SV: SV: Vital Statistics

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Fri Jan 7 09:25:34 UTC 2000

Bharat Gupt [SMTP:abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN] skrev 04. januar 1980 01:03:
> Lars Martin Fosse wrote:
> > All EU legal
> > documents are routinely published in English and French. They are then
> > translated into the various EU languages,
> >
> > But if English
> > has been chosen for linking, I would like to know how the French (and
> > Germans)
> > reacted to that. I would be grateful for some source material here!
> I must clarify that my comment on English in EU was not restricted to the
> deliberations
> of the EU legislature and executive but to the whole socio-cultural entity of
> EU.

This is a slightly different proposition. There is no doubt that English is the
language "on the attack" in the EU area for a large number of reasons. The
French may not be happy about this, and the Germans may want German to be just
as important as French and English, but the tidal wave moves in another
direction. What I had in mind was "official" politics, and I don't think that
the EU could survive politically if English was chosen the one and only
official link language. All languages are in principle to have equal status,
even if this is becoming increasingly unpractical.

> Let us face it, the EU officially may translate documents into several
> languages, but
> the people shall always prefer one link language. As linguistic nationalism
> subsides, in
> Europe and India alike, the link languages, English and Hindi respectively,
> shall come
> to occupy bigger spaces.

As for English, this is most certainly true, and as for Hindi, certainly not
impossible. But English is not being promoted as the EU's "national language",
and its preeminence is first and foremost due to the enormous economic and
cultural impact of the United States. Without the US, the EU might be opting
for French rather than English, given the traditional cultural prestige of
French. Thus, the promotion of Hindi is a political affair, whereas English
promotes itself through its sheer force and the advantages that come with it.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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