words:

  • Αγάπη (Agápē) – Love
  • Φιλία (Philía) – Friendship
  • Οίκος (Oíkos) – House
  • Άνθρωπος (Ánthropos) – Human
  • Καλός (Kalós) – Beautiful
  • Καλημέρα (Kaliméra) – Good morning
  • Καλησπέρα (Kalispéra) – Good evening
  • Ευχαριστώ (Efcharistó) – Thank you

Writing system 

The writing system of Greek has evolved over thousands of years.The script used to write the Greek language and has influenced the development of other writing systems. Here are some key points about the Greek writing system:

  1. Alphabet: The Greek alphabet is composed of 24 letters. It undergoes various changes and adaptations over time. It was developed around the 8th century BCE.
  2. Syllabary: Greek is considered a true alphabet because each letter represents a single sound. However, some letters were historically used to describe combinations of sounds (diphthongs) or indicate aspiration.
  3. Numerals: Greek has its system of numerals. These numerals are different from Arabic numerals.

Conclusion

We have discussed how the official languages of the European nations descended from a single language—Latin—in this article. In this essay, we explore the major family of European languages. We covered five official languages of European Union. Everyone today needs to know how English is important to conduct business internationally. One of the working languages in Europe is French. Greek and German are very important in the scientific community. The history and culture of the Italian language are quite rich.

FAQs

How many official languages in European Union EU?

The European Union EU has 24 official working languages that are are: , Croatian, Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish,  French, English, Spanish.

Which countries speak English in Europe?

Euro country that speak English include the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Malta, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Finland, Austria, Norway, Luxembourg, Gibraltar, England, Scotland, Iceland, Wales, and Belarus.

What language do they speak in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands, with a population of 16 million, recognizes Dutch as its sole official language, while Frisian, spoken in the Northern province of Fryslân, also holds local official language status. Frisian bears a striking resemblance to English.

What language do they speak in Norway?

Two languages are norway official language. Official languages norway are Norwegian and Sami are the official languages used in Norway. official language of Norway the top 3 languages spoken in Norway are Norwegian, Sami and English. There are two main dialects of Norwegian: Bokmål and Nynorsk.

What language do they speak in Croatia?

What do they speak in Croatia? Almost 90% of people living in Croatia speak Croatian. Do they speak italian in croatia but other languages include Serbian at around 4.5% of the population, then a smattering of Bosnian, Italian, Hungarian, and Albanian.Official language croatia and native language of croatia is Croatian.

What language do they speak in Denmark?

Denmark has one official language, Danish. However, some of the minority languages are used in Denmark. They speak English as a second language.

What language do they speak in Finland?

Finland has two official languages. Finnish and Swedish are the official languages used in Finland. There are also several official minority languages.Finland english speaking percentage is 70% .

What language do they speak in Greenland?

70% of the population speak Greenlandic Language, while the political and administrative elites predominantly speak Danish.

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