Marja-Leena Rathje
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Euro language

A chuckle and a relief from flower photos... something I found at the bottom of my email inbox from three years ago when housecleaning...source unknown. Enjoy!

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where! More komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi TU understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Marja-Leena | 18/02/2010 | 15 comments
themes: Linguistics, Neat stuff


I don't even know what to say about this...

Other than...this is a joke, right?

I am just floored...For once, I am speechless, and that does not happen often, I can tell you!!!


I misread the first line of the post. This IS a joke. My bad. I am embarrassed, to say the least. I was just about to get angry and start researching this on Google and start blasting the Brits for being such idiots...Etc. Thank God I re-read!

Sorry, Marja-Leena!!! :)

Hi Wandering! Geesh, I'm sorry to have upset you, even momentarily. I thought it was quite obvious that it's a joke. Maybe I need to post a warning in case someone else takes this too seriously!

To me, it's not only laughing at the Brits but the Germans as well because they (the Germans) ARE trying to change some of the spelling of their language. And there's always that rivalry between them.

Anyway, as an immigrant, I find these kind of language issues can be hilarious. I sincerely hope no one's feelings are hurt!

I could never understand why the Americans made such a feeble attempt to reform English spelling; hardly worth the bother. After all "color" is no nearer to the actual of pronunciation of "colour" but may reveal a tendency to discriminate against the letter u.

Three days ago I decided to form AMSEMD (Association for Making the Spelling of English More Difficult). Needing to use "chimera" in a comment to one of Plutarch's post (as you do) I checked its meaning and found, quite coincidentally, it can be spelt "chimaera". This not only looks prettier but helps raise the snobbism stakes. Next stage: worldwide acceptance for the spelling "onomatopoeia".

Wahrlich, Englisch ist jetzt Deutsch.

BB, I'm very fond of 'Canadian' spelling though spell-checkers always pick up on those. I like some of those old forms too though my usual good spelling skills might get pretty challenged. AMSEND might be too exclusive a club for me. :-)

Black Pete, Ja, ja!

Oh dear, dat rely vas vry fny :-)

The English language that I speak today is the result of centuries of invasion, absorption and assimilation. In it's lexicography and syntax lies the history of little island nation. That it is the global language is sometimes a burden to we Brits.

I, too, began to read this as factual before realising that it's a joke, but then Portuguese is being re-written by the Brazilians so it's not so far-fetched to imagine the EEC taking over English. If that does ever happen I shall take to the barricades, armed with all of my books on the English language and hurl them, one by one, at the bureaucrates.

Susan, glad you had a laugh.

Mouse, you say that English being a global language is sometimes a burden to Brits. Are you serious, how so?

As we both know languages constantly change and evolve. But when that change is being forced on us, most of us are pretty unhappy about it. This kind of reminds me when Canada decided to go metric, decades later we still have a mish-mash of metric and imperial.

Zis is vunerful, Marja-Leena. I have a love for both German and English. But if you want to rev up my heart, speak to me in Frankfurterisch or in Sachsehäuserisch, the two dialects I grew up with. The older I get, the more emotional I get when I hear them. The publishers who put out the "Asterix und Obelix" books began reprinting them translated in German dialects several years ago. The critics predicted they wouldn't sell, but boy were they wrong! One's first dialect of a language is connected to the heart, for better or for worse.

rouchswalwe, I understand totally! Those dialects you grew up with were your first languages! I get all emotional too when I hear "Savo", the Finnish dialect that I grew up with. I rarely hear it now, only when I visit family over there. The same goes for "Finglish" which so many of the Finnish immigrants spoke here in Canada when I was growing up.

This is funny!

However, I've been loving the pictures of the flowers, so much, and can hardly wait for mine to show up. Thank you for the preview of spring, Marja-Leena.

Martha, glad you enjoyed both this and the flowers. Spring is just incredible here with such sunny days and flowers and greening trees and shrubs everywhere! Our Olympic visitors are so amazed. I feel for those of you still having winter... hang in there, spring will come!

The politics of English as a global language interest me enormously and I could go on about this for days, suffice to say my pet hates are:

1. the fact the the English rarely have to learn a foreign language because wherever they go someone will converse with them in English, and I have lost count of the number of times I have said "Please, may we speak Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish..." even, once, "talk to me in Finnish please!"

2. the way my mother tongue has been twisted all out of shape by the speakers of 'other Englishes'

3. purely selfishly, the loss of service jobs abroad where people speak English so well

4. there has to be a 4. the fact that so many people speak English reminds me that we have a shameful colonial past

Of course most Brits welcome all of this, it's so much easier to travel when everywhere one goes there is English spoken, well nearly everywhere. Perhaps that's why, when I went to France, I chose a small rural village in which my closest neighbours speak only Breton?

Long live languages

Mouse, thanks for chiming in further on this, especially with your knowledge of languages. I agree heartily with all the points you make. I remember trying and struggling with my French in Paris but everyone quickly spoke to me in English. English is the preferred language for computers and even the internet so I'm very disturbed by the effect on other languages in the world, especially that of minority groups. Language is so very integral a part of each unique culture around the world.

Interesting, isn't it, how a seemingly joke-y post has brought forth some deeper thoughts on language and its politics? Thanks, Mouse!