Monday, June 06, 2005

The Franconian Language

Pourquoi la langue administrative dans une territoire avec des populations des langues maternelles diverses s'appel "lingua franca"? Je ne sais pas[1], mais j'ai une théorie.

Si, mi amici, è neolatino, ma, sigurno, non è la storia completa.

Mais, peut-être, il y a une autre raison: Parce que La France est la plus ancienne démocratie du monde (Oh, shut up, you Anglo-Saxons with your supposedly "Glorious" Revolution and your Independence-cum-slavery stuff! Und, Eidgenossen, seid auch mal lieber mucksmäuschenstill, ich sag' nur: Frauenwahlrecht!), et la démocratie necessities un langage commun pour délibérations efficaces. Tout de même, c'est la lingua *franca*, pas la lingua angla.

When La Grande Nation turned peasants into Frenchmen, it not only opened up job opportunities for those she ruthlessly stripped of brezhoneg, Provençal, Euskara and other vernaculars, but she also allowed for effective deliberations among citoyens. Sure, other factors also were required, but a lingua franca is central for a functioning public sphere (or shall I say Öffentlichkeit as a tribute to Herr Habermas?).

There are some, who believe that different languages are not an obstacle to democratic deliberations. They say, it doesn't really matter, that the English can't distinguish blu from celeste. And, who would dispute that? Especially, since die Roten face die Schwarzen in politics? But I firmly believe that the democratic deficit of the EU can only be solved, when we all speak English. Could have been another language, at other times, but M. Bonaparte fortunately blew it.

There are three reasons, why democratic deliberations require a lingua franca:

1 Despite the current hegemony of nationalisms and multiculturalisms, democracy is actually a concept that is based on freedom and equality among individuals, not groups: these individuals need to talk to each other, which can only be achieved in a common language.

2 Different languages (langues, not langages) are different systems of meaning, which cannot be translated isomorphically. Een volk is not a people; ein Volk not un popolo. D66 are neither F.P.Ö. nor Forza Italia. Citizens talk past each other, if they rely on simple translations.

3 The mass media will keep a national focus, as long as Slovenes and Estonians read and watch news in their languages.

I rest my case for now and expect Belgians to object. Bedankt!

Thomas, liberally accepting as much as possible, but conservatively emitting only [en-US].

PS: I apologize for my semi-colonialism, not using any Slavic or Finno-Ugric languages (but not for omitting my passport-compatriots: If you recognize FYROM as Macedonia, I might reconsider).

1 Actuellement, je penses que je sais: Encore les arabes sont responsable!

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