According to Wikipedia we have:
* Germany: 56% English speakers, 14.5% French speakers
* Italy: 34% English vs. 19.43% French
* Spain: 22% English vs. 11.73% French
* Sweden: 89% English vs. 8% French
I can't get over how bad this decision is.
How can you ignore these kinds of discrepancies?
So this is the President of France postulating that when his country takes the Presidency next year, he will use that to push French to be the next working language. I don’t know what the President of the Council of Europe does besides Chair meetings, but apparently it includes setting the language for which the meetings will be held in.
So this isn’t something the EU as a whole has determined will be policy going forward, more like the first guy to drop his pants in a newly opened frontier for dick-waving. If this was something the President of the Council of the European Union could do unilaterally anyway, then my read is that Emmanuel Macron would have pulled this stunt, Brexit or no Brexit, and Brexit is just convenient political cover.
More likely this won’t last more than the 6 months that France has the Presidency, and it will be amusing to see if say, Hungary the next time they have the Presidency insists on high level communications in Hungarian.
Please excuse my pedantry, but you've misspoken here: the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and the Council of Europe are three different things; and here you've accidentally said the third when you meant to speak of the second. The first two are EU institutions–the European Council is senior to the Council of the European Union, in the former EU member states are represented by heads of state or government, in the later they are represented by the ministers responsible for various policy areas (finance, agriculture, trade, transport, education, etc). The Council of Europe, by contrast, is a separate international organisation from the EU, with a much broader membership – it includes the vast majority of European countries; it is most famous for hosting the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), although it is active in other policy areas as well.
And all three have a presidency. The President of the European Council is an individual, currently former Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. He doesn't take orders from the Belgian government, he is truly independent. By contrast, the presidencies of the Council of the European Union, and the Council of Europe, are held by governments not by individuals. The presidency of the Council of the European Union rotates every six months, it is currently held by Portugal, Slovenia is up next. Likewise, the presidency of the Council of Europe rotates every six months; currently it is held by Hungary.
Yes, yes I did and I did not catch it, and I’m outside the Edit window as well.
It seems not even I can keep up with Europe’s love of councils.
I'd like to add something substantive, but the two parent posts already noted everything I would have.
And their idea website already has a proposal posted to rename the European Council and Council of the European, in order to reduce confusion with the Council of Europe: https://futureu.europa.eu/processes/OtherIdeas/f/8/proposals...
And besides the long term costs that can be reasoned out, all sorts of emotions, insecurities, etc., will undoubtedly come flying out from many quarters.
I doubt if these sorts of topics can be discussed calmly by anyone invested in the change.
Yes. The consequences are hopefully getting re-elected as a moderate at a time when right-wing populism and nationalistic rhetoric is popular. The next French election is next year.
If this is what it takes to keep Le Pen out then consider ourselves fortunate.
But I don't think the French really care about how other cultures work. It's all nationalist nonsense and living in the glorious past for them. See Strasbourg.
I'm quite certain the position of French-Canadians has little to do with « entitlement », and more with how trapped they feel. Not that Anglo-Canadians would give a rats ass about the actual motives of Québec's cultural policy, as long as it can get weaponized for political currency.
Frankly this entire thread reeks.
French has also been a traditional common language or diplomacy and international relations. It's probably got more inertia going for it in those circles than German would.
Ireland kept its Gaelic language. And nobody speaks it.
Also I fail to see how this would impact the usage of French in France if the official language within the EU institution is English? The EU as an institution is comprised of a couple of thousand people from all over the EU, it would have no impact whatsoever on French as a spoken language. French is no longer the lingua franca, English is and therefore it makes more sense to use English as the common language within the EU institutions. Anything else is political currency as you so aptly mentioned.
Not that I believe that the rest of Canada somehow has the moral high ground or something but what is going on in Quebec language wise is frankly completely non-understandable from an outsider's point of view. From that both sides have good and bad arguments in the debate but at this point things are just silly. It feels like a never ending blood feud. The vicious cycle has to be broken.
Yes the Anglos weren't nice to French speakers. I sympathize.
Now the French speakers want to legislate doing the same to Anglos? Are they crazy? Sorry but sympathy withdrawn immediately!
If Quebec did not enforce language laws then English would end up driving out French except for decorative, heritage functions.
