“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” Goethe
After Brexit, there are various things that might change in the EU and one of them is language. Language will always be an essential issue as it represents culture and identity of a country. English is considered as one of the most widely spoken language in the world as it is been communicated in every country of the world. It is said that France has lost its battle to promote French globally and German President is arguing to make an English-speaking Europe.
The five most widely spoken foreign languages include English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese among which English tops the list. Studies show that people in Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Malta, Slovenia and Lithuania and Sweden are able to speak at least one language in addition to their mother tongue. This increases the possibility of learning English as an important subject in many schools in Europe. Currently, almost all schools in Europe are teaching English as a compulsory subject.
English dominates among the three working languages of the EU. Apart from French and German, English is one such language that is commonly used in EU. This could be the result of the various enlargements the bloc has undergone. Most of the countries have agreed to the bloc and use English as their second language. But despite this, it is unlikely to scrap English as it is also the official language of Ireland and Malta which remains to be a member of EU.
Image Courtesy: Peter Schrank and The Economist
English is one of the most popular foreign languages in all five European countries. Whilst there are 24 official languages in the EU, studies suggest that almost 40% of Europeans speak English as a foreign language (excluding the 13% that speak it as a mother tongue). This accounts up to four times as many foreign language speakers and is the next popular language in Europe, French and German. Given this, English is only growing increasingly more dominant, not just in Europe but around the world. This could be one strong reason for making English as the dominant language of Europe. Not only EU but also in Asia English is the language of trade and commerce. In India many companies requires quality translation services in Bangalore which is very important for the business.
As per the official EU language policy, it gives multilingualism equal rights for all the languages used in member states. It recommends that every European citizen should master two other languages in addition to their mother tongue.
The preponderance of English has been there since the beginning. Being this as a universal language, and popularly spoken by the members of EU has contributed to this major change in the education system. Historically, the expansion of the British empire, the impact of the Industrial Revolution, and the emergence of the US as a world power have embedded English in the language repertoire of speakers across the globe.
Any changes to the EU’s language regime would definitely come with huge added costs. This includes the 1% translation cost to the annual budget. Adding a different working language or altering the language combinations would result in additional recruitment and will take years to organize. For now only time will tell the linguistic future of Europe because diversity is one of the biggest thing offered by Europe. In India, Translation services in Bangalore would also be affected with this change.