English a poor alternative for the Nordic region.

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Mar 5 14:25:49 UTC 2007


English a poor alternative

"English should not be a language of everyday discourse in the Nordic
Region. Even though English is creeping deeper and deeper into the Nordic
social fabric, the Scandinavian languages should remain the natural method
of communication in the Region," Professor Niels Davidsen-Nielsen, chair
of the Danish Language Council emphasised at a language seminar in Finland
on Thursday. "English is a poor alternative. "Nordic people are not
actually as good at English as we think we are," he told the seminar.

According to Davidsen-Nielsen there will also be a price to pay if the
Nordic countries are to concentrate more and more on English. Since Nordic
people do not have a perfect grasp of English, communications will become
less subtle and personal. "The English that many of us speak, especially
young people, is one-dimensional. We say what we are capable of saying
rather than what we would really like to say," he added. Nordic people
should also modify their speech, especially the pronunciation, when
communicating in their native languages with people from other Nordic
countries. In this context the professor feels that the Danes in
particular need to take a close look at themselves.

He stresses that the Nordic countries should pay greater attention to
strengthening their language community and mutual understanding, and that
includes introducing specific measures to that end. The Nordic countries'
language policies and language goals are defined in the Nordic Language
Convention, which celebrated its 20th anniversary on Thursday, and in a
language policy declaration.

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