EESE 11/2000

English as a Global language: the Case of the European Union

Jörg Witt (Erlangen)

Table of Content

1. The official languages of a uniting Europe
1.1 The official languages of the present 15 member states of the European Union
1.2 The official languages of the states to join the Union
1.3 The official and unofficial use of languages in the official institutions of the EU
1.4 The importance of English in computer assisted translation within the EU institutions
2. Languages in Education
2.1 Primary Education
2.2 Secondary Education
2.3 EU programmes established to expand the knowledge of foreign languages
3. The mass media
4. Business
5. Science
6. Transnational Communication
7. Reactions
8. Is English global in the European Union?


It is not by chance that the title of this article is so obviously inspired by David Crystal's 1997 account of the prominent role that English has played all over the globe for some time now. Although English is not the language with the greatest number of native speakers in the countries of the European Union (nor world-wide), its importance for communication is constantly growing. This is part and parcel of one of the latest developments of human societies, the much discussed phenomenon of globalisation. Decades before attention started to focus on the modern global scale of mutual influence and interdependence, a handful of European countries decided on gradually joining forces to compete with others. This was the birth of what has evolved into a European Union of 15 member states. It sometimes seems to be taken for granted that, since English is obviously the major lingua franca in the world, it must in consequence also be decisive for making such a union work. The following is an attempt to illustrate the variety of uses of English in the countries of the EU as well as the organization itself but at the same time it is meant to show the possible limits of a 'global' language in one part of the world. Crystal (1997: 2) simply characterises a global language as follows:

A language achieves a genuinely global status when it develops a special role that is recognized in every country.
He then goes on to mention some of the fields of dominance for English such as the media, foreign language teaching, business, etc.,1 which are elaborated on later in his book. It should be quite uncontroversial to state that English definitely plays an enormously important role in the countries of the European Union but it may still not be global in the full sense of the term with respect to these countries.

Most of the information given in the following can also be found in my PhD thesis, where many more details (especially on languague political issues) are available.2

1. The official languages of a uniting Europe3
1.1 The official languages of the present 15 member states of the European Union4

In July 1998 the member states of the European Union had as many as 13 languages that were official on a national level and 15 with official status on a regional level, if one does not count the languages that are official in more than one country more. Since the Treaties of Rome were signed in 1957 the total number of official languages has grown as follows, these figures, in contrast to the preceding ones, include double counts.

Number of additional official languagesLevel of officiality5Country/Countries
United Kingdom
6partial regionalGermany
United Kingdom
Table 1: The development of the number of official languages of the EU member states from 1957 to 1998

In more detail the restructured system of official languages of the EU member states looks as follows.

national official language
regional official language in Burgenland
regional official language in southern Carinthia
national official language
national official language
regional official language in German-speaking area
national official language
uncertain status as official language
national official language
national official language
regional official language in the administrative areas of Enotekiö, Inari, Utsjoki and part of Sodankylä
FranceFrenchnational official language
Low German

Lower Sorbian
North Frisian
Sater Frisian
Upper Sorbian
national official language
partial status of official language
partial status of official language in Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein
regional official language in Brandenburg
partial status of official language in Schleswig-Holstein
partial regional official language in Schleswig-Holstein
partial regional official language in Lower Saxony
regional official language in Saxony
national official language
partial regional official language
national offical language
national official language
national official language
regional official language in the valle d'Aosta
regional official language in the province Bolzano
regional official language in the Ladin-speaking area
regional official language in the province Trieste
national official language
national official language
national official language
national official language
regional official language in Friesland
PortugalPortuguesenational official language
SwedenSwedishnational official language
national official language
regional official language in the Val d'Arán
regional official language in Asturias
regional official language in the Basque Country and in Navarra
regional official language on the Balearic Islands and in Catalonia
regional official language in Galicia
regional official language in Valencia
United KingdomEnglish
national official language
partial regional official language in Scotland
regional official language in Wales
Table 2: The official languages of the EU member states as of July 1998

The above table clearly shows that apart from not being the language with the highest number of native speakers in the EU English is only the national official language of the UK and one of the national official languages of the Republic of Ireland.6 The other two "big" languages of the EU French and German show a quite different pattern of officiality. French is the national offficial lan-guage in two member states but also has regional official status in a fourth country. German is official on a national level in three cases, on a regional level in two and has an uncertain offi-cial status in one more country. Calculating the ratio of one language with official status in comparison with the total of the official languages of the countries of the EU the situation would certainly show a deterioration for most national official languages and an improvement for the languages termed minority languages.

