A common European language (1 Viewer)

Would you support a common EU language?

  • Yes, sounds like a good idea

  • Yes, provided it would be <my choice>

  • Not under any circumstances

  • Undecided


Results are only viewable after voting.

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#1
Probably not good timing but someone brought it up the other day and I wonder what people think about it. To formulate the question..

"Considering the EU is expanding, that it's growing more tightly integrated (ie. designs for a EU constitution), for the purpose of smoother communication and lesser cultural barriers within the union, would you support a common European language to be adopted?"

Of course a secondary question is what language is it supposed to be? Would it be English, German or French? Or would it be some kind of newly engineered language to "bridge the gap" (sounds like a terrible idea to me but whatever)?
 

Zlatan

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2003
23,032
#2
I speak Esperanto like I was born there ;)



On a serious note, it's really already happened, and not just in Europe. English has become the universal language, and it will be universally used whether it's in the EU constitution (or an other EU Document or Declaration) or not.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,096
#3
I think it'd be a shame to lose all that culture. Even if we were to assume that proud countries would be willing to 'give up' their languages (although of course they'd still be spoken domestically), it'd be too weird...

I'm not in any kind of physical or mental state to be mulling over such issues at the moment :sleepy:
 
OP
OP
Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#4
Still, there's a difference. If you're a company looking to establish yourself in France, English will help you on the way but the paperwork still needs to be in French etc. There's a fairly big difference between a language popularly adopted and one that is official alongside any other existing language the country may already have had.
 

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#5
The French would kick up hell if anything but French (which is, IIRC, already the official language of the EU) was used. And no one speaks French. ;) Seriously, English is already the informal standard, but efforts to formalise it would be nigh on impossible.
 
OP
OP
Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#6
Well look at it this way. Right now the major nations would no doubt pull in their own direction but couldn't there be long term benefits that surpass the importance of which language "wins" right now?
 

mikhail

Senior Member
Jan 24, 2003
9,575
#7
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
Well look at it this way. Right now the major nations would no doubt pull in their own direction but couldn't there be long term benefits that surpass the importance of which language "wins" right now?
In short, yes. But then, there'd be a big advantage if everyone suddenly switched to Linux, or if there was world-wide nuclear disarmament. What's best in the long run is not often the most popular option. Or even a popular option.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,096
#8
Of course there'd be benefits; I mean it'd probably be advantageous to the whole world to speak the one language. The problem is though, that there are always gonna be pride issues all over the place.
 
OP
OP
Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#9
No doubt there would be a struggle to "preserve our heritage" as opposed to get integrated and in the space of 50 or 100 years no doubt a common language would gradually start to undermine the importance of the original languages in existence. It just strikes me maybe the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Yes John, I don't consider it an option today. Who knows about the future though.
 
Jul 12, 2002
5,666
#10
++ [ originally posted by gray ] ++
Of course there'd be benefits; I mean it'd probably be advantageous to the whole world to speak the one language. The problem is though, that there are always gonna be pride issues all over the place.
I disagree. I don't thinkt hat a universal laguage over a continent or the world would be advantageous to anyone. First of all, retention of a language has very little to do with pride. The language that one uses shapes the way they express themselves, and the way that they interpret the world around them. The very basic daily thought processes are different depending on what language you were brought up in. Taking away the lagnuage differences would not only take away that piece of culture, but you'd also be stripping those people of a cultural identity and you'd be changing the way that they think.

I'm completely against any type of universal language. Language barriers may not appear to be good for trade, but they are good for diversity, and that's something that I'm not willing to give up for money.
 

gray

Senior Member
Moderator
Apr 22, 2003
30,096
#11
++ [ originally posted by Ian ] ++
I disagree. I don't thinkt hat a universal laguage over a continent or the world would be advantageous to anyone. First of all, retention of a language has very little to do with pride. The language that one uses shapes the way they express themselves, and the way that they interpret the world around them. The very basic daily thought processes are different depending on what language you were brought up in. Taking away the lagnuage differences would not only take away that piece of culture, but you'd also be stripping those people of a cultural identity and you'd be changing the way that they think.
You make a point, but I'm talking more in the long term, in which case the communication issues would IMO be less of problem. Suppose for example that the whole world has been speaking the same language for 100 years. Would people all over the world feel hindered in their communication due to an inability to express themselves with said language?

I mentioned earlier that it would be damaging to the cultural identity of any group of people to have their language taken away, but my comment on the 'advantageous' nature of such an agreement were mostly directed towards Martin's theory of easier trade between countries
++ [ originally posted by Ian ] ++
I'm completely against any type of universal language. Language barriers may not appear to be good for trade, but they are good for diversity, and that's something that I'm not willing to give up for money.
With all factors considered, I'm not for a universal language either. From a purely commercial point of view though, it would be advantageous to most people if not everyone, as stated before
 

xziz

Senior Member
Aug 30, 2004
508
#12
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
"Considering the EU is expanding, that it's growing more tightly integrated (ie. designs for a EU constitution), for the purpose of smoother communication and lesser cultural barriers within the union, would you support a common European language to be adopted?"
Hi, I am glad to have the chance to address this topic with you. I think this is a good question. I do not hide I have posed myself this question in the past and answered it already.

