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Europe’s Contribution to the Future of English

In my last post “Translating…The Future” I wrote about one possible aspect of the future of the English language; the probability  that it will become more and more simple over time. As I mentioned in that post, it is a natural phenomenon for complicated grammatical structures to be progressively and slowly discarded from widely-spoken languages, like English, Arabic and Mandarin. These languages tend to simplify over time due to their sustained use by foreign speakers as a means of regional and global communication. However, there are more possibilities in store for the future of the English language. In this post, I’m going to take a look at Europe’s contribution.

Acceptance of “EU-isms”

A great many languages are spoken on the European continent, so it’s no surprise that English is the most commonly used for regional communication, or that the general level of English among foreign speakers is quite advanced. However, among speakers of European languages, the use of certain terms known as “EU-isms” is quite common. EU-isms are incorrect, yet understandable uses of “false friends” between some terms in English and other languages of the European Union (as well as other regions where European languages are spoken, like Latin America), such as Spanish, French, Portuguese and German, among others. These words often tend to be cognates in all of these languages, except English, hence their common misuse. Some examples include: “assist” instead of “attend,” (asistir, and assister in Spanish and French, respectively), as well as “actual” instead of “current.” The EU has even published a dictionary on the proper use of many of these misused words (check it out by clicking here). Much to the dismay of TEFL teachers around the world, it is possible that some of these EU-isms may eventually find their way into Standard English as a result of widespread use.

Despite how often Eu-isms are used in informal speech and their possible integration into the English language, they are still incorrect usages and are unlikely to be adopted by the Oxford Dictionary any time soon. Eu-isms, are, however quite common, and it can’t hurt for English speakers, including native speakers to familiarize themselves with their use as a means of facilitating international communication.