Author Topic: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay  (Read 224 times)

Offline Frank

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Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« on: October 09, 2020, 05:05:52 AM »

“SLOWLY but surely, English is losing importance,” quipped Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, before switching to French for a speech on May 5th. Is this true? Not really, and it seems not to have been intended as seriously as easily offended British headline-writers took it. After all, Mr Juncker, who is known for going off-script in speeches, delivered his barb in English, and the audience laughed.

In any case, speakers of la langue de Shakespeare have little to worry about. The European Union has 24 official languages, three of them considered “working languages”: French, German and English. Eurocrats are polyglots, often able to speak all three tongues, plus another of their own. Mr Juncker may be right that in the halls of the EU’s institutions, English will be heard somewhat less after Brexit, simply because of the exodus of a big group of Anglophones. But English is not just British: it is also an official language in Ireland and Malta. More important, the three enlargements of the EU since 2004 have decisively shifted the balance in Brussels from French towards English. There is no consensus for going back, still less for switching to German.

Besides, English is putting down deep roots among ordinary people on the continent. For all of France’s notorious linguistic nationalism, it is telling that François Hollande, the outgoing president, was mocked on Le Petit Journal, a news and entertainment show, for his ropey English. Emmanuel Macron, a generation younger, is fluent. Fully 66% of EU citizens speak another language, a number that is growing steadily. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, does not break those figures down by language spoken, but it is easy to extrapolate from what is studied in schools. Among students at lower secondary level outside Britain, 97% are learning English. Only 34% are studying French and 23% German. In primary school 79% of students are already learning English, against just 4% for French. Some countries, such as Denmark, begin English in the very first year.

A language increases in value with the number of people able to speak it, so tongues that are valuable tend to become more so over time. And language knowledge takes a long time to acquire; societies do not quickly change the languages they speak. The trend of English in Europe began well before the vote for Brexit and is unlikely to dissipate, even “slowly but surely”. Mr Juncker might better have said that although Britain, unfortunately, is exiting the EU, its former partners will always remember the linguistic gift it is leaving behind.
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Offline Greg

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2020, 06:51:53 AM »
Everything that is useful on the internet is in English.

If Sister Lucia speaks in Portuguese it is translated into English.

If Malachi Martin speaks in English it is NOT translated into French, or Portuguese or Spanish.

So non-English speakers are going to be information poor, which in an information age is a massive disadvantage.

Just like being a landlocked country in the age of sail and international trade was a disadvantage.
 
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Offline paul14

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2020, 07:33:50 AM »
Unfortunately, it is going to be with Indian accents.    :violin:

 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2020, 09:04:01 AM »
I used to care more, but, frankly, the average Indian is probably MORE civilised today than the average Brit.

Been to India twice.  I thought I would hate it, but I really liked the place.  It is dirty, but the people I met were decent and friendly.

You should visit.  It is cheap even if you stay in 4-star hotels.

We flew to Goa for a week on direct flights with hotels and breakfast as well as airport transfer for £500 each.
 
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Offline paul14

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2020, 09:08:20 AM »
My next door neighbours are Indians from Goa.  They are very friendly; Catholic too.

Melvyn Mendonca's Dad was originally from Goa (via Uganda).  I remember the first time I went to his house.  I had my first lamb curry and my mouth was burning so much I could not finish it.  I would probably consider it fairly tame now.

All hail our new Indian Overlords.  My favourite bit is at 28.20


« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 09:16:38 AM by paul14 »
 
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Offline Greg

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2020, 09:58:53 AM »
The City of London is full of Indians now.  They are getting a lot of the middle and senior management jobs in the banks and software companies.

You have to hand it to them, they know how to get on in life.

No black person in the UK had any less opportunity in the last 50 years than the Indians did.
 
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Offline Greg

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Offline Frank

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2020, 11:01:13 AM »
Quote
Rishi Sunak (born 12 May 1980) is a British politician who has served as Chancellor of the Exchequer since February 2020. A member of the Conservative Party, he previously served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Chancellor Sajid Javid from July 2019 to February 2020. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond (Yorks) since the 2015 general election.

Born in Southampton, Hampshire, to Indian Punjabi Hindu parents who had emigrated from East Africa, his early education was at the independent Winchester College boarding school. Sunak subsequently studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Lincoln College, Oxford, and later gained an MBA from Stanford University as a Fulbright Scholar. After graduating, he worked for investment bank Goldman Sachs and later as a Partner at hedge fund management firm The Children's Investment Fund Management.

If Boris doesn't pull his finger out Rishi could well finish up as Prime Minister.
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Offline Greg

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2020, 11:10:40 AM »
It would probably be a good thing.  If we join economically with India and the USA we would be in a better position than the EU since we would not have cause to interfere with each other politics.

Most Brits think the Americans are kinda nuts about gun ownership (since nobody here has guns (and ammo is even harder to get)) but we would not think to tell Americans how to run their internal affairs.  If they want guns let them have guns.

An Indian Prime Minister would be in a very good position to negotiate a deal with India.  Add our GDPs together and it is double the size of China.  Then throw in friendly African nations and Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.  We could crush those Chinese commies and train the Indian Army to British Army standards.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2020, 12:23:26 PM »
Just like being a landlocked country in the age of sail and international trade was a disadvantage.

That must explain why Switzerland is doing so badly.
 
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Offline awkwardcustomer

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2020, 01:25:30 PM »
There's talk of the UK still being tied to the European Court of Human Rights after 'Brexit'.

That should help keep English alive and well in the EU.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8817429/Proposed-Brexit-deal-UK-tied-European-Court-Human-Rights-rulings.html
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Offline Greg

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2020, 07:01:34 PM »
Switzerland was dirt poor in the 19th Century. They got rich by avoiding war and being a tax haven and stable economy in the middle of corrupt and troubled countries.
 
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Offline Santantonio

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2020, 02:22:02 PM »
Switzerland was dirt poor in the 19th Century. They got rich by avoiding war and being a tax haven and stable economy in the middle of corrupt and troubled countries.

Sometimes in the past it was the poor who were more free and happy than the wealthy. Even in the U.S., money was not a regular everyday part of life, or a necessity until after the Civil War. You would be surprised to know how many Americans and Canadians went through all their lives with virtually - and in some cases no money at all.
 
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Offline mikemac

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Re: Britain is leaving the EU, but its language will stay
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2020, 05:38:18 PM »
Switzerland was dirt poor in the 19th Century. They got rich by avoiding war and being a tax haven and stable economy in the middle of corrupt and troubled countries.

Sometimes in the past it was the poor who were more free and happy than the wealthy. Even in the U.S., money was not a regular everyday part of life, or a necessity until after the Civil War. You would be surprised to know how many Americans and Canadians went through all their lives with virtually - and in some cases no money at all.

Yeah, like through the Depression.  My father grew up on a farm.  I remember my aunt saying that in the Depression they didn't have any money but they always had something to eat from the farm.  My grandfather had a huge garden.
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