A new language for Europe

Discussion in 'Politics' started by eurotop40, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. eurotop40

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Likes Received:
    122
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zurich (ZH, CH)
    It may be old but always funny (I hope):

    The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

    As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

    In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

    The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

    There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

    In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

    Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

    Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

    By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

    During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer , ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

    Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

    Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

    If zis mad you smil, pas on to oza pepl.
     
  2. HazelGod

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,531
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Other Side of the Pillow
    This belongs in the jokes & stupid shit forum, not Politics.
     
  3. Average_joe

    Average_joe Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    124
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Lighten up. It's a political joke.

     
  4. HazelGod

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,531
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Other Side of the Pillow
    No, it isn't. It's a cultural joke...and a stupid one to boot.
     
  5. eurotop40

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Likes Received:
    122
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zurich (ZH, CH)
    Average_joe got the point. I'd like to be provocative.
     
  6. jumbo747jet

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    5,439
    Likes Received:
    145
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Denmark
    If everything which is laughable was to be moved from the politics forum, there wouldn't be many theads left ...
     
  7. Joll

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    14,520
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    723
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales (GB)
    Thing is tho, there's probably an element of truth in euro's post somewhere.... :p
     
  8. pornographicpoet

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Messages:
    484
    Albums:
    3
    Likes Received:
    8
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Prospect Park area, Brooklyn, NYC
    Funny joke. I get the humor here.
     
  9. eurotop40

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Likes Received:
    122
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zurich (ZH, CH)
    Points to consider:
    Europeans need to understand each other, i.e. have a common language
    English grammar is relatively easy and everybody learns English
    English is a germanic language
    German is spoken by 100 million people on the European continent
    BUT
    60+% of English words are of Latin origin, I don't know how many of German descent
    Will the use of English by continental Europeans increase and maybe distort the use of old english words?
     
  10. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,934
    Likes Received:
    643
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    It's an old chestnut, but it goes to the heart of the Tower of Babel which is the EU. There are 23 official languages in the EU. The mechanics of dealing with this is a constant issue. Add many other indigenous languages plus many languages of recent migrants and it is a challenging scenario.

    There is no one dominant EU language. The three administrative cities (Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg) all speak French (at least as one of their languages). There are more native speakers of German than any other language. English is the most widely used language of communication.

    There is a case for an EU language, though at present this is not part of EU policy. The only possibly choice is English as this is the first foreign language of most nations within the EU, but this would be contentious, particularly as the UK is seen as a luke warm European. The linguistic concept of language ecology might see the dominance of English as inevitable whatever the policies of the EU might be.
     
  11. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,934
    Likes Received:
    643
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)
    The percentage of words from Germanic is small, but they are the most commonly used words.

    The new term is "World Englishes" which sees English as a group of forms of English. Continental use of English will modify English though it is unlikely to be towards any one language (so we won't be speaking the German-English of the first post).
     
  12. B_Nick8

    B_Nick8 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    11,912
    Likes Received:
    44
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New York City, by way of Marblehead, Boston and Ge
    Jesus christ, HG. Lighten up.
     
  13. Freddie53

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Messages:
    7,285
    Likes Received:
    61
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The South, USA
    The opening post though was an eye opener. It explains a lot about how German and English languages are related. It also shows how a language can be changed to the point that it is a new language, especially if over time pronunciations also change.

    And, it is a political football. There is no way that all of that would happen in five years. Who is to say that it might not happen in 100 or 200 years. It would be a true new European language.

    Having said that, this is a political issue that the Europeans will have to deal with as the European Union slowly emerges as a single European power.

    Another thing that may happen is that Britain and France may both have to give up permanent seats in the UN and replaced by one European Union permanent seat.

    Yeah, this may have been a joke, but definitely a political hot issue for decades to come for the European Union.

    One other interesting fact about all of this is that the US almost became a German speaking nation instead of English. If the European Union would have also adopted German as the official language then we would have close to a billion people having German as their official language.
     
  14. mynameisnobody

    mynameisnobody New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    CT, USA
    This is the conventional wisdom, but it has little foundation. Old English (that is, Anglo-Saxon) is more justifiably considered a Germanic language, but OE really has little in common with modern English - some vocabulary, very little grammar or syntax.
     
  15. Jason

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Messages:
    9,934
    Likes Received:
    643
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    London (GB)

    English is Germanic in terms of its syntax, morphology, stress patterns, common vocabulary and sound system. There is a direct development from the systems of Old English to those of the modern English language. Most Old English vocabulary has been retained. The core of the verb system is fundamentally the same (strong and weak verbs, vowel change in the strong verbs). While the grammatical markers have changed through time the grammatical concepts are similar. The conventional wisdom that English is Germanic is uniformly accepted by historical linguistics, and I see no way in which it could be contested. There is a substantial vocabulary admixture from Romance and other languages, but this does not determine classification.
     
  16. HazelGod

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    7,531
    Albums:
    1
    Likes Received:
    9
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Other Side of the Pillow
    A case study in the distinctions between someone who has a clue what the fuck he's talking about and someone who doesn't.
     
  17. scotchirish

    scotchirish Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    question for those who are more enlightened than I, are there other languages that have incorporated vocabulary from other languages as much as English has? Off the top of my head it seems French words have been the most actively adopted.
     
