News‎ > ‎

The Economist articles about EU language policies

posted Oct 1, 2013, 1:54 PM by NZEA web2

The Economist has published two articles about language problems in the European Union.

An article on 10 September 2013 discussed a recent conference on multilingualism in Krynica, Poland. It mentions the number of official languages in the EU has risen to 23, which makes it difficult to create unity in the EU. It mentions the difficulty of interpreting at such conferences, and the difficulty of understanding those struggling with English. It claims that "Technology is making cross-linguistic communication much easier, but even with all of the recent strides in machine translation, quality is still choppy, and remains impossible for the kind of spontaneous conversations that start friendships." Which is what we have been saying for along time.

Another article on 17 September 2013, on multilingualism, and the opposition to having a "mainly English" language policy in the EU. "United in diversity"? The problems if all serious stuff is in English, and the other languages lose their technical vocabulary and style. "Already today, in liberal and pro-American countries where English ability is outstanding, like Denmark and the Netherlands, people fear that their languages are considered fit for fewer and fewer arenas. Populist and xenophobic parties... play on this fear". The author is pushing for every schoolchild in the EU to be taught "a second foreign language after English".