Conference on United Europe and its languagesCollege of Europe, Warsaw, 8 May 2005 If language policy issues are explosive, how should they best be handled? Robert Phillipson Faculty of Languages, Communication, and Cultural Studies Copenhagen Business School www.cbs.dk/staff/phillipson, email@example.com
”Un sujet qui peut être qualifié d’explosif en Europe” Pierre Lequiller, Président, réunion ouverte à l’ensemble des membres français du Parlement Européen, le 11 juin 2003, pour debattre le Rapport sur la diversité linguistique au sein de l’Union européenne, préparé par Michel Herbillon, auprès de la Délégation pour l’Union Européenne.
”No more emotional topic in the EU than the language issue” Es gibt in der EU kein emotionaleres Thema als Sprachen. Wilhelm Schönfelder, Head of Mission for Germany at the EU, cited in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1 April 2005
Fluidity in language policy in Europe • unresolved tension between linguistic nationalism (monolingualism) and EU institutional multilingualism • competing agendas at the European, state (national), and sub-statal levels • increase of grassroots and elite bilingualism • largely uncritical adoption of englishisation, lingua economica/americana • rhetoric of language rights, some national and supranational implementation, and advocacy of linguistic diversity.
One Europe? One language? Spanish Foreign Secretary, Ana Palacio, El País, 16 December 2002 “The motto ‘One Europe’, solely in English, requires a reflection. Even though Copenhagen did not face the question of languages, this is one of the pending subjects that sooner rather than later must be debated for the very survival and viability of this project of Europe with a world vocation. Within it, Spanish, one of the official UN languages, spoken by more than 400 million people in more than 20 countries, must take on the place it is entitled to.”
Linguistic unification of Europe? The most serious problem for the European Union that it has so many languages, this preventing real integration and development of the Union. USA ambassador to Denmark, Mr Elton, 1997 English should be the sole official language of the European Union Director, British Council, Germany, 26 February 2002, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Newsweek interviewer, 31 May 2004: A unified Europe in which English, as it turns out, is the universal language? Romano Prodi: It will be broken English, but it will be English.
Necessary (?) services • Prior to enlargement the cost of all the EU languages services was roughly 2 euros per citizen per year. DG Press and Communication, EU Commission, July 2004 • Eurotexts are distancing themselves from the national languages. (Koskinen, Tosi) • Danish and Swedish may disappear as languages of interpretation within a decade. • ’Bad’ English is a major problem for translators and interpreters. • Three languages at weekly press conferences.
European linguistic apartheid? European citizenship, within the limits of the currently existing union, is not conceived as a recognition of the rights and contributions of all the communities present upon European soil, but as a postcolonial isolation of ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ populations … a true European apartheid, advancing concurrently with the formal institutions of European citizenship and, in the long term, constituting an essential element of the blockage of European unification as a democratic construction. Étienne Balibar 2004
Political ethics … in the field of linguistic rights, like in other fields of human rights, there is no right but only … politics. Yves Marek, counsellor to Jacques Toubon, Minister of Culture and Francophonie, and later of Justice, 1996
Europe is multilingual English, in fact, is not and will not be the “language of Europe”. Etienne Balibar, We, the people of Europe, Reflections on transnational citizenship, Princeton University Press, 2004, 177 Translation is the ‘idiom of Europe’ Steiner, Eco, Balibar, Bauman
National rights or human rights? Two to three hundred years ago, … Europe invented nations. Now the point is to invent humanity. Zygmunt Bauman Europe, An unfinished adventure Polity Press, 2004, 33
EU policies for ‘Europe 2010:A partnership for European renewal’ Europe of freedom • Knowledge economy • European education and research area • European public space • European Justice Space Europe as polysemic: toponym, politonym, ethnonym, econonym, or linguonym?
Factors accounting for paralysis in language policy formation (1) • different cosmologies in national linguistic cultures • confusions of terminology (e.g. lingua franca, working language) • comparative advantage in the European linguistic market favours English • hierarchisation of national and international languages
Factors accounting for paralysis in language policy formation (2) • linguistic human rights a recent development in international law • criteria for guiding supranational language policy need elaboration • alternatives to market forces and linguistic nationalism (e.g. Esperanto) are unexplored • journalistic coverage of language policy is uninformed and often false.
