Languages, English and the EU: A call for opinions...

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, and is NON CH related - chat about the weather, or anything else that takes your fancy.

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Ought the EU have one single common language?

Yes, and it should be English
6
29%
Yes, and it should be something other than English
0
No votes
No - the status quo is better
11
52%
I abstain and nominally donate my vote to Fiona Bruce (just for JR!)
4
19%
 
Total votes: 21

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icomefromalanddownunder
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Post by icomefromalanddownunder »

sejintenej wrote:oop ere norf o' Doncastrer the signs look like English but the street signs (like Kirk Gate which typically is mis-spelt) and words in the dictionary are Scandinavian. The people sound like they are moaning all the time

But they are, aren't they :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Post by englishangel »

icomefromalanddownunder wrote:
sejintenej wrote:oop ere norf o' Doncastrer the signs look like English but the street signs (like Kirk Gate which typically is mis-spelt) and words in the dictionary are Scandinavian. The people sound like they are moaning all the time

But they are, aren't they :lol: :lol: :lol:
Only in Manchester, in the 'real' North they have wonderful accents.

How do they mis-spell Kirk Gate BTW? I would have thought that was Scots anyway, not Scandinavian.

In Amersham is a road which is Hollow Way Lane at one end and Holloway Lane at the other, very confusing.
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Post by Mrs C. »

englishangel wrote:
icomefromalanddownunder wrote:
sejintenej wrote:oop ere norf o' Doncastrer the signs look like English but the street signs (like Kirk Gate which typically is mis-spelt) and words in the dictionary are Scandinavian. The people sound like they are moaning all the time

But they are, aren't they :lol: :lol: :lol:
Only in Manchester, in the 'real' North they have wonderful accents.

How do they mis-spell Kirk Gate BTW? I would have thought that was Scots anyway, not Scandinavian.

In Amersham is a road which is Hollow Way Lane at one end and Holloway Lane at the other, very confusing.
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Re: LANGUAGE

Post by sejintenej »

Foureyes wrote:The owner, a German, did not speak English and my wife, a very enthusiastic gardener, did not (at that time) speak German, so they then had a very lively discussion in Latin which both had learnt at school.
:shock:
I had to go on a business trip to Milan as bag carrier and my boss had c***ed up. Neither of us spoke Italian and none of the board of a large car components company admitted to speaking English; we all spoke French and had a highly successful meeting!

Just been trying to talk to my daughter - she was speaking Castelleno whilst my varieties are from the Spanish south west and Chile. We didn't get far!
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Post by sejintenej »

englishangel wrote:How do they mis-spell Kirk Gate BTW? I would have thought that was Scots anyway, not Scandinavian.
Kirke = church
Gate = street

Since there is a church there and since there are a lot of Viking words in use they should spell that one properly.


Scots could be Gaelic which is very different indeed or English laced with Viking and, I would expect, a lot of old French
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Post by Great Plum »

Mrs C. wrote:Rumour has it that the common language will be Mandarin- (or possibly Cantonese - I get confused!) or even Japanese.
I find this interesting that people think that Chinese will become the world's langage...

Granted, whilst there are 1.3 (or so) billion Chinese, there are hundreds of thousands of different languages that come from that country!

Also, Chinese languages are largely confined to China (excepting the China towns etc throughout the world) whereas English is already spoken widely throughout the world...
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Post by Mrs C. »

I agree Matt, - but why are so many schools beginning to introduce Chinese, at the expense of Euorpean languages?
If the Chinese themselves don`t understand each other`s dialects/languages, what chance do we have?
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Post by englishangel »

Isn't the new head a fan of Chinese?
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Post by Euterpe13 »