The result of the language laws is that we have a part of North America strongly bound in to not just a significant part of the EU but also to Vietnam, large parts of Africa and the rest of la Francophonie. Not a bad thing at all.
The European Parliament would love to pick up and leave Strasbourg, but it is legally bound to meet there several times a year for a full session despite the majority of its work being in Brussels.
Yes, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Strasbourg is the capital of a region which was highly contested between France and Germany and changed hands multiple times in the last two centuries and is seen as a symbole of the reconciliation between the two countries. It's also not linked at all with the fact it was already the seat of the Council of Europe when the parliament was put there.
Also, the EU doesn't have two capitals. It has none.
The symbolic rhetorical cover is interesting, irrelevant, and fulfilled by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other CoE institutions. More importantly, the European Union already symbolically represents a reconciliation between its member nations encompassing more than merely Germany and France.
Basing the European Parliament out of Strasbourg for a time may have made sense as it could share a building with an existing pan-European institution, but to keep it legally bound to continue spending a minority of the year there when the bulk of the EU’s institutions that the European Parliament is concerned with are in another city in another country is just silly and entirely rectifiable.
That's what people call a de facto capital. Still the EU intentionaly has no capital in its laws.
> The symbolic rhetorical cover is interesting, irrelevant
It's in no way irrelevant nor a cover. It's the reason Strasbourg was selected as the seat of the parliement in the 50s.
You can't discard facts because they don't suit your worldview. I will personally stop this pointless discussion.
It’s also what people just call a capital.
> It's in no way irrelevant nor a cover. It's the reason Strasbourg was selected as the seat of the parliement in the 50s.
In the 1950s.
First: the given justification for any policy decision particularly in democratic societies is always rhetorical. Rhetoric is intended to persuade. Factual accuracy is not mutually exclusive with rhetoric.
Second: It was in 1992 that the decision was made to keep the European Parliament in Strasbourg per the decision of Edinburgh European Council of 11 and 12 December 1992.
Prior to this it was already located in Strasbourg, which for a time did make sense. However when the European Union chose to revisit this issue, it chose not to consolidate its institutions into one location, but to keep them spread apart and thus the European Parliament now splits its time between what are effectively two capital cities with all the additional overhead costs this incurs in the time and money of the taxpayers and the productivity of the MEPs and staff.
 https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/20492/1992_december_-_... [page 47] [pdf]
This is such a useless egoistic move from the french, just accept that english is the lingua franca.
I think it’s sad that that you don’t seem to realize that it’s a problem that most of the content we are exposed comes from a single culture.
As for the move, it’s totally useless, and if they wanted to be strongest against english they should have said “we’ll only accept communication in french or german” but that would have meant most of the communications would have been in german.
I don't think GP's desire to minimise language barriers among 27 co-operating governments implies that they are oblivious to cultural bias.
I do think the latter is an issue worth addressing, but this is probably not an effective or appropriate way to do it.
Well, you have to start somewhere. But I agree that the only thing it's likely to do is annoy the heck out of everybody.
I think they said French because if they had said French or German the other bodies might have used only German just to annoy the French back.
But you're not going to find them in the US [much] if they're not in English
Here's some data from several years ago (couldn't find anything more recent in a quick scan) - https://screenville.blogspot.com/2009/06/production-world-ci...
Here's a related Quora post: https://www.quora.com/What-makes-British-television-at-least...
Using English exposes people to a certain way of thinking that is more linked to a set of cultures or traditions. It's an undeniable fact, both semantics and linguistics teach us that.
But if the aim is to help politicians think from a different perspective, French is a bad choice. If that was the purpose, a reasonable choice would be to opt for languages related to cultures of more practical rationality.. German or Scandinavian languages
Of course it's the French politicians who have the nerve to try impose their language. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that French culture is one of the most pedantic and nationalistic in Europe, to the detriment of the other members.
That's essentialist nonsense. How are German or Scandinavian cultures more « practically rational » in an empirical sense ? Is there anything to it beyond short-sighted stereotypes ? That's not even getting to the fact that rationalism and positivism have French input stamped all over it, with German philosophy generally pulling in the exact opposite direction.
I did not mention positivism, which is not necessarily embedded in the political environment we have today.
