France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby tungemål » Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:33 am

Don't confuse the EU with "Europe".
Norway is not in the union, but I still think that we are part of Europe. Same with Switzerland.
EU is not a country, nor a political union at least not fully, more of an economic cooperation.

As for English as a lingua franca - in my opinion English will only become more cemented as the lingua franca in this century. It is by now inevitable, but that doesn't mean that other languages can't be used as well. The idea of a "neutral" language like Esperanto was a nice one but in practice it failed. So we're stuck with idolising americans and brits because of their language.

EGP wrote:For those still discussing the topics because they hope that English dies out in the EU,

would it be possible to say that the UK is outside of Europe? Therefore not a European language anymore? I don't know how, but maybe call it a detached Atlantic state?

Sorry, I'm just spitting out stupid ideas to appease for no reason. I have no UK blood in me at all. I don't think most native or expert users of the language do either.

The lingua Franca will not change soon (as in centuries) unless China possibly Russia pull a no go on US currency or who knows what...

Anyways just thinking out loud too long.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Iversen » Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:35 am

English has become something like a lingua franca internationally, and most people in Europe know English better than French or German. So even if some Francophone persons in Brussels may dream of kicking it out there would be a popular backlash which might put the EU itself into jeopardy. Ok, particularly in Bruxelles - and now I use the French form - there might be an informal push to use French more (and the French would not mind the least to see it happen). Likewise in Frankfurt a.M. the resident economists might want to use German more... but a wholesale and formal declassification of English would be too provocative for most of the member states where the local language isn't French nor German. I can't see it happen. And Esperanto ... no. It's more likely that Terra be invaded by Klingons who force us all to learn their language.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby cpnlsn88 » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:03 pm

Britain leaving the EU may actually lead to more English being used, because it's no longer the language of one of the big states.

Without the UK English is still an EU language spoken widely and in Ireland. And if you're in the EU you want good relationships with the US, other English speaking countries as well as such a wide range of other countries a lingua franca is needed and English is widely known.

A different world might have led to French or German being widely adopted. At the moment it seems to be English that renders the greatest advantage.

A world where the US President can ring up someone in the EU and just speak is valuable, though it's always good to understand people's native tongue. Only a polyglot can really cope with the EU.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Le Baron » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:38 pm

tungemål wrote:Don't confuse the EU with "Europe".
The idea of a "neutral" language like Esperanto was a nice one but in practice it failed.


I'm only quoting you for context. I'm reluctant to use the word 'failed' because in the case of Esperanto it often suggests defects internal to the language are the cause. It wasn't given an actual chance, not least by the hostility of the French administration (though the language is actually well represented by French people on forums and meetings). Further hostility has come from seeing the language as exclusively 'left-wing' because though it has certainly been well-employed among left groups, the idea it is therefore itself 'left' is nonsensical. If the idea is that Esperanto's general tendency to promote cooperation, openness, fairness, decency is a threat, it says more about the character of its detractors than about Esperanto.

That latter is not coincidental because it runs totally contrary to the EU's (and global) approach to economic ideology and practise; and sadly these 'auxiliary languages' are largely for achieving economic aims, not spreading poetry. I don't think there is any good evidence to show that people 'don't want to' learn Esperanto, because I think if they were actually more familiar with it, rather than its caricature, they would be more enthusiastic. One thing is for certain...if the EU put as much effort into supporting Esperanto in schools as they do into supporting English there would be a lot more speakers and perhaps a lot more quickly than English.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Raconteur » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:00 pm

EGP wrote:would it be possible to say that the UK is outside of Europe? Therefore not a European language anymore? I don't know how, but maybe call it a detached Atlantic state?
They can have a referendum every 6 months, but I don't think they can vote their way out of geography. :lol:
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Iversen » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:16 pm

Le Baron wrote:(....) I'm reluctant to use the word 'failed' because in the case of Esperanto it often suggests defects internal to the language are the cause. It wasn't given an actual chance, not least by the hostility of the French administration (though the language is actually well represented by French people on forums and meetings). (...)


Actually I saw in one of the latest issue of "Esperanto" (official organ for the Esperanto word organization UEA, of which I'm a member) that the EU will give Esperanto some kind of official status soon ... but Occitan and Breton also have such a status, and that didn't help them much. I have been to several UEA congresses, and there are definitely a wide spread of opinions represented there (that's the diplomatic way of saying it), but ... well...

For me Esperanto is just a language among other languages, but not even close to getting any influence on anything outside its own circles. But just surviving and being used by an enthusiatic crowd is also something, and I would not call it a fiasco - contrary to Volapük, which according to any yardstick became a fiasco because it was totally incomprehensible to anybody who hadn't spent years learning it.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Raconteur » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:22 pm

Iversen wrote:English has become something like a lingua franca internationally, and most people in Europe know English better than French or German.
Yup, from the perspective of "other" European nations, I think that the the competition is now over, and English clearly won. I can somewhat understand the French resenting it, given France's age-old rivalry with England :lol:.

Poland in the 90s - education usually went something like this: you start with either German or English. Then you add the other one from the pair (DE/EN) or, if you want to be a little different or have family members living there: French, Italian and sometimes Spanish.

In general, I think all "Western" languages were seen as important and practical. So learning German over English in school wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

Ranking 1991
  1. German and English
  2. French, Italian, Spanish

Fast forward 30 years, and the ranking looks a bit more like this:

Ranking 2021
  1. English
  2. English
  3. English
  4. English
  5. English
  6. German (Chinese?)
  7. FR/IT/ES... but shouldn't you be learning English?

My aunt runs a language school in a small town, and they actually had to drop Spanish a few years ago, because there was 0 interest.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby lysi » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:24 pm

Raconteur wrote:Poland in the 90s - education usually went something like this: you start with either German or English. Then you add the other one from the pair (DE/EN) or, if you want to be a little different or have family members living there: French, Italian and sometimes Spanish.

In general, I think all "Western" languages were seen as important and practical. So learning German over English in school wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

Ranking 1991
  1. German and English
  2. French, Italian, Spanish

Fast forward 30 years, and the ranking looks a bit more like this:

Ranking 2021
  1. English
  2. English
  3. English
  4. English
  5. English
  6. German (Chinese?)
  7. FR/IT/ES... but shouldn't you be learning English?

This isn't universal though, there are two (formerly three) countries in the EU that don't teach English as a second language in their schools.
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Raconteur » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:31 pm

lysi wrote:
Raconteur wrote:Poland in the 90s...

This isn't universal though, there are two (formerly three) countries in the EU that don't teach English as a second language in their schools.
Are the two states that don't teach English as a second language Malta and Ireland? :lol:
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Re: France and Germany call to phase out English as EU’s working language (Prima Aprilis)

Postby Nogon » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:34 pm

lysi wrote:This isn't universal though, there are two (formerly three) countries in the EU that don't teach English as a second language in their schools.

Let me guess - those must be Ireland and Malta (as they teach English as first language)

EDIT: A typical case of "Zwei Dumme, ein Gedanke" :lol: (Widespread German proverb. I think in English it's "Great minds think alike" though the Germans say "Two fools, one thought")
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