Thursday 18 March 2010

English is great. J'adore le français. Deutsch ist toll. So what?

This is an answer to Jean Quatremer who titled "L'Union dont "l'espéranto" est l'anglais" ('The Union whose Esperanto is English').

First: Take a look at Germany's song for the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo. We don't have a problem sending someone* who doesn't sing in our own language. If we like the person. And the music.

Second: Below you see the current number one of the German music charts, a Belgian singing in French. Germans don't mind buying French music. If they like the person. And the music.

Third, we can celebrate the opening of the European Capital of Culture of Essen with a German song sang by a great German star. We don't mind listening to German music. If we like the person. And the music.

What I want to say: You can give easy answers to difficult questions. But why not being pragmatic and using the languages that we want to use to communicate, depending on the occasion, our abilities, our means, our moods, on our counterparts?

Just because English is the easiest and most pragmatic choice in many European situations, we won't forget that English is not everything.

* By the way: The grandfather of Lena Meyer-Landrut, the German Eurovision representative in Oslo, was a German ambassador to the Soviet Union. He studied Slavonic philology.


Jimena Gomez de la Flor said...

I can't agree more! In this globalized world what I don't what to do is NOT TO COMMUNICATE, so I will use all the possible tools around me, and of course choose the easier and more useful depending on the situation. If the 'easy english' talked in the institutions is the way to exchange ideas and enhance cooperation with all 27 countries (and beyond)...pourquoi pas?? Perché no? Loado sea!!

pistike65 said...

Sure, easy English is a good tool for communication, as are all human languages. But the problems begin when English encroaches on other languages' domains (causing domain loss) and hinders people's right to understand. I am a translator, mainly into Hungarian. Often, when I consult an expert on how to render this or that expression, the answer is: "Oh, we only use that in English". How should a non-specialist Hungarian reader then get the message? That is a fast track lane for a language to sink into oblivion.
Therefore, I'm all for multilingualism, AND Esperanto, AND easy English... The more solutions the better; it could only create more jobs in the language industry...
István Ertl