Lettre à Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Convention Européenne, le 5 juin 2002 • un domaine fondamental de la culture et de l’identité des peuples a été passé sous silence par les autorités politiques, celuides langues. • Ce terrain abandonné a été investi par les commissaires et les fonctionnaires de la Commission, ou des autres institutions, pour imposer un choix linguistique, sans souci de l’avis des citoyens et de leurs représentants. Ce choix se porte d’une manière évidente sur l’anglais, langue unique de l’Europe.
Lettre à Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Convention Européenne, le 5 juin 2002 Le droit de Comprendre Groupement d’associations pour l’action: • Avenir de la langue française • Association pour la sauvegarde et l’expansion de la langue française • Défense de la langue française • Résistance à l’agression publicitaire
Draft Constitutional Treaty • Proclaims the value of linguistic and cultural diversity. • Weak on language rights. • Permits some types of communcation in national official non-EU languages. • Allows the European Council a free hand to change Regulation 1 (the EU’s ’Language Charter’).
European Englishpost-national? John Simpson, chief editor, Oxford English Dictionary, 2005 In international activities his English is ’more difficult to understand than the English of my continental colleagues, simply because this is a functional language for communication between second-language users, and my variety is a functional language for communication between native speakers.’
comparative advantage in the European linguistic market • mythologies of the languages of ”great” cultures counteract equality in international communication • corporate globalisation, e-learning, current foreign language learning practices, distance education et al strengthen English • pecking-order of languages in EU affairs, job advertisements, websites, translations
EU CommissionPromoting language learning and linguistic diversity: An Action Plan 2004-2006, 24 July 2003 • learning one lingua franca alone is not enough • English alone is not enough • In non-anglophone countries recent trends to provide teaching in English may have unforeseen consequences on the vitality of the national language.
EU CommissionPromoting language learning and linguistic diversity: An Action Plan 2004-2006, 24 July 2003 The range of languages for learning: • the smaller languages as well as the larger ones • regional, minority and migrant languages as well as those with ’national’ status, and • the languages of our major trading partners throughout the world.
Linguistic human rights a recent development in international law • European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages • Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities • Right to education through the medium of the mother tongue is weak in UN covenants, but is increasingly recognized in UNESCO, the Hague Recommendations of the OSCE • Council of Europe and DG Education and Culture advocate the strengthening of all languages, including immigrant languages
Obstacles to supranational language policy • poor infrastructure nationally and supranationally • weak infrastructure in research • international coordination among national language bodies is in its infancy (but Nordic and Dutch initiatives are promising) • EU translation and interpretation services are impressive in many respects, but subject to an economic rationale, see themselves as a service function rather than policy-making, and are detached from international research
Experience thus far:is this how ”Union” works? Colloque sur le multilinguisme dans les Institutions Européennes et en Europe, 27-28 January 2003. Organised by • 1) the Commission (General Secretariat), with the participation of the linguistic services of the Parliament, • 2) Observatoire international de la langue française (produced a report on 1 August!) • 3) Consortium des Instituts Culturels Européens en Belgique. Are bomb producers to undertake peace work?
Towards longer termlanguage policy formation? • European agency for Linguistic Diversity and Language Learning (Yellow Window Management Consultants) • Member states report back to the EU on implementation of the Action Plan • Draft Nordic Declaration on Nordic language policy • Network of National Language Institutes • Jan Figel is the first Commissioner with a direct responsibility fo language policy.
Towards criteria for guidingsupranational language policy • goals and assumptions of language policy • economics and language • linguistic human rights • evolving Eurolaw on language rights • ecology of languages paradigm • equality in communication • Esperanto Chapter 5 ofEnglish-only Europe? Challenging language policy, Robert Phillipson 2003
45 recommendations • national and supranational language policy infrastructure • EU institutions • language teaching and learning • Research Chapter 6 of Robert Phillipson, English-only Europe? Challenging language policy Routledge, 2003
Defusing explosives All language communities have the right to preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage, Dalai Lama Words are no deeds, William Shakespeare Those who are handling explosives should call in the linguistic bomb disposal experts.