The main contributions in rationalism and empiricism are not French.
German philosophy is not generally positivist, but that’s not what I wrote.
Are you certain of this? I can think of many contributions to rationalism and empiricism made by French speakers that I feel are important. The metric system, for instance, was in large part a French project .
Here are a few French rationalists and empiricists that came to my mind when I read your comment:
Contemporary exerimentalist known for work in quantum optics 
Louis de Broglie
Quantum physicist known for pioneering wave-particle duality 
Nicolas de Condorcet
Mathematician and leading figure of the enlightenment 
Philosopher and mathematician known for the Cartesian co-ordinate system 
Pierre de Fermat
Mathematician known for his eponymous last theorem 
Mathematician and astronomer known for Lagrangian mechanics and Lagrange points in astronomy 
Polymath known for Laplace's Demon, among much else 
Experimental chemist who named hydrogen and oxygen 
Mathematician and inventor of an early mechanical calculator 
Chemist and microbiologist who developed the germ theory of disease and invented Pasteurisation 
Mathematician, theoretical physicist and engineer 
Urbain le Verrier
Astronomer, discoverer of Neptune 
Full disclosure: I'm English.
Hindu and Greek philosophers, Islamic golden age, Italian renaissance, British empiricism, Scottish Enlightenment, Austrian/German empiricism, US Pragmatism, ...
I'm not trying to neglect French rationalists and empiricists. Of course they exist, ... together with the many other scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, ... from many other cultures. Each single culture contributed less than the sum of the others simply because rationalism and empiricism are the fruits of global knowledge.
When detailing reasons for pushing the adoption of French in Europe, Macron acknowledged the work of Victor Hugo, who "believed that French would be the language of Europe, would today perhaps be a little disappointed" and promoted the re-examination of past colonialism in Africa, seeking to use the language as a tool to "reset a complex history in the continent".
The reasons for pretending the use of French in Europe are nationalistic. In an incident, European diplomats defined "overly dramatic, a statement of anger that clearly need no translation" when a French diplomat left his chair empty after the Council decided to use only-English in a working group.
This development was foreseen in 2017 (pre-Brexit) when Mario Monti said "The EU, when the UK leaves, should take the decision of upgrading the use of the English language in EU affairs. I think we should upgrade the ways we use English and it should become the language of the EU. I exaggerate a bit - there should be a bit of French. It will be a very appropriate gesture to the UK. It would help us Europeans to become more competitive by using fewer languages."
The statements of Mario Monti was pragmatic, it defines an issue and propose a solution. The behaviour of French diplomats is stubborn and nationalistic.
Disclosing too that I'm Italian.
I understand there is a common perception that French academic culture has literary preoccupations, but I don't think the idea that those preoccupations have disadvantaged French science holds up to much scrutiny, much as one might want it to after listening to a fruitless monologue about Derrida.
It's heartening to me that there are people in the EU arguing in favour of pragmatic gestures of friendship to the UK as you point out; I'm all for it and hope it is continued and mutual, regardless of whether the UK is legally part of the organisation.
I lived in the Netherlands, worked for an international organization and I still have a lot of friends who works (or worked) in Brussels. Few comments:
1. The level of profentiency in foreign language of people working for the European institutions is orders of magnitude higher than readers of HN. Not too mention translators. It's not rare to meet people speak 6 languages totally fluently. Switching languages for some working documents is almost a non-event beyond signaling. There will be zero impact for the rest of us.
2. I totally support a Europe where people speak foreign languages beyond English.
The appeal to the popularity of English is entirely circular. Obviously you're exposed to more English if nobody makes an effort to use another language. Not an argument against changing that state of affairs.
I'm no expert on international politics, but it seems like that would severely disadvantage these countries, wouldn't it? With a smaller pool of politicians and technocrats who are proficient in the working language of the EU, they'll have to rely more on translation, and will consequently be less able to communicate efficiently when representing their respective countries.
1) Everyone's beautiful
2) Everyone's super tall. I'm 184cm and saw multiple women every day that were taller than me, let alone men. In the US it's quite rare for me to see women taller than me.
