The internet is helping to revive Europe’s minority languages
Europe’s minority languages have been squeezed by nation-building, urbanisation and the ‘lingua francas’ of the internet, according to Professor Anneli Sarhimaa, specialist in Northern European and Baltic languages and cultures at the University of Mainz, Germany. But one lesson she has learned from researching the fate of the Finnic language Karelian, spoken in Finland and north-western Russia, is that digital media can also help revitalise them.
“The internet is an extremely important way of supporting the revitalisation of minority languages. New technology makes it possible for speakers of minority languages who live in diaspora, or live scattered over a vast geographical area, to communicate regardless limitations of space or time.”