The change is very marked for English since on the one hand the other two widely used languages French and German are official in more countries than English and since on the other Welsh and Scottish Gaelic have received a higher status since 1957. Even though there is certainly no danger for the status of English to drastically change, the situation for the authochthonous minority languages of the UK has improved. After three centuries of official suppression following the Act of Union between England and Wales of 1536, the Welsh Courts Act (1942) was a first attempt at giving Welsh some official recognition. This act was replaced in 1967 by the Welsh Language Act, which had been fought for in massive protests throughout the country and which made possible the use of Welsh for administrational purposes (cf. Grillo 1989). In 1993 a new Welsh Language Act was published in order to speed up the process of making Wales a truly bilingual country (cf. Welsh Language Act 1993: 1 and 18).

This means for instance that all administrational bodies in Wales are required to draw up new rules of procedure catering for those who want to use Welsh in the contact with the respective authority. The Welsh Office is trying to establish and ensure an entirely bilingual service (cf. Y Swyddfa Gymreig/Welsh Office 1996: 1). The newly founded Welsh Assembly, which opened for the first time on 12 May 1999, offers simultaneous interpretation from and into Welsh; an estimated 20% of all speeches are expected to be in Welsh (cf.,4273,3863524,00.htm. Guardian Unlimited Archive: Sign of the times). So far Scottish Gaelic can at most be called a partial regional official language in that only some local authorities may offer their services in Gaelic. As is to be expected it is mostly authorities such as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar operating in areas with a higher proportion of speakers of Gaelic that offer such services. The Scottish Office representing the government has agreed to answer letters written in Gaelic in Gaelic and has already prepared Gaelic versions of important documents (cf. Oifís Na H-Albann/The Scottish Office 1998: 3). For Irish in Northern Ireland there are not even these minimal concessions. However, if and when the UK fully ratifies the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 1992 , as was announced in 1998, the statuses of both Scottish Gaelic and Irish in Northern Ireland are likely to improve (cf. Jones 1998).

1.2 The official languages of the states to join the Union

None of the 11 or even 12 countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey) expected to join the European Union in the near future have English as an official or regional official language, nor French or German. Latvia is quite exceptional in this respect; all official documents have to be drafted in Latvian of course but the Latvian Language Act also explicitly recognizes documents in English, German and Russian to be acceptable for working purposes (Lentz and Müller 1994: 144-146). All of the countries mentioned above have complicated patterns of official languages, some of which have only recently been recognized as such by the newly independent national states, and various minority languages with or without regional official status often involving dangerous controversy. There is neither time nor space here to explicate the language policies of the candidates aspiring membership. What is quite important, however, as far as the future status of English within the European Union is concerned is the fact that once more the number of countries with English as an official language relative to the total number of member states is going to decrease.

1.3 The official and unofficial use of languages in the official institutions of the EU

Due to its supranational nature the European Union is the organization with the biggest number of official languages world-wide. At present the EU has 15 member-states and 11 official and working-languages, which are not being distinguisted or are at least not completely different in status, for the organization as such. Whereas the important international organizations dramatically restrict the number of languages being used for running them, the EU adheres to the principle of allowing at least one official national language per member-state as an official language of the EU as an organization (cf. Coulmas 1991b and Pfeil 1996), which will have to be explained in a little more detail further down. Both the Council of Europe and the UNO distinguish so-called working languages from official languages. The UNO uses English and French as working-languages since 1945, Spanish was added in 1948; this means these three languages are used on all levels of running the organization as well as on all official occasions. Chinese and Russian have been used as official languages from the very start, Arabian became official in 1973, that is another three languages are also used for official purposes. For a more detailed account cf. Ammon (1991). The German speaking countries have been sponsoring the use of German as an additional language into which documents are translated since 1974 (cf. Schloßmacher 1996: 25). Using the terminology of the Council of Europe this organization has English and French as official languages and German and Italian as working languages. What is meant is that English and French are used for daily work as well as in all official statements, German and Italian can only be used on official occasions (cf. Ammon 1991: 309/310 and Schloßmacher 1996: 25). Other organizations are examples of an even more restrictive multilingualism or only have one language to cooperate. The OECD uses English and French, the EFTA English only (cf. Haarmann 1991a: 21 and Coulmas 1992: 155).