3) Everyone's rather slim. It's nice to see a population at healthier weights than what I'm used to in the US
4) Not once did I find somebody who couldn't speak English, from workers at train stations to museums to airports. It was crazy. In contrast, Germans being about 50/50 matches up with my experience. Italy felt lower than 1/3 even in Venice, but I spent much less time there.
Sweden sure is amazing; can't wait to visit again.
It's crazier than that. I've moved to a small village in northern Sweden in the middle of nowhere, and everybody speaks English here, too.
> Everyone's rather slim.
Agreed, but Austria beats it - there, everyone is ripped :)
So 6 foot tall (72in) is like a magic number for American men. That's like the threshold for manliness in popular culture. If you were to plot the self-reported heights men in America, you'd absolutely see a dip at 70 and 71 inches, then a big spike at 72in.
What's this magic number in various metric countries? 185cm seems like a sound choice, but I could see it being 190 in some places.
I think there's definitely a threshold around 6' in English cultures, possibly 180 cm in Europe, but in my personal experience it's not seen an important metric as the magic 6' number in Anglo cultures.
Of course it has no bearing on a actual sizes! That’s why the commenter says “manliness in popular culture” and “self-reported heights”. He’s making the point that lots of men who are slightly shorter than 6 feet will lie and say they are 6 feet tall, and wondering if there is a comparable number in cm.
There is no magic number here. The weird emphasis on height is very much an American peculiarity.
Some (maybe most) women don't want to be in a relationship with a guy smaller than them when they wear heels and some like tall guys but that's pretty much it.
I ~think~ that's why someone downvoted you.
To be fair, a cm _is_ less than a foot
As an American, I had to converted the number to mm and the divided it by 25.4 and again by 12. I figured I save somebody else the trouble.
(I upvoted you.)
You can experience it in advance with Tinder Passport.
> Based mostly on Northern Italian languages (mainly Venetian and Genoese dialects) and secondarily from Occitano-Romance languages...
So it's not the "language of Franks".
> Lingua franca means literally "language of the Franks" in Late Latin, and originally referred specifically to the language that was used around the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as the main language of commerce. However, the terms "Franks" and "Frankish" were actually applied to all Western Europeans during the late Byzantine Period.
It's not by chance that many invaders tend to force their language to country they invade (the French being no exception, they did both in former colonies and in our own current territory during the French revolution - that's actually a very hot topic currently in France, as some "immersive teaching" of regional languages were found unconstitutional a few days ago)
And well, I'd rather be more German than more American. But I'm one of those who feel more EUropean than french, so maybe that's why :)
The french political class: "It eez time to stick eet to ze germans and ze eengleesh"
Let’s force the 3 letter agencies to improve their deep learning NLP models for other languages.
Nobody speaks it in the EU, but if we’re going with popular languages i also don’t think mandarin would be an appropriate language.
I’m french and I think there should be a common EU language, and for political purpose it should a truly neutral language, like Esperanto or another novlang.
(Or maybe french should become the lingua franca of the EU if French official communications to the EU could only be in German)
Latin is rooted in catholicism, which is anything but neutral in terms of history and human rights.
Let’s level the playing field a bit, there is enough english in the world.
[this post made in english, and I write most often in english because nobody reads french compared to english]
English is one of the two official languages of Ireland.
Either way, I think everything you've said is basically beside the point because English is the primary international language of the business and science worlds. That's why virtually all airports everywhere in the world have English signage and announcements, that's why many international university lectures are in English. It's very practical.
For better or for worse, that's how it is, and choosing another language based on some principle of neutrality (which certainly won't really be neutral, because anyone's definition of neutrality will be biased) is going against the flow. Something like Esperanto would actually be an especially terrible choice given that there's almost no one who speaks it and virtually no entertainment media that uses it, which makes it far more difficult to learn.
Learning languages is hard enough as it is. As someone who lived in Tokyo and studied Japanese full time, it's something you really need to be motivated for to make it work.
it’s like saying cobol is the most used programming language, why use java or python?
(Latin is oppressive? I’ve heard it all. Better tell the scientists.)
Not sure if it's still done this way.
No big deal.
> “We will always ask the Commission to send us in French the letters it wishes to address to the French authorities, and if they fail to do so, we will wait for the French version before sending it,” the diplomat said.
"Send us French or consider your request to be second-class and ignored until you send us French".
