Language and the EU

Geoffrey K. Pullum’s recent entry in Language Log repeated some dubious statistics. Working Languages presents a corrected version. The latter is taken into account in a final note under the Language Log entry, where it is described as ‘No Happy New Year from…’ (although it did start with a compliment to LL).

I suppose the same could apply to my comment at Working Languages. If such comments seem irritated, it is because running down the EU and perpetuating blatant inaccuracies about it is another snowclone. Now I don’t think LL is rude to snowcloners, but it probably doesn’t wish them a happy new year, and of course the functioning of the EU plays a different role in our lives than the Inuit vocabulary on snow. Still, I do hope Geoffrey Pullum has a happy new year, at least from now on.

Like snowclones, inaccuracies about Europe have acquired their own name: Euromyths, and here’s a list of euromyths. Nothing about translation there: it isn’t such a crowd puller in newspaper stories. But the entry on EU workers does suggest that EU translators are wrongly believed to be able to escape prosecution for traffic offences:

UKIP MEP Jeffrey Titford said: “Imagine if some young thug slings a brick through your window and the police arrest him. How would you feel if they had to let him go because daddy works for the EU?”

Mind you, I’m not sure if the author of Working Languages could pass as a ‘young thug’.

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