As stated in the introduction, the European Union tries to at least officially recognise the linguistic needs of all its member states by using as many as 11 official and working languages (Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish) at present. The major aims of this policy are to facilitate a truly democratic system of representation. Firstly, the ability of standing for an election for the European Parliament does not depend on the knowledge of languages other than the one(s) of one's country of provenance. Secondly, all the communication between the member states and the institutions of the EU as well as between the institutions and the citizen should be possible in the official language the member state or the citizen choses to use. Thirdly, at least all the final and binding documents of the EU are available in all the official languages, which should make them more accessable than in the case of their publication not only in legal language but also in a foreign language. Although the EU offers a complicated and costly system of translation and simultaneous translation services, it is simply impossible to really run all the work in all the 11 official and working languages. They are most fully respected in the Parliament and the Council but on the whole the most important languages are English, French and German. Contrary to what an outsider might believe it is not English that dominates daily business in the EU institutions but French, for two obvious reasons, namely their French-speaking surrounding and the historic fact of the UK joining the organization as late as 1973. Schloßmacher's study of 1996 shows for instance that French is predominantly used by the civil servants working in the Commission, the Parliament and the Council, especially in written communication (cf. Schloßmacher 1996: 63-73). Within the Council English seems to be more important in those departments that have been created more recently such as the departments dealing with modern technology, research or the contact with countries outside the EU (cf. Fosty 1985: 107 and Labrie 1993: 111)7. The Court of Justice is a case apart for several reasons, one of which is the existence of one single internal working language French (cf. Mickel 1994:6).

Surveys among the citizens of the European Union underline the fact that English is seen as an enormously important language but at the same time not seen as the only language that should or could even be used for communication on a official EU-level (cf. for instance Roemen 1998). The following data are part of the findings of a larger survey carried out among EU citizens in all member states between December 1996 and October 1998. A questionnaire trying to elicit opinions on EU language policies was made available in all of the 11 official languages of the EU and distributed with the help of various social networks. 760 questionnaires could be analysed (for further details cf. Witt forthcoming). Asked which languages should under any circumstances continue to be official languages of the EU in the case of a reduction of their total number English was not named in a mere 0.4% of all cases. 8.5% of all answers even thought it was possible to only use English in the future.

1.4 The importance of English in computer assisted translation within the EU institutions

Since 1973 the EU has been working on a computerized terminological databank with special emphasis on the needs of the organization itself called Eurodicautom (Der Übersetzungsdienst der Europäischen Union 1994: 18 and Risch 1994: 221). By far the largest number of entries are terms in English and French with French being represented better than English. As of January 1st 1999 Eurodicautom had approximately 5 million entries distributed as shown in table 3 (cf. Fontenelle 1999: 127).

Danish429 324
Dutch477 078
English863 222
Finnish139 769
French906 106
German692 326
Greek381 873
Italian485 683
Latin14 187
Portuguese359 258
Spanish409 338
Swedish131 515
Table 3: Eurodicautom - the number of entries per language in 1999

For rough translations or quick information the EU translation services also use the translation system Systran varying in quality according to the specific language pair. Table 4 shows that in 1999 English was the language that could be translated into more languages than the other languages that can also be source languages (cf. Fontenelle 1999: 124/125):

Source languageTarget language
Table 4: The language pairs translated by Systran in 1999

2. Languages in Education
2.1 Primary Education

When trying to assess what English means for both the countries that already constitute the EU and the countries that are most likely going to join the organization, it is extremely important to examine the existing educational systems. Since it would be simply impossible to find out about the real knwoledge of foreign languages, this seems to be the closest one can get in exploring possible future choices of language in a more global society. It is fortunate to have statistical material provided by Eurydice. The following tables show figures for the school year 1994/1995, dashes indicate missing numbers or cases where a given language is the mother tongue. All the figures have been calculated on the basis of the figures given in Eurydice, Education Training Youth and Eurostat 1997.

