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Legal Integration and Language DiversityRethinking Translation in EU Lawmaking$
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C.J.W. Baaij

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190680787

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190680787.001.0001

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Formalizing the Primacy of English

Formalizing the Primacy of English

(p.57) 3 Formalizing the Primacy of English
Legal Integration and Language Diversity

C.J.W. Baaij

Oxford University Press

The first step in evaluating and proposing an alternative to current EU Translation is determining which language version is and should be the original text and thus the “source text” for translation into the other language versions. Notwithstanding the rules and rhetoric of EU’s Institutional Multilingualism, English is in reality the language that participants in the EU legislative process use primarily to draft and debate EU legislation. Analogously, the Court of Justice of the EU appears to give more weight to a small number of widely used languages when interpreting EU legislation, particularly the English language version. Europe’s cultural diversity and EU’s democratic legitimacy demand that EU Institutions acknowledge this reality and accept English as the institutional and pan-European lingua franca. Moreover, they ought to formally recognize the English language version as the original and sole authentic legislative text, and thus as the source text in EU Translation.

Keywords:   Institutional Multilingualism, EU official language, English, lingua franca, equal authenticity, language versions, comparative language analysis, Court of Justice of the European Union, Brexit

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