The Challenges Of Multilingualism

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The European Union comprises 28 countries and 24 official languages in the European Union making multilingualism a challenge and an asset for Europe. Since most European nations have been built on the basis of their own languages, it can be said that the European Union is solely based on its linguistic diversity. Multilingualism has been a fundamental principle of the European Community, which guarantees the equality of every language and a respect for linguistic and cultural diversity. Such respect was “translated” into action from the beginnings of the community, before being formally defined as a policy in itself: therefore, no legislation can come into force at the European level without it being produced in the 24 official languages.…show more content…
De Swaan, for instance, contends that Europeans do not understand each other well enough even to disagree because multilingualism is a barrier to understanding and thus impoverishes political debate. Even political theorists like Kymlicka, who recognize the need for a normative theory of language rights grounded in social justice and fairness, argue that “linguistic diversity is one of the most important obstacles to building a stronger sense of European citizenship”. However, lack of a common language does not in itself prevent emergence of a public discursive space or democratic deliberation. If democratic politics is indeed “politics in the vernacular”, a truly participatory dialogue should be carried out in as many languages as possible so that further work on the Platform can meet its stated objectives of “putting in place an on-going process aiming to give a voice to all those committed to promoting multilingualism in Europe” and “bringing multilingualism closer to the citizen”. Thus, multilingualism in particular is a unique and significant element to European
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