Only English and French are important foreign languages in the time-tables of schoolchildren in primary schools in the EU and selected countries aspiring membership.

Foreign languages at primary school level
Austria8 - -
French Community Belgium1 % -
Flemish Community Belgium0.0%35%
France14.1% -
Ireland - 0.0%
United Kingdom - -
Czech Republic - -
Hungary - -
Table 5: The percentage of children at primary school level learning English or French (cf. Eurydice, Education Training Youth und Eurostat 1997: 155)

According to a letter from the Slovene Ministry of Education of February 1998 German or English are compulsory subjects in the primary schools of the country.

2.2 Secondary Education

In secondary school English, French, German and Spanish are taught to some extent in the schools of the EU and of some future member states.

Foreign languages at secondary school level
Austria9 - - - -
French Community Belgium59.6% - 5.2%2.6%
Flemish Community Belgium70.0%98.2%22.7%0.2%
Finland99.0%11.1%32.7% -
France95.3% - 28.0%31.9%
Germany93.2%23.7% - 1.0%
Greece - - - -
Ireland - 70.2%26.4%3.8%
Spain95.4%8.3%0.2% -
United Kingdom - - - -
Czech Republic90.0%12.2%70.0%2.4%
Poland69.9%19.6%55.5% -
Table 6: The percentage of children at secondary school level learning English, French, German and/or Spanish (cf. Eurydice, Education Training Youth und Eurostat 1997: 165)

Letters from the Ministries of Education of Lithuania and Slovenia of February 1998 underline the tendency of English being the most widely taught foreign language in the schools of Europe:

foreign language1st foreign language2nd foreign language

Table 7: The percentage of all Lithuanian students at secondary level learning a foreign language in the school year 1994/95

foreign languagepercentage of students

Table 8: The percentage of all Slovene students at secondary level learning a foreign language in the school year 1994/95

2.3 EU programmes established to expand the knowledge of foreign languages10

Both the EU programmes ERASMUS and TEMPUS are intended to give more impetus to the mobility of European students as well as to enhance their knowledge of foreign languages. The newer programme LINGUA has all EU citizens as a target group and aims at expanding the knowledge of all 11 official languages of the EU plus Irish and Luxemburgish (Druesne 1994 and Labrie 1993: 291-301). According to Labrie and Nelde (1994: 122) English is not explicitly excluded but the prevailing emphasis is on all the languages that are more rarely learnt as a foreign language.

3. The mass media

Depending on the kind of medium on the one hand and the specific country on the other the number of instances where English is being used in European media outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland varies greatly. For the Netherlands Ridder (1995: 50) notes:

The Dutch use their knowledge of English passively when reading in English. Books and magazines in English are read by a relative minority, but this minority is well catered for. In the Netherlands every bookshop has books in English. In small-town shops the collection is no larger than one or two bookcases full, consisting of mainly general fiction and crime novels, but in large cities bookshops usually have an entire department devoted to books in English, including literature, poetry, books on language, and a reference section. Magazines in English are also readily available, particularly magazines on computing.
What is true for books and magazines in English is also true for some English-speaking TV channels. The BBC and news channels like CNN are watched by a relatively small group of viewers, but channels showing music videos and popular films, such as NBC Super Channel and Sky Television, are hugely popular.

As far as publishing in English is concerned the availability of material does not stop with publications from English-speaking countries. In Eastern Europe especially many newspapers have started to be published in English, Griffin (1997: 35) talks of as many as 17 English-language newspapers established in Eastern Europe including the former Soviet Union.

