Euro English

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Euro English
RegionEuropean Union
Language codes
ISO 639-3
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Euro English is a set of varieties of English used in Continental Europe and especially in the institutions of the European Union or among young mobile Europeans (such as in the Erasmus programme).


The term was first used by Carstensen in 1986 to denote the adoption of anglicisms in Europe.[1]

The enlargement of the European Union diminished the influence of other working languages (German and French). The development of the Erasmus Programme created a new class of mobile Europeans who needed a lingua franca to communicate across Europe.

The question whether the appropriation of English by non-native speakers in Continental Europe is giving rise to a potential European variety of English has not yet been resolved. Mollin rejected Euro-English as a variety of English.[1] According to Forche, many of the features suggested to be characteristic of Euro-English could be identified as learners’ mistakes, although there are some nativization tendencies. Future institutionalization could happen under the influence of young mobile Europeans.[2]


There are two influences in Euro English: one top-down, and one bottom-up.

The top-down influence comes from institutions such as the English Style Guide, issued by the European Commission, which recommends ways to use English in written official documents. "On the whole it follows standard British English usage, but in cases where British English has alternatives, it makes decisions—such as recommending the spelling judgment, not judgement.".[3]

The bottom-up influence comes from the preferences of the people (38% of the EU’s citizens speak English as a foreign language).[3]

Some words are given a plural with a final 's' in Euro-English, such as 'informations' and 'competences', to match similar words in European languages (such as 'informations' and 'compétences' in French) while this might be seen as incorrect in British or American English.[3]

Some words such as 'actor,' 'axis' or 'agent' are given a meaning as wide as in European languages while their meaning would keep a narrower range in native English.[3]


Standard English Euro English Origin
tourist, used attributively touristic Touristic is not commonly used to describe places catering to tourism, unlike its cognates in other European languages (cf. French touristique, Dutch toeristisch, German touristisch, Spanish/Portuguese/Galician turístico, Catalan turístic, Italian turistico, Turkish turistik, Polish turystyczny, Serbo-Croatian/Macedonian turístički).
Last October I had the opportunity to attend a workshop. Last October I had the possibility to attend a workshop. possibilité in French can mean "opportunity"; and the etymology of the English word possibility comes from the (Old) French one.
That Mercedes is my dentist's car. That Mercedes is the car of my dentist. Possessive in Romance languages. For instance: La voiture de mon dentiste in French, L'auto del mio dentista in Italian, O carro do meu dentista in Portuguese, El coche de mi dentista in Spanish.
current actual The English adjective actual has undergone semantic shift and is now a false friend (cf. cognates in German aktuell, Dutch actueel, French actuel, Romanian/Spanish/Catalan/Galician actual, Portuguese atual, Italian attuale, Czech aktuální, Polish aktualny).[4]
possibly eventually The English adjective eventual has undergone a semantic widening (cf. the cognates in French éventuel, German eventuell, Polish ewentualny, Danish eventuelt, Dutch eventueel).
to provide (for) to foresee French prévoir,[5] Dutch voorzien, German vorsehen (für)
We are offering a challenging position in our unit. We propose a challenging position in our unit. proposer in French can mean "to offer" or "to suggest".
What is it called; what do you call it? How is it called; how do you call it? Many European languages use how rather than what in their equivalent constructions: Italian Come si chiama?, German Wie heißt es?, French Comment ça s'appelle?, Polish Jak to się nazywa?.
Please enter your PIN code below. Please introduce your PIN code below. introduire in French can mean "to insert" or "to type in", the same in Portuguese with "introduzir" or in Spanish with "introducir".
In the end I am staying in France. Finally I am staying in France. Finally is not commonly used to describe an ultimate decision.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mollin, Sandra (2006). Euro-English: Assessing Variety Status. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. p. 6. ISBN 382336250X.
  2. ^ Forche, Christian R. (November 2012). "On the emergence of Euro-English as a potential European variety of English – attitudes and interpretations". Linguistics. Freie Universität Berlin. 13 (2).
  3. ^ a b c d Nordquist, Richard (21 March 2017). "Euro-English in Language". ThoughtCo. ThoughtCo, a Dotdash brand. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  4. ^ How to Write Clearly (PDF), Directorate-General for Translation, European Commission, retrieved 28 July 2018
  5. ^ Gardner, Jeremy (8 May 2013), A Brief List of Misused English Terms in EU Publications (PDF), European Court of auditors Secretariat General Translation Directorate, archived from the original (PDF) on 18 June 2013

Further reading[edit]

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