I think a common language is needed. I would like to call it a koine' like ancient Greeks were divided into several city state and spoke several different "dialects", they also had a common language, understood by everybody, a koine'. I do not mind which language will be, however I sincerely hope Europe will soon have a koine'.

In the European Union bureaucracy a koine' already exists even if it has come from usage and not from political decision. It is English. Before you get upset I will add I am native Italian, my second languages are in chronological order French, Arabic, English, and Spanish. While I probably speak and write English better than any other second language. Possibly because it has revealed the most useful and the easiest to master.

E.G. in the European Parliament representative currently are present from some 25 countries and 20 languages, namely: Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish plus two more that are struggling for recognition (namely Irish and Catalan). By statute, all the most relevant European acts are translated in all the EU member state languages, and many acts are translated in the most important languages (English, French, German). In particular, debates on the floor take place in some 20 languages, therefore interpreters are needed for each of those languages. Usually interpreters are bilingual, which means they translate from their best known second language to their native language, in order to achieve speed and quality.

PROBLEM: how many interpreters are needed in order to satisfy the needs of all the representatives on the floor?

ANSWER: 20 at the power of 2, or 400 different language combination of interpreters

Obviously here I am pushing the envelope in order to make the problem stand out. However you cannot really improve the efficiency of the system unless you utilize a common language acting as a buffer.

QUESTION: If you introduce a koine' how many language combination of interpreters are needed?

ANSWER: 20 times 2, or 40. Each interpreter masters her/his native language plus English and translates from it to English, than a second interpreter translates from English to her/his native language.

And this is just one example. Do you imagine how much is costing us not to have a recognized koine'? I think the EU should have a koine', and I do not mind which one will be chosen, could be a language I do not speak. At a later stage I think it should be mandatory that all bureaucratic business within the EU be carried out in the koine'.

xziz
:dazed:
 
OP
OP
Martin

Martin

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2000
56,859
#13
Hm, I'm not quite satisfied with your argumentation because it seems fairly specific to the EU parliament. What about wider consequences for daily use among people, do you have anything to say about that?
 

swag

L'autista
Administrator
Sep 23, 2003
76,321
#14
Fair game time for me, as I've definitely entertained the questions in the U.S. threads from Europeans. ;)

It would be a horrible loss if European nations turned their back on their native languages -- it's so tightly wound up in their respective cultures and its what makes them interesting, vibrant, and something to be proud of.

But things are globalizing. It seems that since the conversion to the Euro, I've seen a lot more German high schoolers throughout Europe, for example. And I don't see that as a bad thing from cultural experience. But larger, functioning networks of things or people require some common protocols of interaction -- and communication/language is one of the most essential.

If there's a model that could be looked at, you might turn to Asia. Some of the world's best non-native-speakers of English live there, and business is heavily conducted with that language as a common point among many multilingual constituents. Not saying that English is the answer (even if it still is the primary language of world economy ... with Mandarin coming up fast). But many Asian nations seem to have made peace with a balance between preserving the languages and cultures of their own lands while adopting a common, second language for international business (and social) efficiencies.
 

xziz

Senior Member
Aug 30, 2004
508
#15
++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
Hm, I'm not quite satisfied with your argumentation because it seems fairly specific to the EU parliament. What about wider consequences for daily use among people, do you have anything to say about that?
Well, just a few ideas:

a. the need for a koine':

a.1. A koine' is in the Nature of things, every large state organization has always had a common language to allow the diverse identities to interact. Empires: Chinese = Mandarin, Roman = Latin, Islamic = Arabic, Spain = Spanish, England = English, France = French, USSR = Russian, and US = English.

a.2. I will be glad if the EU will never have a national identity in itself, given I an totally anti - nationalist. Therefore, in my opinion, the koine should be removed from its ethnical horigins and become patrimony of humanity. This is definitely the case of International English that is evolving independently from UK English as well as overcoming it in importance (idest BBC commentators do nos speak UK English in vocabulary, syntax and accent, they rather come closer to International English).

b. which language

b.1. from an economic point of view, better a language which is already largely diffused and can cover most of the linguistical needs. Therefore, any natural language would probably be better than any artificial language.

b.2. probably better a simpler language than a complex one, phonetically speaking as well as from the point of view of the syntax.

c. how

c.1. a koine' could be introduced gradually and slowly take over all the aspects that are common to the whole Union. Definitely, Business, Public Administration, and Politics.

c.2. children should learn the koine' in school as their main second language

xziz
:confused:
 

kurvengeflüster

********* a.D.
Jan 24, 2004
2,179
#17
No, why? Isn't the language one of the most important elements of culture? It's so great to learn a foreign language, to understand native speakers step by step - to absorb a culture from abroad. And why to set up a new one (even for business reasons) - we have enough languages in Europe to be learned :) Moreover English does well as a world language. What's wrong about that language? The Europeans should unite their power on other - more important - issues.

Edit A: took #3
Edit B: If we need a common tongue, what about German? :D ;)
Edit C: I like France but no French please. It is soo hard to learn. :angel:
Edit D: Italian? Would be easier to get more stuff of Juventus. :D
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)