If the table was sorted correctly, wouldn't a value list based on that table automatically sort correctly? I'm sure it doesn't as you would've already figured that out. But if you have a sample I'd take a shot at it in about an hour. If not, I'll try making one up myself.
Create a new calculated field: CountryAndArticle. Make it a concatenation of the language and the article:
English | A
English | An
Spanish | El
Make the value list use two fields, the CountryAndArticle field, and the Article field. Show only the second field.
The languages would be sorted alphabetically, and the articles within each language would also be sorted alphabetically.
Edit: Nope. Disregard my answer. You won't be able to sort by the first field if you show only the second. My apologies.
Of course, from the brilliant mind of philmodjunk and his Adventures in FileMaking #2:
How he thought of this...is beyond me. Here's a sample, see if it points you in the right direction.
VLsort.fmp12.zip 69.4 K
The same demo file also shows how to set up selection portals which may be a better option.
(And the sorted value list trick happens to be something that I learned right here in the forum.)