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Euro English (wikipedia.org)
39 points by dgellow on Oct 4, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

I’ve seen this happen everywhere, every country has their own version of English, where they use English words but not how they should be used.

Notable examples for me are “smart working” in Italy to refer to “work from home” and “maintain cleanliness” in the Philippines instead of “keep clean.” Both phrases irk me every time I hear them.

I think every language learner should go through a list of false cognates [1] to tighten up their dictionary once they reach a certain level. I’m learning Spanish now and the amount of words that seem identical to Italian but have a different meaning is astounding.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_cognate

Both of those examples are just local idiomatic usages, there's nothing incorrect about them. You get those wherever English is spoken, including variations within countries and cities.

My gripe is that they shouldn’t be used in the first place (just say “lavoro da remoto”) and then they’re used super awkwardly anyway:

- You should prefer working in “smart working” mode

- Classes will be available in “smart working”

(Non-quoted words would be in Italian)

When you see such contrived sentences, you know that there’s an easier way to speak.

Non-native English speaker here, to me “maintain cleanliness” just feels a bit formal compared to “keep clean”, but doesn’t feel incorrect at all. It makes me wonder how many phrases the I speak/write feel incorrect to native English speakers.

You don't need to worry. There is no such thing as a generic native speaker of English, since one can only learn a local form natively. Every speaker of English is offending some native speaker of English somewhere.

Generally speaking, native speakers need to get over themselves. English has become the global language (which no-one got to vote on) so native speakers should accept local forms and foreign influences and invasions, especially since English has been doing that since its inception.

Those aren't too hard to comprehend. The one that gets me in Philippines is the idiomatic usage "until now." Example phrase "The bus didn't arrive until now."

"Standard" English: The bus arrived as I was speaking

PH English: The bus has not arrived yet

I believe this is a literal translation from Filipino "hanggang ngayon" where "ngayon" does double duty as both "now" and "currently / presently".

> To refrain from doing something | To hop over | Used in Nordic European countries

Including this is a bit intellectually dishonest IMO. c.f. "To skip", one dictionary meaning of which is "to omit or disregard intermediate items or stages", which mirrors the original Nordic meaning exactly. I feel using the "refrain from doing" wording here is an attempt to exaggerate the difference.

Related: The Euro symbol always goes before the amount (like the dollar symbol) in English, no matter what country, as per the European Commission and leading publications. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro_sign#Use

In publications perhaps. I remember regularly seeing 3€50 in Greece I think and 3,50 € in Italy. Writing it differently and would look off or pretentious on a menu.

Placing the currency symbol after the amount is indeed the most common usage in Italy. I have no idea why, but if I had to guess, I think it might be because back when Italy had Liras the same pattern was used (i.e. 1000L instead of L1000).

I guess it's treated like physical units and pseudo-units: 0,5l of beer with 5% alcohol for 3,50€, that makes sense, no? ;)

(IIRC German typography says one should put a half-space between quantity and unit, and if that is unavailable, no space.)

3,50 € is the norm in Greece too. You say you regularly saw prices in the format <integral_euro>€<cents> in Greece? I've never seen that and I live in Greece; I surmise that either you don't remember correctly or that the set of the shops you visit is disjoint to the set of the shops I visit :)

See also World Englishes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Englishes

English is my first language but I definitely speak different versions based on who I'm speaking to. I live in Scandinavia but work for a multi-national where English is the working language. I'm constantly trying to work out people's version of English (not really level) and adapting to match. It's a relief when I talk to someone who's lived in the UK as no translation is necessary, and we can each swear as much as we normally would.

I think everyone is relieved to be able to speak in it own mother tongue. So yes, I can understand you.

I have to say as a foreigner in the UK, the typical 'we don't say what we mean'-approach here is tiring and waste of time.

Definitely. One interesting aspect of multi-national interactions is the differences in high & low context cultures. There are some nationalities where I know I won't ever get a straight answer, so have to do a lot of inference. For others the answer is short and clear, to the point that it would be considered rude in the UK. I much prefer that approach.

> I have to say as a foreigner in the UK, the typical 'we don't say what we mean'-approach here is tiring and waste of time.

In that case I suggest you stay out of Japan. I’m sure the English people’s directness must be exhausting for Japanese visitors.

I can't say the English are direct, totally opposite, you need to pull out of them what they really think/mean.

I was making an ironic comparison to indicate that polite Japanese conversation is even less direct than that of polite British conversation.

How likely is a version of a language to even survive when it contains several features considered incorrect by virtually any native speaker (including in Anglosphere EU countries)? Particularly in this day and age with global media exposure, can it avoid being supplanted particularly given the might of BrE/AmE without much (if any) literature or other content?

The survival of any language is only dependent on having a population that speaks it. In that sense Euro English potentially has a larger speakership than US or British English.

The reason Euro English exists is because it's more convenient or natural for Europeans to speak it, so it lives on. English is a promiscuous language, so it's likely that unusual ("incorrect") forms will one day become a part of standard usage, given Europe's cultural and economic influence.

What are these “incorrect” features?

Several of those listed in the Vocabulary section of the OP.

* assist (to mean attend)

* "How is it called?"

* possibility (to mean opportunity)

* actual (to mean current)

I speak a few other European languages with some proficiency so I'm aware of the reasons for some of these changes. However, there's no reason for the quotes around "incorrect" if you take my quote out of context. I specified that they would be considered incorrect by these native English speakers (if the intended meaning is what is listed here), if not just grammatically incorrect. I'm not claiming that there exists inherently correct or incorrect grammar.

What do you mean by "native English speakers"? Native speakers of US English and British English rountinley have difficulty communicating.

English has become the global language, so there will always be local forms. You can't elevate one form above all others and claim it's the one true English. British English is not special in that respect, it's just a historical form.

Ah I thought you meant “incorrect features of the English language” itself.

TIL there is a name for what I speak with my girlfriend. We use many of these phrases/words in our daily conversation.

I've coined Euroenglish back in the 90's. It sounds much more funny than this.

Would you mind sharing?

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