The progressive enlargement of the European Union brings about many questions, among which linguistic diversity deserves to be explored. In light of the changes brought about by globalization and the resulting emergence of a so-called "global" language, the relevance of cultural identity is now being questioned in a context of liberalization of exchanges to maximize economic benefit. How is the European Union to integrate all of these tendencies into a model it can subsequently defend in front of its civil servants, in front of the world and more importantly, in front of its increasing number of citizens?
1. International Linguistic Tendencies
English is quickly becoming the common denominator among populations of various origins. This part will seek to explain how the global linguistic system is structured to then both quantify and justify the increasing use of English in International as well as Economic Relations.
The links existing among the world's languages can be imagined as part of a gravitational model within which concentric levels of languages form around one hyper-central language . This language is then linked to a dozen super-central languages through bilingual systems. These languages in turn are linked to approximately two hundred central languages, who themselves are the pivots of thousands of peripheral languages. In the current global context, English seems to be the main language around which the world's other main languages (French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, etc.) center. French could then be considered the pivot of such languages as Corsican, Canadian, and Creole, each of which presents itself in a series of dialects.
[...] Language needs in business, a survey of European multinational companies. Groupe HEC Calvet, Louis-Jean. L'usage des langues dans les relations internationales. Questions internationales, mai-juin 2003, p. 100-106. Ginsburgh, Victor; Weber, Shlomo. Language Disenfranchisement in the European Union. Journal of Common Market Studies, (2005-06) vol p. 273-286. Heusse, Marie-Pascale. Le multilinguisme ou le défi caché de l'Union européenne. Revue du Marché commun et de l'Union européenne, n°426, mars 1999, p. 202-207. Yasue, Noriko. Le multilinguisme dans l'Union européenne et la politique linguistique des États membres. [...]
[...] For this reason, a trilingual system still seems like the most realistic approach, especially in view of the fact that most of the work that is accomplished within the walls of the European Union already takes place in one of these three languages. In order to make this option more workable, a system could be envisaged under which the countries whose languages are represented would be required to pay taxes in order to fund the translation to the Union's other official languages, at the discretion of the remaining countries. [...]
[...] However, when a second or third language other than English is required, the expected level is often very high Languages and European Integration One of the major obstacles to economic integration in the EU is the multilingual face of the continent, which also disadvantages Europe in relation with the United States, where almost all citizens share a common language. If Europe wants to remain competitive on the long term despite successive enlargements, it must find a way to deal with its linguistic diversity without annihilating it completely. [...]
[...] Most of these languages are not recognized as official languages within the countries where they are spoken and consequently cannot obtain recognition within the European Union Free Trade vs. Cultural Identity One of the first requirements of economic integration is the free flow of merchandise across borders. However, according to language policy in the European Union, each State is allowed to undertake measures to protect its culture and language. These measures often run counter to integration by restraining the free flow of merchandise and human capital across borders, which is a significant impediment to the European economy when compared with the United States, where the 50 states share a single language. [...]
[...] The percentage of English speakers in the enlarged Union has but barely diminished Multilingualism in European Institutions One of the first places where the EU has to deal with the challenges of multilingualism is within its own institutions. Most Europeans agree that although it poses very real difficulties, linguistic diversity is part of what makes Europe so culturally rich and should be preserved. A quick overview of the language agreement will lead to an examination of the current crisis of the linguistic system in terms of costs and complexity. [...]
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