A German linguistic surrender ?

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
57even
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Re: A German linguistic surrender ?
In reply to RobertSigmund, Feb 25, 2013

RobertSigmund wrote:

57even wrote:

Christoph Stephan wrote:

RobertSigmund wrote:

I think Churchill once said:

"You have the Germans either at your throat or at your feet."

This Gauck President, who, I assume, doesn't speak English himself, has opted for the latter, which of course is better than the other alternative.

I am strictly against English as official language of the EU, though it is already the working language in its bureaucracy.

I am not so sure, having one main language certainly streamlines the process and most Europeans speak it well as pointed out before. For each citizen, it is also easier to just learn English and get around in every corner than to learn a dozen of languages.

An alternative could be to nomate English (Germanic languages), Spanish (Romanic languages) and one slavic language to have all three main language clades of Europe represented.

It's about pragmatism, not democracy. Each country will still have it's own language, unlike the Euro. It's about a common second language effectively. It actually benefits those with a different first language more than it benefits the English because they can keep their linguistic culture intact.

In science, English allows the most concise form of communication.

However, here comes an interesting bit. I meet an American theologist in Aberdeen, and he told me that many theological and philosophical texts originally in German, loose their meaning in English. Whereas English is king in science, in the "Geisteswissenschaften" and philosophy, it is German!

Perhaps, but the same also happens in reverse. Shakespeare doesn't easily translate into anything. I know many Russians who bemoan the lack of nuance of texts translated into English, but you cannot transfer all the implied meaning associated with terminology exactly in any language.

Which is why no-one will be getting rid of their first language any time soon.

Shakespeare translations into German are so good that it is fair to say he has become the third national writer of Germany, with Goethe and Schiller.

I would image however that there is an inevitable change in character, though whether that's good or bad I have no idea. Shakespeare is full of linguistic jokes.

I have seen Faust translated from German to English and it was magnificent. However, I can imagine some of the shades of meaning are still impossible to convey with complete accuracy.

I have read many classic Russian novels in English, and all I can say is that if they were better in Russian they must have been truly magnificent in the original. Or maybe a good translator must use sufficient linguistic license at times to convey the underlying meaning along with the obvious one. Quite a scholarly achievement.

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