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EU online consultation on multilingualism
Thread poster: Christine Schmit
Christine Schmit  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
German to French
+ ...
Oct 2, 2007

Dear colleages,

The European Union is currently holding an online consultation on multilingualism:
http://ec.europa.eu/education/multiling/introduction.cfm?CFID=91687&CFTOKEN=10912604&jsessionid=1e30c1d6a11071965773&lang=EN

Christine


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:08
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for the information Oct 2, 2007



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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:08
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
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An ambitious opinion poll Oct 3, 2007

Thanks Christine for posting this.

I did the poll myself. And frankly speaking, it is very well thought. It focus on at least two main aspects:
1) already official languages and how to deal with them,
2) the reality of immigration with all its complexity facing the future.

Now that the EU is re-thinking its functions and how and whether to further expand, languages are always top of the list.

For good or bad, the truth is: the EU is a wonderful showcase for the world, of how far the countries can (or could eventually) integrate, share common interests, negotiate, trade... And the natural vehicle for all this, is a working language diversity.

I don't know if the intention of Christine by posting this was just to let us know about this interesting consultation, or if you would like to start a debate on multilingualism.

Please, Chistine, let us know... We'll follow you!


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Christine Schmit  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
multilingualism Oct 3, 2007

Fabio Descalzi Sgarbi wrote:

I don't know if the intention of Christine by posting this was just to let us know about this interesting consultation, or if you would like to start a debate on multilingualism.



Hi Fabio,

Well, my first intention was to let everybody know about the consultation and get people to participate in it (if translators don't have anything to say about multilingualism, who has?!)

I thought the poll was quite well thought out too, the EU seems to be asking the right questions. I personnally think that the official multilingualism is one of the EU's strenghts. Your language is part of your identity, therefore respecting everybody's language is key to building a real community.

I live in Luxembourg and I think that there are few places in the world where you can experience multilingualism like in this country. A few days ago, I took the bus from Luxembourg City to my home town, one of the bus stops is close to the European school and classes were just over, so a lot of kids entered the bus. I heard so many different languages spoken, that bus resembled the tower of Babel!

As a native Luxembourgish speaker, I sometimes feel that it is a pity Luxembourgish is not an official language of the EU. It would not be feasible, it would be even harder to find translators than for Maltese, but still, it would be really nice to have at least some important things translated into Luxembourgish, as well as other minority languages.

Christine


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:08
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I live with a monolingual model Oct 3, 2007

Christine Schmit wrote:

I live in Luxembourg and I think that there are few places in the world where you can experience multilingualism like in this country. A few days ago, I took the bus from Luxembourg City to my home town, one of the bus stops is close to the European school and classes were just over, so a lot of kids entered the bus. I heard so many different languages spoken, that bus resembled the tower of Babel!


and it's amazing how much lowbrow television humour is poked at the area of multilingualism, to the detriment of earnest learners. There's a program, for instance, that screens clips of respected statesmen "dubbed" with the producers' own agendas, apparently in a spirit of fun, but which often enough oversteps the boundaries of decency and respect. You know, because you're listening to the original and can see how far off the mark the voice-over strays, but I've always felt that such presentations foster the complacency with which majority-language speakers can tend to view people who do not use their own language on certain occasions -- even though it's been proven or is on the record that they could use that language.

This has an impact on the education of kids (ridicule, discouragement), who would be otherwise unprejudiced or less inhibited about the issue of multilingualism in a greater Europe. And forgive me for saying so, but if such attitudes persist, Spain's going to continue to be at the bottom of the heap in language acquisition.


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