Titbits about European Languages

Maltese is the only official Semitic language within the EU and the only Semitic language written in the Latin alphabet in its standard form. English words make up to 20% of the Maltese vocabulary. With ca. 350,000 speakers it is the smallest official language of the EU.

Although the European continent has had no lingua franca spreading over its whole territory during any historical period, Polish dominated in vast parts of Europe from the 16th to 18th century because of the political, cultural, scientific and military influence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Romanian is the official language in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, a province in the northern part of Serbia. It has a population of about 2 million which amounts to 27% of Serbia’s total population. Other official languages in the province are Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, Croatian and Pannonian Rusyn.

Graubünden (sometimes called Grisons in English), the largest Swiss canton in the southeast of the country, has three official languages: German, Romansh and Italian. There are five written versions of the Romansh language, called “idioms” –  Sursilvan, Sutsilvan, Surmiran, Putèr and Vallader. It was only in 1982 that a standard written version of Romansh called Rumantsch Grischun emerged. Romansh is closely related to French, Occitan and North Italian.

Macedonian is a part of the Eastern group of South Slavic languages. It shares a high degree of mutual intelligibility with the Bulgarian language and to a certain extent with Serbo-Croatian. Its writing system is a Macedonian variant of the Cyrillic alphabet.


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