The other end of the spectrum is illustrated by a recent development in Germany where the National Geographic magazine and the Financial Times are now available in a German edition and not only in the English original. Germany also is one of the European countries with a so-called "big" language that can afford dubbing films contrary to other European countries as illustrates Gottlieb (1999: 142):

In the Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Flemish-speaking Belgium, nearly all foreign-language filmic material is subtitled (not dubbed, as in Germany, Spain, Italy and France), and [...] most imported productions are in English [.]

What is most remarkable in this context is that, as Gottlieb (1999: 143) points out:

In Britain [...] even the notion of 'foreign' films or TV programs, no matter how these are presented to the domestic audience, has an exotic ring to large segments of the population.

So far important domains of the presence of English in the media, namely print media, TV and music11 have been mentioned. In the future, as can already been seen nowadays, one area will most definitely be of unprecedented importance - the Internet. Trying to use it effectively almost always is tantamount to knowing some English to say the least. Comments Crystal (1997:107):12

English continues to be the chief lingua franca of the Internet - a position which is now be-ginning to be acknoledged in the popular media. For example, in April 1996 The New York Times carried an article by Michael Specter headed 'World, Wide, Web: 3 English Words', in which the role of English was highlighted: [...] the Internet and World Wide Web really only work as great unifiers if you speak English.

4. Business

In a nutshell the situation of English for business affairs looks as follows (Wright 1993: 45):

The linguistic legacy of the British Empire and the indisputable excellence of the United States in many technological areas has led to the use of English as a lingua franca in many commercial and industrial situations, with the consequence that the need for foreign language competence has not always been perceived or rewarded in British commerce and industry.

The other side of the medal are the perceived needs of companies in non-English speaking countries. Ammon (1994a: 7) for instance sums up linguistic prerequisites as required in job advertisements in the major newspapers of various European countries. The following table shows the figures for English and German in 1991:

Great Britain - 7%
Table 9: Language requirements in newspaper job offers in 1991

Job offers for a number of branches will expect applicants to speak English without even mentioning this fact, so an even greater need of English in business is to be expected.13

Firms epecially in countries with so-called minor languages such as Finnish have started employing technical writers who will produce manuals in the firm's international language only, which is mainly English, without having to translate these from language used in the surrounding environment. Texts in Finnish will in these cases have ceased to be written altogether. German Chambers of Commerce predominantly advise companies to use English as the preferred language of correspondence in international business (cf. Ammon 1999: 105/106).

Just to take one particular subbranch of business, accounting, English does not dominate here on a national level but as soon as companies decide to use more than one reporting language for their annual reports it is mainly English as table 10 (adopted from Parker 2000: 50) clearly shows.

Secondary reporting languagenumber of companies

Table 10: Reporting languages in European annual reports

The French Loi Toubon of 1994 is one rare example of actively discouraging the use of English in the world of business. The core part of this law makes the use of French obligatory in business, advertising and the media (cf. Davidson 1995: 41).

5. Science

The importance of English in the world of science is constantly growing. Not only is it quite understandably the major language of direct communication between scientists world-wide, but it also has started to replace the use of other traditionally important languages in scientific publications. Since 1997 two important German magazines for chemistry, Liebigs Annalen and Chemische Berichte, are exclusively published in English, no longer in German; the magazine Angewandte Chemie is being published in both the traditional German version and the newer English version (cf. Hoheisel 1999 and Stubbs 1998: 21). It seems to be the case that only articles written in English are likely to be quoted (and probably also read in the first place) with a certain frequency (cf. Ammon 1999: 109/110). One might go as far as to say that English has become the lingua franca of Science and that those who do not speak English will be ignored as Zimmer (1996: 29) does.14 This tendency is especially strong in smaller countries who have never had a body of scientific literature available in their own language(s). Loonen (1996: 7) describes the situation in the Netherlands as follows:

[I]n higher education it becomes more and more difficult - and rare - to set reading material in foreign languages in languages other than English, and in many English study books references to publications in other languages are often missing, as if they were non-existent.

