What is the official language of the European Union?

Ceaser   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 02:13 GMT
I say to hell with English! English killed off everything, I being one of Scotlands few Native Gaidhlig speakers left, know the negative influence which English has had on the survival of our tongue! English unfortunately has been the language of power since the mid 1800's. If it wasn't for the English of the UK, Thailand, India, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, Hong Kong and South Africa would never of had English spoken.

In India, children are now encouraged to speak in English, and if you listen to Hindi or Punjabi radio, half of it is in English! I am scared of it. I never want to see it unless I absolutely have to! Picture it, Scotland has a population of well over nine or ten million people, and only ten thousand of us actually can speak Gaelic, and out of those ten thousand, fewer than five thousand speak Gaelic as their native tongue (I am one of those 5000). It is absolutely sick how English as killed or assimilated other languages and cultures! The Dutch now speak better English than the British do, which leads to people never needing to learn Dutch because English is spoken by all.

It is even sadder when British children are trying to push away from the Celtic tongues because they think they are useless, out of place, old fashioned and the Celtic speakers all speak English anyway, so they look at is as a lost and hopeless cause!

KILL off English, like it has killed off everything in its path!
Tapeadh leabh!
Damian   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 07:24 GMT

Your sentiments are fully understood......sadly a pipe dream....reality is something different. The English tide is unstoppable and playing King Canute is futile. I think that very fact makes the efforts of the Celtic fringe to uphold their native tongues and traditions in the face of all this even more laudable and praiseworthy.

I repeat my comments on Welsh.....it is very much a living language and it's a fact that in some parts of the Principality it is INCREASINGLY the first language of children. Check it out.

I agree that the Dutch are excellent English speakers and most do so better than the English themselves, as I discovered when I was on a short course at Leiden in 2003. Nevertheless, I don't think there is a cat in hell's chance of the Dutch language suffering because of this. It's quite a guttural language.

Tapeadh leabh!
Hwyl fawr!
selenium   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 15:12 GMT
it's a good thing we all learnt English cuz we would be in trouble to speak to each other on this forum ;)

soon or later languages will disappear and people will learn them like old greek or latin. pessimistic yet realistic vision!
Ryan   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 16:53 GMT
Countries where people are learning English as a native language now and not their historical heritage language are killing off their own languages by their own doing. Don't blame those countries that have always spoken English as a first language. If you had a little more pride, you'd stick to your own language and not be so concerned with trying to fit in with the Americans and the English.
utcha   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 21:44 GMT
We'll no more speak english in 2050. Remember latin, spanish and french. All the empires fade and USA won't escape. As Anthony Quinn said to Peter O'Toole: "It is the law, 'Aurence".

Guess which language we'll have ta speak...
Damian   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 21:50 GMT
Damian   Thursday, July 22, 2004, 21:53 GMT

My mum takes you with a glass of water every morning...you sem palatable enough
Ceaser   Friday, July 23, 2004, 14:25 GMT
Well, interestin points made. I know that I have a pipe dream, but I am still doing everything in my power to keep Gaelic a living tongue. I help promote it on BBC. I, a student, now actually have a small position working for BBC Alba and Raidio Nan Gaidheal! Utcha - Latin won't be spoken in fifty years. It will be Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Japanese, English and Russian. I am already fluent in Japanese (I went to school in Japan for five years) so I am technically trilingual in Japanese, English and Gaelic (what a mix!). I have learned how to face English, but I still am more drawn away from it. I used to live in Vancouver Canada where my Dad is from, and as a student there, I actaully was an assistant writer for the local Japanese newspaper. We must face it, even though I originally brought latin up, it has gone the way of the Dinosours. It is like saying that Sanskrit will become the official tongue of India! Ha! funny! In the modern world, I see it to be best to learn and become bi-lingual in an Asian language. Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Thai, Korean etc.
QBpheak   Friday, July 23, 2004, 21:17 GMT
Bhi mé ag scriobh anseo cúpla oiche ó shin, agus bhi daoine anseo a labhraionn gaeilge, má tá aon duine anseo a labhraionn gaeilge nó a cló bhualann i nGaeilge, an féidir libh an céist seo a freagairt...

Conás? an féidir leat "I" Fáda a clóbhualla ar Microsoft Windows XP?
gan a bhaint úsáid as an sli ALT+Uimh. már ni oibrionn sé dom ar mo laptop.

