The Rise of Euro English

European Union flag hanging from a pole
Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Parlez-vous Euro English?

What is Euro English, exactly? Euro English, also called “Globish,” are words, phrases, or manners of speaking that non-native English speakers in Europe have developed. These terms are either derived from their native languages or from a different interpretation of words as native English speakers would use them.

  1. Incorrect words that derive their meaning from other languages. (the French word “planification” substitutes for “planning”)
  2. Words that have basically the same meaning but are used in contexts unfamiliar to native speakers (“possibility” used in a context in which we’d normally say “opportunity”)
  3. Words typically related to modern technology that users prefer because they’re more local (“SMS” instead of “text”)
  • informations
  • expertises
Image by ❤️A life without animals is not worth living❤️ from Pixabay

In favor of Euro English

On the other side of the argument are linguistic experts such as Marko Modiano, an American who’s lived in Sweden and taught English for many years. He thinks Brexit will let Euro English flourish, and doesn’t think those born into speaking English should dictate how the language is spoken in Europe.

Supposed problems with Euro English

  • Euro English has no native speakers, so it can’t be an official dialect
  • Euro English is too diverse to pin down as one distinct dialect
  • Without any standard for Euro English, it can’t be taught

“Correct” English is about power

In an interview earlier this year with Berliner Zeitung, Modiano argued that purism, or pushing Europeans to accept an English that native-speakers prefer, no longer has a place in European English. He maps “correctness” or “incorrectness” in language to social and class groups, saying that it’s really about power and trying to influence the behavior of others.

The future of Euro English

Children across Europe are learning English as their second language. Slowly, the number of adults who speak English fluently in Europe is rising, and will continue to do so. As it evolves, some standards may be put in place, but they’re still a ways off.

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Courtney Withrow

Courtney Withrow

Writer and Blogger. International Relations, Travel, Culture. Based in Brussels, Belgium.