6. Transnational Communication

Research carried out by Gellert-Novak in 1992 shed light on the use of foreign languages in transnational communication situations in the so-called Euroregions. A survey among official institutions co-operating across the boundaries of Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and former Yugoslavia surprisingly reveals that English is, quite contrary to what may have been expected, not the language that is mostly used in the official communication between these countries (cf. Gellert-Novak 1994: 134). It is hardly used in the western Euroregions. In the east it is only Austria that uses English in order to underline its neutrality and to prevent being accused of an offensive propagation of German (cf. Gellert-Novak 1994: 134). English is more important, however, when it comes to contacting the Council of Europe, even though German is in the lead here, too, with French being the second most used language (cf. Gellert-Novak 1994: 134).

7. Reactions

In the context of the need to speak English in business life the French Loi Toubon was already mentioned. This is just one example of negative reactions to a steadily growing importance of English in areas that used to be the domain of other languages. The situation of English is peculiar in that perhaps no other language has ever been so important on a global scale and at the same time met with outright hostility. Many languages are undergoing a process of massive lexical transformation due to loans from English. For decades now the German-speaking countries have had heated debates about the necessity and use of anglicisms (cf. e.g. Ammon (1994a: 2/3), Carstensen (1979), Crystal (1995: 114), Duckworth (1979), Fink (1979: 354/355), Herbst (1994: 129 ff.), Jablonski (1990: 133 ff.), Viereck (1980a) und Viereck (1980b), Viereck, Viereck and Winter (1979: 318/319). Interestingly enough protests against English becoming dominant in certain areas are especially strong in countries with so-called major languages, whose speakers are not used to not being able to use their own language.15 There are exceptions, however. Ross (1997: 26) for instance states for Spain:

In Spain there is no comparable fuss. It is true that the (negative) influence of English is a common subject among language specialists and academics, and they have little difficulty in finding examples to quote. Outside academia, however, no-one is really concerned [...]. The reason, of course, is that Spaniards do not regard their language as being threatened by the English language or anything else. Theirs is the tongue of an entire continent (excepting Brazil), a large part of the US and a major European country. Its importance is increasing, not receding. The impact of English is therefore seen as a matter for chat-show linguists, not an issue of public concern.

On another level English is not always welcomed as a dominant language in the institutions of the European Union. In a letter dated 16/2/1998 written in response to questions enquiring into the party's stance on EU language political matters the institutions were accused of tending to give prominence to the exclusive use of English, which should be fought.16 According to Phillipson (1993: 36) the European Parliament has equally discussed measures to halt the growing need for English and its dominance. He describes them as:

initiatives taken as a result of the concern of some European parliamentarians that the preponderance of English in economic life, and science and technology represents a threat to the languages and cultures of the European Community, and the concepts and modes of thought embodied in these (European Parliament Working Document 1-83/84/B: 27)

8. Is English global in the European Union?

Even though the enormous importance of English for communication in Europe and its remarkably high prestige are undeniable facts it is questionable whether it is entirely justified to talk of English as a global language in the European Union. Global on a global scale it definitely is but perhaps not global in the meaning of dominating all parts of the world or rather all areas of human activity in all parts of the world to the same extent. There are exceptional cases where English is not important at all in Europe even when communication involves partners of different linguistic backgrounds. To summarize the points elaborated on above let us just list some of the examples of not using English once again:

To conclude, one should also not forget that English is not the language used by most people in Europe either at home or at work.


1 Cf. Crystal (1997: 2-8).

2 Cf. Witt (forthcoming).

3 Although official language might seem to be an uncontroversial and quite self-explanatory technical term, this is not the case at all. Let us roughly define official languages here as standard languages that can and/or have to be used for all official purposes in which a state or an organization needs them. Their knowledge may be required for entering contact with any official body and for working within such bodies, cf. Ammon (1991), Blaustein and Blaustein-Epstein (1986), Calvet (1986), Dittmar (1994), Haarmann (1975) and Mickel (1994).