Mrs C. wrote:I agree Matt, - but why are so many schools beginning to introduce Chinese, at the expense of Euorpean languages?
If the Chinese themselves don`t understand each other`s dialects/languages, what chance do we have?
There are indeed multiple regional dialects, however in China they use "standard mandarin" which is referred to a Putonghua - a bit like the old BBC english, and everyone seems to understand this.
I tried learning chinese - it's mind-bending, and I bow to anyone who has mastered it...
On the subject of multilinguisim - I recall a dealership negotation where I was speaking with 2 partners of a business in Kiev - she spoke ukrainian and german, but no english - he spoke ukrainian and english, but no german - I spoke english and german but no ukrainian .... so I had to say everything twice in both languages .... it was a very very long meeting...
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Post by Mrs C. »

englishangel wrote:Isn't the new head a fan of Chinese?
so it`s been rumoured
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Post by Great Plum »

Mrs C. wrote:I agree Matt, - but why are so many schools beginning to introduce Chinese, at the expense of Euorpean languages?
If the Chinese themselves don`t understand each other`s dialects/languages, what chance do we have?
I think it is because it's the latest fad that a head of the HMC can join onto - rather like the inclusion of IB to a number of high profile schools a few years ago...
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Post by sejintenej »

Euterpe13 wrote:
Mrs C. wrote:I agree Matt, - but why are so many schools beginning to introduce Chinese, at the expense of Euorpean languages?
If the Chinese themselves don`t understand each other`s dialects/languages, what chance do we have?
There are indeed multiple regional dialects, however in China they use "standard mandarin" which is referred to a Putonghua - a bit like the old BBC english, and everyone seems to understand this.
I tried learning chinese - it's mind-bending, and I bow to anyone who has mastered it...
We had a mother and two daughters from South Africa staying with us for a few days; a distant relative of the mother living in Singapore invited them and us to dinner at Lee Ho Fook (no doubt Euterpe will be round there in due course - it's good). Daughter 1 spoke to the uncle in Chinese - I assume a Singapore dialect. Daughter 2 spoke to uncle and us in English since she didn't speak Chinese and couldn't converse with her mother at that time.

Uncle spoke to staff in dialect which neither daughter 1 nor mother understood. Mother couldn't speak to staff but she, staff and uncle conversed in Chinese writing! Daughter 1 couldn't write in Chinese.

Of course they were all full blooded Chinese with the mother and I assume the uncle being born in the country near Canton. Daughter 2 and Mrs s.i.n were at school together and even 50 years later they wear exactly the same colours and styles (without prior arrangement) whilst in a test daughter 2's own daughter couldn't tell apart the handwriting of her mother and my wife. At that time they hadn't seen each other for perhaps 20 years. Uncanny.
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Post by J.R. »

englishangel wrote: Isn't the new head a fan of Chinese?
......... Only when the Indian take-away is closed !! :roll:


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Post by Mark1 »

J.R. wrote:
englishangel wrote: Isn't the new head a fan of Chinese?
......... Only when the Indian take-away is closed !! :roll:


(Boom boom !)

Or when they're paying full fees...



Bad taste, I know... I apologise! :oops:

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Re: Languages, English and the EU: A call for opinions...

Post by matthew »

Mark1 wrote:I and a partner have been asked to propose the motion that English ought become the common language for the European Union for the next stage of one of the many interschool debating competitions (the regional round of the Mace, if that means anything) and doing the preparation has got me thinking as to the merits and grounds for and against such a statement. I figured that the forum might be a relatively good place to try to bounce ideas off people.
Since you're proposing the motion, you may as well define it in your favour. It would be rather silly to suggest that everybody in the EU should immediately switch to English for everything. For one thing, the French would never go for it, so you may as well argue that two and two should be five.

The idea of a single *official* language, for laws and official business, isn't nearly as absurd. It's almost plausible, at least in federalist fantasy, and it certainly has efficiency on its side.

Once you accept the idea of a single language, it does make sense to pick the one that most people speak already. Worldwide, English is almost certainly not the most understood language, but in Europe, it is. At this point, a former debating team-mate would have reached into the air and claimed that 88% of EU citizens already speak fluent or near-fluent English. I'd never dream of such a thing, but I imagine the real statistic is somewhere to be found.

Canada, for the record, has two official languages and the other one's French. In practice, that's the closest you'd get.
Last edited by matthew on Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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