How many local languages are there in Europe?

If you were to ask a European how many local languages they speak, the answer would be surprising. According to a study by the University of Edinburgh, there are over 200 indigenous regional and minority languages spoken in Europe. This incredible diversity provides Europeans with a unique cultural experience that is not found in other parts of the world. In this post, we will explore some of the most interesting and rare local languages spoken in Europe.

  1. Yola – Spain

Yola is a small town located in the province of Huesca, in the north-eastern region of Spain. It is home to a unique local language called Aragonese, which is spoken by less than 10,000 people. Aragonese is a Romance language that descends from Latin and has close similarities to Spanish, Catalan and Occitan.

  1. Istro-Romanian – Croatia

Istro-Romanian is a Romance language spoken by around 1,500 people in the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. It descends from Latin and has significant influences from Italian and Slavic languages. Interestingly, Istro-Romanian shares many features with Romanian, even though the two languages are not closely related.
3. Sorbian – Germany

Sorbian is a Slavic language spoken by around 60,000 people in the eastern German states of Brandenburg and Saxony. It is closely related to Polish and Czech, and has been influenced by German over the centuries. There are two main dialects of Sorbian: Upper Sorbian, which is spoken in Upper Lusatia, and Lower Sorbian, which is spoken in Lower Lusatia.

  1. Welsh – United Kingdom

Welsh is a Celtic language spoken by around 700,000 people in Wales, as well as by small communities in England and Scotland. It descends from Brittonic, a language spoken by the Celtic Britons who inhabited Britain before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. Welsh has been strongly influenced by English, but it is still very different from its neighbor.

  1. Saami – Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia

Saami is a Finno-Ugric language spoken by around 10,000 people in the northern regions of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia. It has several dialects, which are divided into three main groups: East Saami, West Saami and North Saami. The Saami people have their own unique culture and traditions, which are closely linked to their language and way of life.

  1. Basque – France and Spain

Basque is a unique language spoken by around 700,000 people in the Basque Country, an autonomous region located in the western Pyrenees mountains of France and Spain. It is not closely related to any other known language, which has led some linguists to believe that it may be the last surviving remnant of the ancient Aquitanian language.

  1. Gaelic – Ireland and Scotland

Gaelic is a Celtic language spoken by around 1.2 million people in Ireland and Scotland. It descends from Old Irish, and was once the dominant language of Ireland. However, it began to decline in use after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the 12th century. Today, Gaelic is mostly spoken in rural areas and on the islands off the coast of Scotland.

 

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