Má thogann tú faoi deireadh, nil aon i fáda agam sa phoist seo!
Cur mé céist ar microsoft agus dúirt siad "bhuel, emm... nil a fhois agam.. " srl.

go raibh mile.
Qbphreak   Friday, July 23, 2004, 21:27 GMT
Ceaser: Your Right, We Wont Be speaking Latin, And Japanese, Chinese and russian etc. are deffently possibilities, afterall Chiniese is the most spoken language on this world (my population)
i supose most of us are fortunate enough to be able to learn more then one language, as a standard, i belive in the UK, they are thining of removing "extra" languages like french and german etc. from there education system. they are freakin MAD! they should be atleast learning another language other then english! im only 16, nd already i speak 3 (gaeilge, English, French) fluently and im "ify" on 2 of them (german, spanish)! and as a result of learning more then one language since 5 yrs of age, leaves me curios about other languages, im already planning on learning russian and possibly japanese, and because of the way ive been learning languages im able to pick up languages pritty easy.
Just Imagine, in 20 yrs or less, a country that used to be one of the largest empires in the world, its population only speaks one language, English (badly at that :p) and the population is unable to learn more languages easly.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Friday, July 23, 2004, 22:46 GMT
Russian has lost a lot of its influence after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Despite the importance of Japan, I don't think Japanese will ever become one of the dominant languages of the world. Similarly, Hindi will be confined to India and Chinese to China. It is far more likely that speakers of these languages will learn the other dominant languages than vice versa.

My choices for the dominant languages for this century: English and Spanish.
garans   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 13:04 GMT
I dont think that it is possible to be really fluent in any tongue but your mother tongue and the tongue of the country where you live.

I studied English more than 13 years from 38 y.o. living in Russia. Only 3 years were really profitable, when I studied reading. I had learned a good vocabulary and it was enough to read without a dictionary.

But listening and speaking without an heavy accent is too difficult when living in a country of another language.
I still can not get much stuff in movies where people speak emotionally and change their stile. Only cartoons and junior movies are more or less easy.

The same goes about songs. In fact every song have some places where singers are not clear and I can not guess. Native speakers mostly can guess, but not always.

Then, for me is clear that an educated man can know some languages and be good in reading/writing but it is higly questionable to be fluent in any spoken language.

Then I'd choose English with clear pronunciation as a common language though kept in mind that it is a second/international language and it should not compete with a mother tongue.

Speaking of Dutch, I think that 95% of people there speak just clear and basic English. They understand fluent English because it is close to Dutch, but some people in the North can not speak English and know German better than English.
Ceaser   Saturday, July 24, 2004, 18:10 GMT
Dear Qbphreak ,

I, like you, am a student. I am one of Scotlands high school students on the Isle of Skye. I am one of Scotlands suriving native Gaidhlig speakers left. When you and a mand named Cristoir write in Gaelige, I almost all of it. Irish, believe it or not, is the closest language to Scottish Gaelic. Gaelige speakers who listen to BBC Alba's Radio nan Gaidheal , understand and sometimes even phone in and communitcate with us in Irish. How have you been able to become so fluent in Irish? Do you attend an Irish Medium School, or do you listen to RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta? Do you live possibly on a Gaeltacht? I am sorry for my rather punchy curiosity, but, it is just hard to think how one can become fluent in a language which is restircted to Ireland's westcoast. It is the same in Scotland, my languge seems to be resitricted to the Isle's (Lewis agus Skye), and the northern Highlands (Gadhieltachta). Few English speakers of Scotland have become fluent in Gaelic of they grew up in the city. The only logical reason to their fluency is Scotland's new Gaelic Medium Education.

Please write back,
Tapeadh leabh, Go raibh maith agut,
Ceaser - Spelling Error   Sunday, July 25, 2004, 00:19 GMT
gaidhealtachd*** agus chan Gadhieltachta! I was thinking in Gaelige, not Gaidhlig
Easterner   Sunday, July 25, 2004, 08:51 GMT
Hi everybody. First let me introduce myself: I'm writing from Hungary and would like to represent the Eastern part of the EU in this discussion :-). Originally I'm an ethnic Hungarian from the Voivodina province in Northern Serbia, and fluent in Hungarian, Serbian and English (trying to achieve the same fluency in French and German).

Just to throw in a penny with the original topic: I think that with the accession of the new EU countries, the influence of German may become stronger, at least in informal communication. Three of the countries were originally part of Austria-Hungary, and were using German as a lingua franca for centuries. They still maintain strong links with Germany and Austria, even if nowadays English is the most widely learnt foreign language here (at least in Hungary). A lot depends on which of the two will gain the upper hand in Poland, where there is still a lot of anti-German sentiment, and in the Baltic states. Personally I think that this language is represantative of much of the European cultural heritage: the Bible of Luther, the passions and the chorals of Bach, the poems of Hölderlin, Heine, Rilke (my favourite) and many others... From these works it is evident that it can have a peculiar beauty. I would be glad to see it as a counterbalance to English, side by side with French.

Finally a few words about the dominance of English. I think it has done nothing else than gone the way of Latin, as while alive the language of Caesar and Augustus also did a lot to displace a lot of other languages of the Roman Empire: Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian, Gaulish, Illyric, Thracian, etc. However, it was also transformed in the process, as English is also developing regional varieties. It's true, the influence of English is more prominent due to its presence in the media. And I think the best way to fight its dominance is to become consciously multilingual. Everyone in Europe should be fluent at least two more European languages, plus be at least familiar with the basics of a minority language. I am personally very much interested in Occitan, Catalan and Welsh (also Irish Gaelic, but I feel I could only learn it by using it on the spot, which I cannot afford at the moment).