nic said: >>What's neutral, there is nothing neutral<<
"Neutral" in the sense: "the least likely to have negative bias attached to it". Of course there's a lot of positive bias attached to English. :-)
What is negative to use english as an international language? It doesn't mean you must forget your own language of course and luckily. Is it becaause you speak english more and more, you will use it in family, with your childrens? No, of course not and it won't never be like that. So there is no reason to be afraid of, don't you think?
I understand why some people are hungry, but on the other way we have a good example right here on Antimoon Forum. As a french i can exchange some ideas with some people form east Europe like you (i suppose) or with americans.... The only thing which is disturbing is the fact that when i use english i cannot express totally what i feel like i could do in french. I guess it must be the same for you? You are hungarian if i understood well. So if you are hungarian, most of your ancestors spoke german in the empire, didn't they? I am not quite sure, but i know for sure that most of slovenians spoke german during the empire.
I think I must be very vague, because you seem to draw the opposite conclusion all the time (no offence though, small misunderstandings happen all the time, even in a common language) ;-). I guess there would be some resistance or at least resentment if someone pushed for the exclusive use of German or French in the EU, because some people have a negative bias towards one or both of these languages - I sense that even on this forum. On the other hand, many people are happy to use English without anyone pushing them to do so, this is what I meant by "positive bias" - they favour it over other possible second languages.
As for Hungarians speaking German - well, that's a long story, and the history of Hungary is in many ways a history of the love-and-hate relationship between the ruling Habsburgs and the Hungarian aristocracy. For example, the emperor Franz Josef supressed the anti-Habsburg revolution in 1849, but this same emperor was hailed as the common ruler of Austria and Hungary a few decades later. Anybody in their right mind could understand that? I guess this is why the eastern part of Europe is still much of a riddle to the West. But yes, there are quite a lot of people in Hungary with a German ancestry, as well as with a Slovak, a Croatian, or a Serbian one, because these nationalities shared a common history for centuries. Besides Magyars (this is how we call ourselves), nearly half of the population was composed of people of at least 7 other ethnicities at the 1910 census.
I have just found the article below, it has a lot to do with the recent discussion going on here:
So there are some people who are actually pushing for German as the offical language of the EU. The outcome, however, remains to be seen...
That was interesting to read. It looks as if there lay be some wrangling over language use inside the expanding EU. I know that German has widespread use in many parts of Europe. When I went with a school party to Romania to see an eclipse of the sun in 1999 there was a distinct age related divide in the second language issue. The younger people (say 30 and under) were only interested in English; for older people who did have a second language after Romanian, then it seemed to be German.
While I mention Romania it was a beautiful country but going there was one huge culture shock.
Maybe any language problem in the EU could be sorted out by democratic means, like having a series of referendums (referenda?) in which the people in all consituent countries can vote for the "official" language of their choice after they had nominated favoured languages. This could be done on a sort of PR system, whitting the nominations down to the last two with the largest number of votes. Then the final vote will decide the issue and whichever language wins becomes the EU Official Lingo! No hard feelings then....democracy wins through. Would that be practical?
Damian said: >>Then the final vote will decide the issue and whichever language wins becomes the EU Official Lingo! No hard feelings then....democracy wins through. Would that be practical?<<
Surely it would, but somebody could take care there are equal chances... I mean the lobby for English may be way too strong... ;-)
<<the lobby for English may be way too strong... ;-)>>
But, Easterner, precisely who would be doing all the lobbying?
This isn't Florida, you know...this is Europe and everything will be done democratically and above board, would it not? English would and should not be given any unfair advantage!
Anyway, it's 23:30 here now and I've had a hellish busy day so I'm off to bed early for a change. Goodnight.
You're right, I got to the wrong topic, this one is not about presidential elections in the US. :-)
By the way, I guess on the long run there's bound to be a referendum on the official language of the EU at some point of time. It may grow into a problem of almost equal weight as that of the EU constitution. The UN can do quite well with six official languages, so I guess the EU could do with three. Though I still have a vague feeling theat most people would embrace English, except for perhaps the Germans or South Europeans, including a number of French people. Of course it goes without saying that each country would translate every document into its own language, but on the EU level three official languages would be more than enough.
I'm not sure, but I think they predict that we could join the EU in 2011 or something.
I have been in Hungary and almost no one could speak English, but a lot of people spoke German.
Sanja said: >>I have been in Hungary and almost no one could speak English, but a lot of people spoke German.<<
Your observation is not unique. In Hungary, the situation is a little better in Budapest and some bigger towns, but in the countryside you are likely to have communication problems as a foreigner. The worst thing I encountered, though, was that ticket office clerks at the central railway station in Budapest did not speak any foreign language, so I've had to help a customer out more trhan once. German is traditionally the No. 1 foreign language here, espeially for older people, partly because many people have German ancestry. I expect that more people will settle on English in the future, but there's still a lot to be learnt for that to happen.
I have been to Austria, of course when i had to spoke to some people i ,knew i could not do it in french so, i used english. They answered to me in german. A language i don't know anything about.
The problem is, we expect the people to speak english, but it cannot be a common rule, a french who's 50, 60 ... years old do not generally speak english. It must the same in many countries like Portugal for example
In Eastern Europe Russian is widely spoken
You will join it not when you're ready, but when they decide you're ready. It's politics.