Average number of languages spoken by the EU population
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What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages? "Trilingual" ... And 2? "Bilingual'. One? " "American."
I think that by the criteria of the study I speak three. I can probably still carry on a conversation in French if I have to. Although it might depend on the conversation.
I want to see the numbers for US states.
What I find interesting about this survey is that it disproves that. "Just over half of Europeans (54%) are able to hold a conversation in at
least one additional language", "Europeans are slightly less likely to say that they understand any foreign language well enough to be able to use it to communicate online (e.g. using email, Twitter, Facebook etc.), with two fifths (39%) saying that they can use at least one foreign language in this way." Half of Europeans are monolingual.
You know the county with the largest percentage of native French speakers? It's in Maine.
The backside, of course, is that you acquire books you don't have time to read in multiple languages.
>14 MarthaJeanne: Thank you. I'm glad to know someone else looked at it.
For political reasons, they consider Czech and Slovakian different languages (and in the next round, Croatian and Serbian). Then English and American would be considered two languages as well. While the survey is thus too generous, it is too strict regarding the mutual intelligibility of languages. Italian and Spanish have an overlap of 80%. One can easily survive and be understood just by speaking Italian in Spain (or Romania). There is even a sub-genre of Swedish-Danish TV series with actors speaking both languages intermixed.
The biggest flaw, however, is ignoring immigrants which produces such funny results that 7% of Germans interviewed use "German" online. This artifact is produced by asking German residents whose mother tongue is not German what foreign language they use online - that is almost all of them, not surprisingly.
It's pretty amusing here in the Midwest, too. Some of my favourites:
-- Versailles, OH which rhymes with tails
-- Goethe here in Chicago which has 3 syllables and sounds like "Go With Me"
-- Lima, OH which sounds like an industrial-sized vegetable
I'm sure it's widespread throughout the States.
>19 prosfilaes: Oh I like that 'the English city of Calais"! So it was for many a century, but do we really know how it was pronounced back then? After 1066 and all that all the educated Brits spoke Norman French anyway! (Sort of Viking with an accent.)
When I lived on that bus route, Goethe was routinely pronounced "GOTH-ee." One day in the 1970s, a bespectacled, artsy young man corrected the bus driver with a loud, firm "GER-teh!"
And let's not forget Devon Avenue, "dih-VONN."
However, French does not get totally jettisoned. For native speakers:
Knowledge of the smaller/exotic languages is probably decreasing labor flexibility as knowing Welsh or Basque will bind people further to the territory. Besides the commendable culture and diversity angle, there is the EU's urge for standardization and selection of a lingua franca where the chief contenders English, German and French are embattled in a futile struggle for (regional) dominance.
The online OED indicates only two instances of this currently irregular use of 'backside', both of them seventeenth century. AndreasJ would be advised not to use this in UK, where it might raise eyebrows, being common usage for what in the US is strangely called 'ass' (I do not refer to the long-eared beast that eats grass).
Surely it has been replaced in this usage by 'downside'?