9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN18 Sociology of Communications and Media Research

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Europeanizing Globalizations I Building AA, AA.325

Euro-English: Problems and Ways Out

In this paper I?ll talk about the English variant, so-called Euro-English. Linguists are usually tolerant about the way languages change and develop. They accept both all types of regional accents and accept and even celebrate all variants in written language. The differences between them lie in the fact that when speaking you can see immediately if your listener doesn?t understand and re-phrase your statement or adjust your accent immediately; when writing, you can?t get that instant feedback. We should observe some rules ?to stay anchored in the reality of a real language?.
?Euro-English? is a label sometimes given nowadays to the kind of English being used by French, Greek, Italians, etc. in the European Union, especially belonging to the professional elite who prepare papers in English and for whom English is a foreign language. These papers are often full of Eurojargon and bad English.
There are some reasons of this problem:
- Preparatory work is usually done by non-native speakers and because of interference in vocabulary and syntax words are often misused and their real meaning is lost.
- English has taken over from French as the main language used for communication inside the EU institutions.
- English grammar has not been taught in British schools for the past forty years, so most native speakers can?t explain grammar rules to their non-native colleagues.
- Specialized language, or jargon, aids communication between specialists. But if it spills over into the wrong context, it is irritating and sounds ridiculous.

There is a simple cure for this disease called Eurospeak. Let people speak it in the interests of cooperation and internal communication with each other. But encourage them not to write it, if they want outsiders to get the message. Such a language is not good for the outside world. Prevent jargon spilling over into general writing; resist the tendency to be pompous; retain overall responsibility for the structure and logic of a document; allow enough time for drafting, translation and editing by outside consultants.