Ethnic Germans as a Language Minority in Central and Eastern Europe

Co-authored with Karl Cordell and published in Minority Languages in Europe: Framework, Status, Prospects (ed. by Gabrielle Hogan-Brun and Stefan Wolff, Palgrave, 2003/paperback 2010), this chapter examines the legislative and policy frameworks in three Central and Eastern European states with German-speaking minorities — Poland, Hungary and Romania. Two international documents, both emerging in the European context, are of particular relevance here, as they set the parameters for the analysis of legal provisions and policies concerning the situation of German minorities in these three countries – the Framework Convention on the Protection of Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The subsequent analysis in the paper is limited to themes that are particularly significant in connection with the ability of a minority to preserve its language. These include language laws and other legal provisions regarding the official status and use of languages, language access in education, representation of minority languages in and through the media, and opportunities for cross-border cooperation within one language community.