Talk:List of living languages in Europe

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Sign languages[edit]

Great information. Where does it come from? I'd like to use the "number of signers" figures for some of the pages on sign languages. To be honest, I'd be very surprised if reliable data is actually available, given that the number of signers is not known for American Sign Language or British Sign Language, the two most studied sign languages in the world. Estimates for ASL range from 100,000 to 15,000,000!

Also, monastic sign languages are not "living languages... spoken as a native tongue", as the lead section suggests, nor even real languages. Those who have studied them have preferred phrases like "sign systems" or "sign lexicons".

Another minor point regarding nativeness and sign languages in general is that few of the signing community learn the language from their parents. A majority learn a spoken/written language incompletely as their first language, and learn a sign language later in childhood, adolescence or adulthood, which quickly becomes their preferred language. A better phrasing for the "nativeness" requirement in the lead section might be "the primary or preferred languages of a community". ntennis 10:51, 18 June 2006 (UTC)


Scanian is not a "minority language", but a dialect, or really an accent, of the Swedish language. There are no "80,000 speakers" of this "language" as nobody has ever defined or counted them. This number is taken out of thin air! There are instead more than one million speakers of this accent (out of the nine million inhabitants of Sweden). Somebody has fooled Ethnologue, but there are no solid evidence of the existence of the 80,000. There are no other sources at all. Therefore I remove this odd statement from the article! --Vedum (talk) 20:26, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I reverted your edit. The border between a "language" and a "dialect" is not at all clear. What's for sure is that Scanian is not an "accent". Ethnologue clearly states how many people are supposed to speak Scanian, so if you have different sources for your claims, feel free to indicate them; try to find a source that clearly and scientifically proves that Scanian is merely an "accent" of Swedish. Or even better, go ahead and tell the SIL people that they have been fooled by some linguistic researcher writing an article or book on Swedish dialects/languages. The Ethnologue source clearly values more than a gut feeling judgment from a Wikipedian. — N-true (talk) 16:52, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Ethnologue will publish its 16th edition in January next year. Mr. Chuck Fennig, the Research Assistant, tells in an e-mail that the information on the web site will be updated next year. The following is directly from them: "In the 16th edition, Scanian will not appear as a language, but as a dialect of Swedish. The population and Bible information to which you referred will not be in this new edition. We received the population information from a personal source in 2003; the Bible information was erroneous in the first place and should not have been included." Should we wait until next year or delete the erroneous information now? --Vedum (talk) 17:59, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Okay, sounds convincing enough to me, I admit. I haven't found the time to answer your questions on my talk page, but at least I'm convinced now. — N-true (talk) 01:35, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Good. I will once again remove the statement about this "minority language" with its alleged 80,000 speakers. I know that there are individuals and minor organisations who want it to be a language. They write letters to the government, trying to convince them about that. A few years ago a law was passed, establishing a number of official minority languages in Sweden. Scanian was not one of them,as it was not regarded a language, bur a dialect. I am sure that the statement on the Ethnologue web site stems from such an organisation --Vedum (talk) 16:15, 4 October 2008 (UTC)