These days, it’s not just the UK and the US that are divided by a common language. Over the past few decades, English has become one of the most frequently used working languages of the EU. However, most EU workers are not native English speakers. Enter “Euro-English,” an interesting dialect distinguished by common mispellings, mistranslations, false cognates and malapropisms.
These mistakes generally aren’t random. They are often influenced by the speaker’s native language. So, different people end up “misusing” the same words in the same ways over and over again, until the new meanings become commonly understood in the halls of the EU.
In 2013, a frustrated EU bureaucrat named Jeremy Stephen Gardner catalogued these “Euro-isms” in a delightfully curmudgeonly report called Misused English Words and Expressions in Publications. In the report, he explains that
Over the years, the European institutions have developed a vocabulary that differs from that of any recognised form of English. It includes words that do not exist or are relatively unknown to native English speakers outside the EU institutions and often even to standard spellcheckers/grammar checkers (‘planification’, ‘to precise’ or ‘telematics’ for example) and words that are used with a meaning, often derived from other languages, that is not usually found in English dictionaries…
So, what happens if Brexit becomes a reality? That would leave the Republic of Ireland and tiny Malta as the only EU countries where English is an official language. Yet, EU workers and bureaucrats are unlikely to stop using it as a second language.
English Definition: Someone who performs in a TV show, play, film or other theatrical or broadcast performance. “Do you think Tom Cruise is a good actor?”
Euro-English Definition: Via Misused English Words, “The people and/or organisations involved in doing something”. It is also used for countries involved in EU activities and initiatives. Shakespeare may have said “All the world’s a stage,” but I don’t think this is quite what he had in mind. Read more