  18. eurotop40

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Likes Received:
    122
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zurich (ZH, CH)
    Difficult to tell... for sure romanic languages are latin dialects, so they have not "incorporated" vocabulary but just inherited it.
    German and Dutch (which is a german dialect / sorry guys from the Benelux) have this "incestuous" word formation that makes it sometimes difficult for them to switch to the use of latin/greek words in English (see for instance "Eckpunkte" for "vertices", "Platzangst" for "claustrophobia").
    On the other hand the geographic disconnection of English from its european roots has interesting effects:
    1) Americans have to cope with spelling until the age of 80 (since in general they have no idea of Latin/French)
    2) you see more and more horrid mistakes by immigrants of non european descent, such as "excess" instead of "access", "effect" instead of "affect" etc.
     
  19. midlifebear

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    5,908
    Likes Received:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Nevada, Buenos Aires, and Barçelona
    The L'Académie française, or the French Academy, would love to believe French was constantly invading English; especially since they are so Hell bent on preserving pure French (which, of course, is a futile endeavor). All languages change. That's one of the five foundations of linguistics. One of the other five foundations -- or fundamental rules -- no language is superior to another or inferior. This "no superior language" rule is often hard for Berliners to swallow.

    Currently, the USA is still acting as if French is the lingua franca of the world, despite that throughout the world (and especially the USA) there are many more native speakers of Spanish. All an 'Mericuhn has to do is look inside his or her passport and notice that everything written in English is also written in French. On the west side of the Continental Divide, French is not a common second language taught in intermediate and secondary schools; although it is usually taught in most private schools. Regardless, as with most foreign languages in the USA, it is rarely taught correctly. To successfully acquire a second or third language really needs to begin in Kindergarten (or infancy from a native-speaking parent or care giver). Granted, there are still many places in the world where a customs agent who does not read English has at least an acquaintance with French, but it's easy to ferret them out as knowing only a little French, which isn't much.

    The idea of German becoming the lingua franca of Europe is and has been an old joke since before WWI. It will never happen. However a good chunk of French will grow up speaking a dialect of German in addition to their local French accent. The Swiss already have their fusion of French/Deutsch. I deal with more French than I would like to. And I have never met a native French speaker NOT insist upon correcting my pronunciation of his or her language, although he or she may be strangling or outright destroying English or Spanish. Far be it from me to correct their English or Spanish. But that's the French. They are culturally designed to correct others attempting to speak their native language. In part, you can blame L'Académie française, or the French Academy.

    Personally, I find it rather sad that English (by default) has become and is still regarded the unofficial lingua franca of not just Europe but most of the world. However, if you look into registering your child to attend a private school in Argentina you'll be surprised that in addition to English, Mandarin is also being taught starting with students in Kindergarten. China has become the most important trade partner with Argentina, although the USA is a bigger trade partner in annual Pesos. But Argentines, despite their rather odd culture (heavily influenced by Germans and Italians) always know on which side their economy is buttered.

    It's just a matter of numbers and which country you live in. Mandarin is spoken by more people in the world than any other language. English (and all its varieties) comes in second, but a far second. Then Portuguese, Spanish, French, and German is far behind as the fifth most prevalent language spoken throughout the world. Spanish and French are almost equals in number of speakers, but there are more Spanish speakers being born every day than French. What is not taken in consideration is the pidgin turned creole becoming the lingua franca of most central African nations -- Swahili -- which is a polyglot of different African languages just as 'Mericuhn English is a polyglot of so many different world languages woven into its odd grammar and syntax. No one knows how many people speak Swahili, but the general guess by linguists is rather high.

    As for English having incorporated so many words that originated in French, it is only because the English suffered through the Norman Conquest whereupon French was made the "official" language of the realm until a bunch of cranky U.K. natives (and their Nordic cousins) got rid of the Normans. Well, there is also the fact that a majority of students who graduate from English public schools begin learning French as a second language the first day they start their public educations. After all, France is only 20 miles from England via the French -- whoops, er . . . English Channel. It's always amusing to hear, for example, the Scottish speak in French, having mastered a huge and grammatically correct vocabulary. You can just see the steam rise from the back of the necks of French as they hear their language "mispronounced" although all of the vowels and syllables are correct.

    As for the Germans, well . . . give them time. They're extremely adaptable and make some nice automobiles. God forbid, however, one should be stuck eating German food for a life time. For you long-haul LPSG truckers, just do a google search on the origins of the ubiquitous chicken-fried steak. It'll make you reconsider you general eating habits, unless you already have. :biggrin1:

    Finally, something I find rather astonishing is that The Squeeze (who does not speak a word of English) cannot tell if someone is speaking English or German! As he will explain, "Es Jolanda a mi." (similar to "It's Dutch to me!) :eek:
     
    #19 midlifebear, Oct 8, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  20. eurotop40

    Gold Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,525
    Likes Received:
    122
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Zurich (ZH, CH)
    The Normans who themselves were actually Danes - I believe - who adopted French as their language. There must have still been a fascination for romanic languages by all these germanic tribes such as the Longobards who moved to Italy in the 6th century and also dropped their original germanic dialect.
     
Draft saved Draft deleted