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UK Minority Languages speak out to Europe

On 15 March, the Council of Europe issued its second report on the situation of minority languages in the United Kingdom, which says more effort should be made in favour of Irish, Welsh, Scots/Ulster, Scots/Scottish and Gaelic, protected under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Some of the recommendations in the area of education were:
  • elaborate and implement a comprehensive Scottish Gaelic language education policy;
  • develop a comprehensive Irish language policy, including measures to meet the increasing demand for Irish-medium education;
  • further develop Welsh-medium education - in particular, take steps to improve linguistic continuity in the transition from primary to secondary level education in Welsh-speaking areas, and establish a co-ordinated approach to monitoring progress achieved in Welsh-medium education development.
To achieve these recommendations better data would be needed as no reliable data on the number of speakers and their degree of language competence exist. Standardisation or codification is also essential for the use of the language in many aspects of public life and  a strong fight against the negative public opinion of these languages is crucial. Despite this recommendation, the UK government announced its intention to focus on foreign languages such as Cantonese and Mandarin so as to better capitalise on the future business potential of China and their business leaders. Internal languages are seemingly not top priority. Council of Europe: recommendation