Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Countering an Equitable Multilingualism with an EU English Variant: The Role of Language Policies and Translators in the European Union

Countering an Equitable Multilingualism with an EU English Variant: The Role of Language Policies and Translators in the European Union
Eduardo Piqueiras

The objective of this study is to chronicle the decision processes in the formation of an English language variant within the European Union.  The European Union (EU) considers the equal status for all of its official languages a central tenet of European integration.  It is for this reason that member states refuse any concessions in regards to language status.  However, the widespread assumption that English as a lingua franca might be detrimental to national languages and to multilingualism necessitates a move towards language policy reform. Using Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic power, this research advances the idea that the EU’s unwillingness to create a language policy outside the bounds of an equitable multilingualism is based on current multinational power relations and it is this unwillingness that is further advancing English language usage.  Via an analysis of EU English terminologies produced by various institutions in the EU, this analysis asserts that the linguistic conventions for an EU English variant are in a continuous state of development. These terminologies are maintained and presided over by an unspecified assemblage of translators with limited and/or intermediate translator language proficiency levels throughout the EU, attesting to the significant role of translation services throughout the process of creating an EU English variant.  By analyzing the process within which translators makes decisions, as well as what influences such decisions, the role of translators as the guardians and creators of a language variant remains. The findings suggest that economic and political challenges will continue to pressure the function of English in the EU and the spread of an EU English variant.  The implications of this study highlight the importance of translators and the power structures at play in the creation of an EU English variant.

April 6, 2015 - Posted by | abstract

1 Comment »

  1. How do you feel this study applies to English as a dominant language moving into non-English, non-Western areas?

    Comment by Kimberly Oliver | April 21, 2015 | Reply

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