LE WATERLOO DE LA LANGUE FRANÇAISE

LE WATERLOO DE LA LANGUE FRANçAISE
Selon un journal anglo-saxon…

Malgré les protestations des Français qui craignent un complot anglo-saxon
pour le contrôle des meilleurs postes à Bruxelles et pour la libéralisation
des marchés protégés, un nouveau sondage vient établir que la langue de
Shakespeare est plus populaire que la langue de Molière dans les pays qui
veulent adhérer à l’Union européenne. Le texte anglais suivant est extrait
du journal Guardian.

The French language meets its Waterloo
Ian Black in Brussels
Guardian

Wednesday March 20, 2002

Enlarging the EU is good news for the English language, confirming its
victory over French as the classic medium of European integration.

Adding to the woes of the French, who fear an Anglo-Saxon plot to get the
top jobs in Brussels and liberalise protected markets, a new survey shows
that the language of Shakespeare is more popular than that of Molière in the
candidate countries for union membership.

According to the European commission’s polling arm, Eurobarometer, 86% of
people in the 13 countries applying to join regard English as one of the two
most useful languages to speak.

German is favoured by 58% per cent, largely in central and eastern Europe,
and French by a paltry 17%.

Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia,
Slovakia, Cyprus and Malta are expected to join the EU in an unprecedented
"big bang" in the next two to three years.

Bulgaria and Romania, whose economies are less developed, are likely to take
longer.

Turkey, the only one of the 13 not to have begun the complex accession
negotiations, may never make it.

"After years of armchair speculation about what the linguistic map of Europe
will look like after enlargement, this survey is the answer," commission
officials said.

"It spells the end of a rearguard action to preserve French as the dominant
working language."

English is the most-spoken foreign language in the candidate countries,
scoring 16% compared with 14% for Russian, 10% for German and 4% for French.

The linguistic preferences reflect the fact that historically France has
played little part in the outer countries of Europe compared with its role
in the original six members of the EU’s earlier manifestation, European
Economic Community.

Romania has most citizens who speak French as a second language, though
there too, English is considered far more useful.

Cyprus and Malta, both former British colonies, are special cases, where 57%
and 84% respectively speak English as a second language.

Every new EU member’s language is officially recognised, so within a few
years there will be 10 more to add to the existing 11, with a question mark
over whether Turkish will be required for Cyprus.

French dominated the European project from the 1950s until the 1980s but was
set back when Finland, Austria and Sweden joined in 1995, and has suffered
further from English’s dominance on the internet. Today, two-thirds of
commission documents are written in English.