Previous posts in this discussion:
PostThe Balkanization of Europe: Languages (Ronald Hilton, USA, 09/21/99 8:30 am)
Tom Moore writes:
The establishment of the EU has made it feasible for regional groups to demand independence. The EU will take care of trade policy, which in any case will be free trade within the Union, foreign affairs and monetary policy. So why not independence for these areas? To strengthen regional groups they all want their own language but they will also have to learn a common one -- probably English -- in order to compete in the world.
My response: Regionalism is one problem, languages are another, There is no problem about the use of these languages in the family, etc. The problem arises in school, when the textbooks, if any, and teaching are in these odd languages. Children, for many of whom these languages have been imposed by nationalists, become confused. The situation is worse for workers, since mobility of labor is an essential part of the E.U. Even in the U.S. there have been serious protects when some workers speak a language the others do not understand. It can be quite dangerous. Legal problems arise when two languages are involved. The case of Canada, where I have lived, shows how divisive and expensive this can be. In any case, the violence and killings by small minorities who want to impose their language and take over the government, as in the Basque provinces, are unjustified. That ordinary workers will learn say English is optimistic. I see a worldwide division arising between those who use computers and speak English and those who don't. I see no easy solution.