Gaeilge

More interesting Irish language discussion on Slugger.

Is the intent of the EU’s policies on language simply to facilitate communication between members, or to foster cultural identity? Of all of the new countries joining the EU, are there any that are largely monolingual in their own language? If the majority can also speak English, German, French, Spanish or whatever, what is the justification of designating their languages as officially recognized EU languages?

We go through a bit of this in Hawai’i as well. Hawaiian is an official language of the state, however, while election ballots can be found in many other languages, they are not available in Hawaiian. Why? The justification is that there are no Hawaiian monoglots; Hawaiian speakers all (to my knowledge) also speak English. However, this attitude does undermine the constitutional designation of the language. It doesn’t matter that I can speak English – if I want to cast my ballot in Hawaiian I have the constitutional right to do so.

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