> The unnamed diplomat said all high-level meetings of the Council – the body which helps sets the political agenda in Brussels – will be conducted in French instead of English during the six-month presidency.
It’s only during the Council, outside of the Council every country expects documents in their language.
Decision-making should not be reduced to the law of the majority. If Europe wants to push people to learn and practice more foreign languages, I'm all for it. (Disclosure: that starts with me, I speak 3 languages and I'm learning a fourth one).
Some claim that learning a second language will make a person better at thinking -- or confer other broad advantages, but I am unconvinced by the evidence I have seen for those claims.
To improve him or herself and his or her society, the person would do better to spend the time he or she would have spent learning a second language learning science, history, technology and practical arts.
Switzerland wants its young people to study both French and German because it wants to remain one country and to avoid splitting into a German-speaking country and a French-speaking one. That is an example where it makes sense to advocate and to encourage bilingualism IMO. I have a lot of sympathy for the Swiss policy of encouraging bilingualism. I have much less sympathy for the general belief that bilingualism and trilingualism are good in themselves. Human lives are short; people should focus their learning on the things that most advance themselves and their societies.
I guess you could argue that all of Europe is in a milder version of the Switzerland situation: that it is necessary for European individuals to invest a lot into learning second and third language to keep Europe integrated and to prevent wars from breaking out. Maybe that is the root of the belief among Europeans that it is good to learn multiple languages.
But I can't help notice that if there were a button that when pushed, makes it so that all of Europe (or all of the world) magically becomes fluent in the same language, I would vote for pushing the button: the advantages are great (namely, freeing up time currently devoted to the learning of second and third European languages for learning more potent things) and the risks are low IMO (the main risk being the small probability that different languages really do confer on their learners significantly different cognitive strengths and weaknesses).
There are many exceptions to this for sure, after all German part has french for like 4 years at school. And older people more likely actually learned the language to the point of speaking it, younger people are usually much more skilled in English as their second language whatever they are French, German.
It isn’t really English. It’s “work English.”
I bet a lot more people speak “work English” than are fluent in the full language.
"The Court needs a common language in which to conduct deliberations. That language is, by custom, French."
They should just replace English as one of the three working language of the EU with esperanto / ido / interlingua or another conlang.
Malta and the Netherlands are other countries where a large majority also speak English.
In some places in the EU the UK's union jack flag is being replaced with the Irish tricolour on bank ATM's display of language choices, which amuses the Irish.
For the UK the figures are: total speakers 98.3% as first language 92.3%
I haven't done the math, but I'd bet in the EU there are probably more English speakers than any other native language.
The key thing to understand is that the value of a comment is the expected value of the subthread it forms the root of: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor....
If you want an in-depth explanation of this, the best one I know of is this lengthy interaction I had a few weeks ago with a commenter in a similar situation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27161365. The in-depth portion starts here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27162386.
their English is terrîble
I know very little people my age that speak enough French to be able to work, however, everyone I know my age speaks English.
Would they have done this if Brexit hadn’t happened? Yes, they would. France has a chip on its shoulder about French being replaced as the world’s lingua franca, but stunts like this aren’t going to bring it back. Not even in Brussels.
Most people in Brussels already speak French... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francization_of_Brussels
Same family https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/king-george-tsar-nicholas-1...
For everybody but the French, that is.
> that ersatz of the English language, which narrows the scope of one’s thoughts, and restricts one’s ability to express him or herself
And the ability to formulate a new policy with a subtle twist in your favor that no-one gets until it's too late.
This sounds awfully close to Sapir–Whorf
They should use Ithkuil instead then :D
For an example of the daft amounts of human life expended on examples of such trivialities, look at the amount of effort spent on arguing if the Concorde airplane should terminate with or without an 'e'.
One of the marvels of the EU institutional cathedral is the way they can manage effectively more than a dozen different languages. Yes, there are a handful of preferred ones, but in the end everything has to be translated to even the most obscure lingo. Sadly, instead of celebrating this epic taming of Babel, the French insist in narrow-minded cultural imperialism (as a reaction to Anglo-american imperialism, many of them would probably retort...), so they periodically pull these stunts. Nobody really cares, but if it keeps them invested in the Union, I'm happy to let them play king for 6 months.
