Spanish reflections. Re: English in Europe

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July 17, 2016

In reply to Jane Cronin, who by the way does a really sterling job with her column, I want to just want to express my experience with the global English speaking countries.
During my extensive travels around the world with my job, no matter where I attended an Exposition/Exhibition (whichever the country termed it), the majority of visitors spoke English. So there would be Russian-Chinese-Argentinian and whoever talking to each other in English.
The main reason I found after discussing why they would never attempt to speak their own language or even another fluent language they may have had was obvious, that most travelling people would speak English, which would be a qualification for their position. Also, the technical terms and components were better understood in English.
We are all aware of the English “lazy tongue”, but selflessly it was easy for me to travel without languages. I must admit I would have loved to have had at least one other language (before my español) for respect.
This confirmation was enforced by all business documents and quotations, etc. All legal contracts were in English, as this was usually requested from the client. Likewise, all technical back-up was carried out in English over the telephone or by internet. Of course, there were people in the company who could speak three/four languages for those areas where English was not spoken widely; the linguistic personnel would quickly switch to the appropriate language.
So I cannot envisage any kind of competitiveness over the English speaking globally as I do not think, for instance, Africa or India or any other large continent switching to Spanish or to use any alternative language as it would be like re-inventing the wheel. As for the EU documentation, well if they think the MEPs are all going to start learning French and German, etc, when they or most can speak English, again why re-invent the wheel for the sake of Brexit. It would be futile.
Therefore after hundreds of years with various parts of the world speaking English, I should not think there would be any decline of this language. Also, the second most used language in most countries is English. And years after Brexit there will probably be many more. So the EU can please themselves as to which language they prefer. Of course, meanwhile all the UK MEPs will have interpreters. On the contrary, I think the language will expand even further.

R Eaton Hall

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