Thursday, October 7, 2010
Why push for a common EU language?
If any language should dominate Europe in the future, will do it gradually, naturally and because people will chose it to be the "lingua franca."
And this language already exists; it is English. I do not see why we need to start teaching a manufactured language to our children from scrap.
It will take lots of money to train and educate enough teachers to speak the language perfectly, so that they will be able to teach the millions of young Europeans. Never mind the millions of euros needed to spent printing books for every school across the EU.
This could be a waste of money, especially now that there is an economic crisis in our continent. It would be preferable to see this money being spent in supporting other projects like the Erasmus, that are far more important.
Even if we do agree on Esperanto being our common future language we must start doing it now, as soon as possible so it can establish itself with the future generations. But there is just no will in the current economic climate, or the capability for something like that for the foreseeable future. Until then, more and more people across Europe will speak English and it will be far more difficult for Esperanto to take over.
But why it would be a good idea to have a common European language? Well firstly we must make it clear that we are not speaking of a replacement of our national languages, rather the establishment of a second official pan-European language.
Most Europeans would be against the replacement of our national languages by a single one. My native language is Greek,a language that survived for thousands of years and I do not see why we should abandon it now. The same sentiments have most people of Europe.
We could have though, a second official language in our continent. Either that is English (that it would make sense, since most of us communicate in English) or any other existing European language like French or German, if the British decide to withdraw from the EU.
A second official language that will exist in all member states and will allow even more free movement in people, goods and services. I would love for example to move to Finland, but since I do not speak Finnish it is difficult. There would be very few companies and job opportunities there that would employ me without me speaking the native language.
If there was a second official language,people could move to any European country more easily without having to learn the national language beforehand. That would be of course a temporary situation to help people in their new beginnings. But they would be obliged to learn the native language after they moved and decided to stay for good in that country.
In the beginning they could find employment in all available jobs apart from state and government posts, the army,police, public sector position and as high ranked executives. Once they learned the native language,they could be employed everywhere and have equal employment rights.
And that so that they will be motivated to learn the native language, if they want to have a better future and become fully integrated in their adopted country. We must value the diversity of European languages and wish it to remain so. But having so many languages across Europe, though it enriches our collective heritage it also makes it more difficult for people to move around.
By living and working in a number or other countries, European people not only will be learning more languages and coming in contact with other European people and cultures. They will also gather more working experience like new skills, new way of thinking and doing business. In that way we will create a multilingual, diverse and highly skilled European workforce but also a more "European" populace.
Both Europeans but also immigrants in Europe will be able to find employment across Europe, and companies will find it easier to establish themselves in another country and attract workers to employ. Immigrant workers won't be bound to a few countries, jobs or cities that can find employment by using old colonial languages only. When the language borders will break,then the borders of Europe will truly collapse.