(Does Klingon have a word for bridge-of-a-ship and not bridge-over-water, or is that just an urban legend?)
Personally though, I prefer Ido over Esperanto.
Esperanto is so easy it can be learned in negative time.
Not really. For example, a language that has no grammatical gender is inarguably easier to learn than a one that has.
That aside, there's no way there's an universal easy-to-learn language. Language families are very different.
Literally, this means 'He yesterday buy of is vegetable', but the meaning is 'What he bought yesterday is vegetables'. The way the grammar in this sentence corresponds to its meaning may seem unusual to you, but it is effortless and natural to a Mandarin speaker. And these sorts of invisible grammatical features exist in every language. Most European languages descend from a common ancestor, so it is not so noticeable, and instead we notice the grammatical features that are different between languages: cases, gender, tenses, etc. And Esperanto, being based in these languages, also inherits these unnoticed grammatical biases. A Mandarin speaker learning Esperanto would have the same difficulty as an English speaker learning some Mandarin-derived conlang that 'simplified' certain visible grammatical features. Esperantists tout success in speakers of Asian languages learning Esperanto, but there are many more cases of speakers of Asian languages learning English.
Anyway, I don't think things like gender matter so much when it comes to the practical aspect of learning a language, or even mistakes in semantic grammatical features like case or tense. A native speaker isn't going to be unable to understand you because you flub some of the grammar such as the gender of some noun. Consider when you hear non-native English speakers make mistakes - are you unable to understand sentences like 'I go to bank' or 'Yesterday I eat restaurant'?
So these are the two flaws of Esperanto:
1. Esperanto's grammar is still very much Romance + Germanic-like, so ease of learning it is relative to familiarity with languages in those families.
2. To the extent that Esperanto's grammar is simpler, it doesn't particularly matter from a language acquisition perspective.
The Chinese are actually one of the biggest supporters of Esperanto too, offering degrees in it from major universities, regular broadcasts on official radio and some years ago teaching it in primary school.
Se ti sabir
Se non sabir
I'm not going to bother finding the hyperlink for the relevant xkcd comic, because we've all seen it before.
You also forget about the Maltese. The combined population of the two would still make it a middling region of France like Grand Est or a somewhere between Rheinland-Pfalz and Hesse in the case of the German Länder.
Latin even has a large amount of texts written at a basic level. Works like Summa Theologica and the Vulgate Bible were written in extremely simple language.
It has a very small vocabulary. There are some weird edge cases (imperative plural, for example), but even they follow common rules.
If you poll, you will find today that most people will not be aware of the concept of an international auxiliary language. This gives the adoption of one (not necessarily Esperanto) some kind of hope.
Language researchers can argue all they want about how languages should be grouped, but they sound different, they use different words, and people call them different things. It is simply incorrect to state that people in Belgium speak Dutch. Might as well just expand the group to include German and English (etc) and say they speak Germanic.
Fun fact, the Dutch call their language Nederlands and refer to German as Duits ("Dutch").
Here is the constitution of Belgium: https://www.senate.be/doc/const_nl.html
Articles 2 and 3 define the Flemish (Vlaamse) community and region. Article 4 defines the language areas and specifically mentions Dutch (Nederlands), not Flemish.
See also: the Dutch Language Union (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Language_Union) being founded on a treaty between the Netherlands and Belgium.
For a language that's derived from Dutch but now its own proper language, try Afrikaans.
And they would be right. They do indeed speak the Flemish dialect.
> That's an opinion, not a fact, and one that depends on who you ask and where
I don't see how it is "an opinion" if Flemish literally adheres to "Standaardnederlands" (https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standaardnederlands). Your analogy to German doesn't make any sense here. The Dutch language doesn't adhere to some "Germanic" standard language or anything, and barely has any grammar rules in common with German (even though the languages are very similar).
After all even if EU matters were done purely in french it wouldn't be "the killer feature" to make french be taught much more in schools since english is the universal business language. And even if EU states decided that they needed to start teaching another language besides english to their kids to prepare them for future employment I would actually go for chinese instead of french. Because that will be the next actual global language by the end of this century unless humanity nukes it self out of existence.
Majority of business communication worldwide is already in english so are technical docs. well, unless it's electronic stuff which is in chinese | german. Culturally america's most known exports are in english.
