The concept of minority/minorities in the European national and supranational EU discourse

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European discourse on linguistic minorities reflect the construction of inter-ethnic boundaries between national (such as Dutch or French), indigenous minorities (such as Basque, Catalan or Frisian), and immigrant minorities (Arabic, Berber or Turkish). In the European public discourse on immigrant minority groups, two major characteristics emerge: immigrant minority groups are often referred to as foreigners (étrangers, Ausländer) and as being in need of integration. It is common practice to refer to immigrant minority groups in terms of non-national residents and to their languages in terms of non-territorial, nonregional, non-indigenous, or non-European languages. This conceptual exclusion rather than inclusion in the European public discourse derives from a restrictive interpretation of the notions of citizenship and nationality. Based on the empirical evidence derived from Language Rich Europe project, a phenomenological perspective on ethnic minorities and inter-ethnic boundary construction will be presented in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-229
Number of pages17
JournalMultilingua: Journal of interlanguage communication
Issue number2
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • inter-ethnic boundary construction
  • minority groups
  • national discourse
  • phenomenology
  • social exclusion

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