The Relative Importance of the European Languages
AbstractThe European Union has introduced a “two foreign languages policy” with little solid knowledge of the consequences. I attempt in this paper to provide some facts for a serious discussion of language policy. In the first part of the paper, I look at the European languages on a world scale, employing the relevant measure GNP rather than the population measure usually preferred by linguists and politicians. The results are quite dramatic as English can be shown to be completely dominant. In the second part of the paper, I look at the relative importance of the European languages in Europe. In order to put the discussion on a firm footing I propose two indices from the linguistic literature, the Greenberg index of communication in a union and the Lieberson index of successful communication between countries. These indices are computed for Europe (25) using Eurobarometer data. In the third part, I look at the likely future linguistic development of Europe, and take a sceptical look at the “two foreign languages policy” as the costs of implementing such a policy for many persons in Europe would seem likely to exceed the benefits.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 06-23.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building 26, DK-1353 Copenhagen K., Denmark
Phone: (+45) 35 32 30 10
Fax: +45 35 32 30 00
Web page: http://www.econ.ku.dk
More information through EDIRC
language; English; German; French;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
- Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Shlomo Weber & Victor Ginsburgh, 2004.
"Languages Disenfranchisement in the European Union,"
2004.4, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Language disenfranchisement in the European Union," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5263, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- GINSBURGH, Victor & WEBER, Shlomo, . "Language disenfranchisement in the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1831, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Berman, Eli & Lang, Kevin & Siniver, Erez, 2003.
"Language-skill complementarity: returns to immigrant language acquisition,"
Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 265-290, June.
- Eli Berman & Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 1999. "Language Skill Complementarity: Returns to Immigrant Language Acquisition," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 96, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
- Eli Berman & Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 2000. "Language-Skill Complementarity: Returns to Immigrant Language Acquisition," NBER Working Papers 7737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002.
"Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle,"
Journal of Population Economics,
Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
- Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 1999. "Immigrant Earnings: Language Skills, Linguistic Concentrations and the Business Cycle," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 152, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Albert Saiz & Elena Zoido, 2002. "The returns to speaking a second language," Working Papers 02-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- Victor Ginsburgh, 2005.
"Languages, genes and cultures,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/1677, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Jeffrey Church & Ian King, 1993. "Bilingualism and Network Externalities," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(2), pages 337-45, May.
- Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-88, April.
- Lang Kevin & Siniver Erez, 2009.
"The Return to English in a Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants and Native Israelis in Israel,"
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,
De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, November.
- Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 2006. "The Return To English In A Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants And Native Israelis In Israel," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-033, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 2006. "The Return to English in a Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants and Native Israelis in Israel," NBER Working Papers 12464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 2006. "The Return To English In A Non-English Speaking Country: Russian Immigrants And Native Israelis In Israel," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-159, Boston University - Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Hoffmann).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.