So yeah, what France is pushing is largely stupid, though i'm an ardent listener of French hip hop.
That is not going to happen. Nothing is done purely in one language in the EU. The language rules are deeply embedded in the treaties; changing this would require quite a lot of countries to agree formally. The three work languages of the Commission are English, French, and German, and that’s not going to change. What can change is which one of these is used the most.
It's already the case that we learn another language beside English in most (all?) of the EU. Typically French, German or Spanish.
It's also an explicit goal of the EU that every citizen speak two additional languages besides their own native language.
Arrogant, privileged, disconnected from reality, risk averse and comfortably protected by the bureaucracy which they use to masquerade the gross in efficiency of the whole apparatus.
The UK leaving the EU should have been the loud wake up call it needed to shape up.
As it so often happens in arrogant filled relationships, the departing party is appointed the entirety of the blame.
Even if France's motivations are purely nationalistic, it's really no different or worse than how we arrived at the status quo.
In short: no chance.
It's a fruitless discussion if you pretend that all languages are equal and have the same inertia and networks effects anyway. The network effects of English are too strong, and there would be absolutely no coming back from openly using it as a Paneuropean vehicular language. It's a massive civilisational choice, not some technical detail.
As for orthography, I was merely making an observation. The formal history of both French and English are interesting. I don't think it's a valid point in favour of one language or the other.
See the different ways of pronouncing "tous" or the different words that have irregularly silent "l"s (e.g. fusil) and other irregularly silent consonants in the middle of words (e.g. automne).
French has quite a lot of exceptions to its pronunciation rules in addition to its already fairly complex regular relationship between letters and sounds.
EDIT: Oh I forgot my pet peeve: there are so many exceptions to the pronunciation of "er" that it's kind of misleading to give its pronunciation as the equivalent of an English "a" as in "slate" (hiver, cher, cancer, mer, the list goes on and on and on).
For 'er' though, isn't the rule essentially that it is pronounced 'a' at the end of verbs, and 'ar' otherwise? I realize that is not a phonetic rule, though.
I don't know of any regular, even semantic, rule off the top of my head that covers when it should be pronounced which way for non-verbs. I wonder if someone more versed in French etymology could find one.
I feel like we can find more ;-)
But I have learned I had a misconception about what a phonetic spelling is. I had thought that a phonetic spelling had the property of every sound in the language having one way to spell it, but that is not the case; instead for every grapheme there is one sound.
As a native English speaker, learning a little French (after German and Latin) opened my eyes to the horrors of English. Really French is very tame in comparison.
Sorry for being blunt but pronouncing 50% of the letters is extremely non phonetical. There's just no other way of putting it
Granted, the sibling comment lists quite a few exceptions to these rules, but it is still quite a regular language.
The system of silent consonants is quite useful in keeping the language have somewhat regular declensions/conjugations. If they were not preserved, it would seem that French conjugations are mad, inventing consonants out of thin air. For example, coup/coupee, meaning to cut/ cut (up), are pronounced ku/kupe. This would make it seem like the participle is adding -pe to the infinitive (and it would add -te or -ze or many others), when in fact the participle is almost always adding -e, which forces the consonant in the root to be pronounced, since French really hates hiatuses.
If anything, French phonetics are the real problem, aggressively dropping consonants of the end of words, but loathing hiatuses, sometimes even between words in literary contexts (where sometimes a 't' or 'z' sound is added between a word ending in a vowel and the next word beginning with a vowel, 'la liaison').
If your native language has sane spelling correspondences this feature of English never ceases to amaze and to be honest baffle, even bother you.
Will this vowel in this particular word be the diphthong you'd expect according to the patterns you've inferred up to this point or some wild monophtong just because? Let's find out!
As for the French, good for them, they speak a world language that is also one of the three working languages of the EU. My native language is another world language. English is a lingua franca nowadays, but there's no methaphysical necessity about speaking English, it's just popular enough and therefore convenient.
What matters is that a sequence of symbols _consistently_ matches a phoneme. For example, you'll find that the "u" phoneme is often written as "ou" in French. Same thing for the "o" sound and "eau" (you misspelt "beaucoup").
What I would consider "non-phonetic" is the set "though", "through", "thorough", and "thought" in English, where "ough" has four different sounds.