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The "new" Euro language
John Heelan refers us to an official source of information about the languages of the European Union: "English overtook French as the most used language six years ago and with French and German makes up the EC's working languages, although German has hardly ever been used." (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1490243.stm)
From Slovakia Tom Grey says: "The biggest differences between most Euro-countries is their language, and most countries strongly support having and keeping their own language. At about $6 / page for translation, the 80 000 pages is only $480 000, for each of the nine countries, to be paid to locals -- who will almost all use the English version to translate "from". I support English as the universal second language -- but keeping different languages is not insane; just expensive".
RH: Define "insane", If every state in the US had a different language, would that be insane or just expensive? Well, it would drive most people insane. The citation from John Heelan refers to the present situation, but it is changing rapidly with the accession of new members. I wish he would keep un informed, since from here it is confusing. The translation money is paid TO locals, but I understand that it comes FROM the EU. ONLY $480,000x 9?! In the UN, countries which use a language other than the official ones must pay themselves. Quite apart from the vested interest small EU countries have in thus promoting their languages, a major problem is that the small countries are ganging up on the big countries, which they accuse of ganging up on them. There was the notorious episode of representative of some small countries crashing a dinner party of the major powers. This whole business is in a state of flux. I would be grateful if John and others would keep us informed about developments in the Euro language problem.
Ronald Hilton - 9/25/02