Tuesday, June 01, 2004

European UnionMy latest Tribune language column:
On the multilingual chaos of the newly enlarged European Union.
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The Plain English Campaign reports this week that the EU has ordered officials to reduce the average length of EU documents from 32 pages to 15 in order to reduce the burden on translators.

Here's the Guardian's superb story on the linguistic ramifications of enlargement, and here's the NY Times'. Here's the EU's boastful press release about that May 4 meeting. Here's the Guardian's guide to EU enlargement, here's the BBC's, and here's the EU's.

The EU also has excellent language pages on each of its acceding members: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Updates: From the BBC and Economist.

I tacked on an item to my column about the French author who wrote a novel without verbs (as a publicity stunt, evidently). Here's the article from the Telegraph; here and here are posts on it from Language Log, which also refers to a verbless student humor essay,and to other works lacking nouns, prepositions, and adjectives. There's also a short story written in 1939 without the letter E--an example, we learn, of a lipogram (an apparent etymological sibling to "liposuction").

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