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How Many Languages Do We Need?The Economics of Linguistic Diversity$
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Victor Ginsburgh and Shiomo Weber

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136899

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136899.001.0001

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Multilingualism in the European Union: A Case Study in Linguistic Policy

Multilingualism in the European Union: A Case Study in Linguistic Policy

(p.162) Chapter 8 Multilingualism in the European Union: A Case Study in Linguistic Policy
How Many Languages Do We Need?

Victor Ginsburgh

Shlomo Weber

Princeton University Press

This chapter presents a case study of linguistic policies in the European Union. Linguistic policies should achieve a delicate balance, taking into account efficiency considerations without forgetting the will of the people. It suggests that although the English-only solution may yield greater efficiency and reduce costs, it could generate a substantial degree of disenfranchisement that leads to less political unity and citizens' loss of interest in a true European Union. The chapter presents alternative solutions that include the political feasibility of altering the extent of translation to some core languages; the provision of compensating transfers for countries that would be ready to cover their own translation needs'; and some fair methods of sharing the global cost of translation and interpretation, which could be of use in other parts of the world.

Keywords:   European Union, linguistic policy, linguistic diversity, language, disenfranchisement

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