Communicating across borders
You are not attending a language beauty contest! Negotiators and scientists and many others use English as their working language when communicating across borders. This certainly goes for the Danes. Many Danes hate the Danish sound when they and others speak English. Will we be relieved of that burden if the UK leaves the EU?
English and French are the primary working languages in the EU. Translation agencies, interpreters and language teachers are naturally keenly aware of this. Over the years, many EU citizens have expressed concern over the smaller languages falling into oblivion. English and French are the dominant languages at the expense of millions of Spanish, Italian and Polish-speaking people.
Many negotiators feel that the Brits have the upper hand if the negotiation language is English. But what if they are no longer there? True, the Irish will still be more fluent in English than most of their fellow EU members. But still...
At GlobalDenmark we believe that using one’s mother tongue in a multilingual and multicultural environment is not necessarily an advantage. See our blog from 2 May. The challenge is not attending a language beauty contest, but ensuring that all parties involved understand each other. Culture and attitude are as important as language skills.
Most polls anticipate a Brexit in a few hours. Nobody can tell with much certainty what consequences this will have. Except, perhaps, that it will not be pretty. Will the English language gain more credibility in the EU if the UK leaves the family? Hm… let’s return to this subject in a few years’ time.