4 For a complete summary and additional information cf. Witt (forthcoming).

5 The terminology for describing the status and various degrees of the officiality of languages is anything but uncontroversial. National and regional should here be taken to have their straightforward everyday meanings on the whole, for a discussion of the indeterminacies of the existing terminology cf. Witt (forthcoming) and for a brief summary of the distinction between national official and regional official languages cf. Ammon (1994b: 17). Partional regional official status is a new term used to cater for the languages that are not regional official in the strict sense but whose status includes some of the defining properties of true official languages.

6 According to article 8 of the Irish Constitution Irish is the national and first official language, English only the second official language, for official purposes the use of either language may be made compulsory (cf. An Roinn Ealaíon, Cultúir, Gaeltachta/Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht 1997: 12). According to article 25 Irish is privileged in that the Irish version of the constitution is legally binding in those cases where the English version may be interpreted differently (ibid.).

7 Compare Labrie (1994: 249): "A la Commission, le français joue un rôle important comme langue surtout dans les premières directions générales à avoir été cr&eaacute;és, comme par exemple celle destinée à l'agriculture, alors que l'anglais joue un rôle croissant dans les directions générales de plus récente date, comme celles à caractère économique ou technologique."

8 In the school year 1991/92 48.8% of all pupils at primary school level learnt English, 0.1% French (BMUK 1993: 5).

9 In the school year 1991/92 94.0% of all students at secondary school level learnt English, 14.3% French and 0.9% Spanish (BMUK 1993: 4).

10 Cf. Labrie 1993: 281 ff.

11 Crystal (1997: 94) gives detailed information on the topic popular music: "In the 1990s, the English-language character of the international pop music world is extraordinary. Although every country has its popluar singers, singing in their own language, only a few manage to break through into the international arena, and in order to do so it seems they need to be singing English. The 1990 edition of The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music is an instructive guide: of the 557 pop groups it includes, 549 (99 per cent) work entirely or predominantly in English; of the 1,219 solo vocalists, 1,156 (95 per cent) sing in English. The mother tongue of the singers is apparently irrelevant. The entire international career of ABBA, the Swedish group with over twenty hit records in the 1970s, was in English. These days, the sound of the English language, through the medium of popular song, is heard wherever there is a radio set. [...] 'Happy birthday to you' is widely sung at children's birthday parties. Finding genuinely local music can be extremely difficult."

12 Compare Cumming 1995.

13 Cf. Glück (1996: 21): "In vielen Stellenausschreibungen werden Sprachkenntnisse (in der Regel Englischkenntnisse) stillschweigend vorausgesetzt, etwa in Berufen, die mit Computern, Telematik, internationalem Marketing, internationalem Recht, Tourismus usw. zu tun haben. Deshalb ist generell von einem noch höheren Anteil des Englischen auszugehen."

14 The original reads as follows: "Englisch wird zur Lingua Franca der Wissenschaften, und wer sie nicht beherrscht, [sic!] wird ignoriert." Also see Ammon (1994a: 6).

15 Cf. Gellert-Novak (1993: 11): "Die Frage nach der Verwendung 'anderer Sprachen', außer Englisch, wird von den Sprachgemeinschaften mit unterschiedlicher Dringlichkeit gestellt. Während sich Sprecher kleinerer Sprachgemeinschaften schon fast damit abgefunden haben, daß sie, um in Europa verstanden zu werden, eine andere als ihre Muttersprache sprechen müssen, reagieren Sprecher von Sprachen, die vor einiger Zeit noch Weltsprachen waren, verärgert, wenn man sie in ihrer Muttersprache nicht mehr versteht.

16 The original read as follows: "[On] invoque[...] volontiers la complexité des procédures de traduction et leur coût pour tenter d'imposer la réduction du nombre de langues de travail. Cela nous paraît inacceptable. [...] Le problème serait avant tout politique: ce serait clairement signifier que la diversité culturelle de l'Union est bafouée et que certains Etats sont considérés comme de seconde zone. Cela favoriserait également l'usage de l'anglais comme langue "vernaculaire" [sic!] des institutions, les deux ou trois autres langues de travail qui auraient été choisies tombant peu à peu en désuétude. Cette tendance est déjà à l'oeuvre, de manière fort inquiétante, au sein de la Commission, et doit être combattue."