Talking to Clients in Europe -- but in which language? #41 – 4/04/2016

What are the major European languages? And who can help navigate them? A short guide to the languages of Europe's most important markets, and an offer that addresses your intercultural communication needs.

Are “we“ a part of Europe? Is Europe the same as the EU? How many countries, languages, nations are there in Europe? Are the Scots more European than the English? And, most crucially, how many European markets are there?

One thing is clear: National boundaries and cultural identities do not always overlap. Just ask the Catalans!

What determines someone’s sense of identity is often the language they speak. “Want to live in England? Learn English first!” By choosing to speak one language rather than another, our clients and competitiors establish themselves at distinct positions in the market place.

Do you know which language to speak when talking to your European customers and partners? Let’s remind ourselves of some key facts:

The EU’s main languages are Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish/Gaelic, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, and Swedish.

The languages with the largest number of native speakers in Europe are Russian (110 million) and German (90 million), followed by Italian, English, and French.

There are regional and minority languages in many European countries, and many of these smaller languages cross national boundaries. In the EU alone, there are 60 of these languages, and they are spoken by a total of about 40 million people.

Of these regional and minority languages, the largest ones are Basque, Breton, Catalan, Cornish, Corsican, Frisian, Friulian, Gaelic, Galician, Manx, Occitan, Sardinian, Sorbian, Welsh, and Yiddish. Oh, and let’s not forget Latin (there’s always the Vatican!).

Which one is the biggest? Catalan! It’s spoken by 7 million people, which is more than Finnish.

Incidentally, the oldest European language still spoken today is one of the regional and minority languages: Euskara (Basque).

In total, there are about 220 to 230 indigenous languages in Europe.

Diversity spells opportunity – think how many ways there are to speak to people in a language they understand and enjoy! And we’re here to assist you with your international communications activities. Cross-cultural consultancy by NIMIRUM means being on the safe side when it comes to slogans, images, and marketing copy.

From our 350 highly qualified language, regional, and industry consultants, we can fast assemble a team for you in any European language, large or small.

Contact us now by e-mailing, and ask for more information!