Linguistic issues concerning the euro
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Several linguistic issues have arisen in relation to the spelling of the words euro and cent in the many languages of the member states of the European Union, as well as in relation to grammar and the formation of plurals.
In official documents, the name "euro" must be used for the nominative singular in all languages, though different alphabets are taken into account and plural forms and declensions are accepted. In documents other than EU legal texts, including national legislation, other spellings are accepted according to the various grammatical rules of the respective language. For European Union legislation, the spelling of the words for the currency is prescribed for each language; in the English-language version of European Union legislation the forms "euro" and "cent" are used invariantly in the singular and plural, even though this departs from usual English practice for currencies.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Languages of part of the European Union
- 2.1 Asturian
- 2.2 Bulgarian
- 2.3 Catalan
- 2.4 Cornish
- 2.5 Croatian
- 2.6 Czech
- 2.7 Danish
- 2.8 Dutch
- 2.9 English
- 2.10 Faroese
- 2.11 Finnish
- 2.12 French
- 2.13 German
- 2.14 Greek
- 2.15 Hungarian
- 2.16 Irish
- 2.17 Italian
- 2.18 Latvian
- 2.19 Leonese
- 2.20 Lithuanian
- 2.21 Maltese
- 2.22 Mirandese
- 2.23 Polish
- 2.24 Portuguese
- 2.25 Romanian
- 2.26 Scottish Gaelic
- 2.27 Slovak
- 2.28 Slovene
- 2.29 Spanish
- 2.30 Swedish
- 2.31 Welsh
- 3 Other languages
- 4 Notes
- 5 External links
|€1||Language||Euro sign usage||Euro||(Euro) Cent||Pronunciations (in IPA)|
|Catalan||6,28 €||euro||10 euros||cèntim||10 cèntims||ˈɛw.ɾu
x1, xx1 euro
but x11, xx11 eura
but x11 centi
|Czech||6,28 €||euro||2, 3, 4 eura
|cent||2, 3, 4, centy
|Danish||euro||10 euro||cent||10 cent||ˈœʊ̯.ʁo
|Dutch||€ 6,28||euro||10 euro||cent||10 cent||ˈøːroː
|English2||€6.28 (IE, MT)||euro||10 euros
10 euro (IE)
10 cent (IE)
|Estonian||6,28 €||euro||10 eurot3||sent||10 senti3|
|Finnish||6,28 €||euro||10 euroa3||sentti||10 senttiä3||ˈeuro ˈeu.ro.ɑ2||ˈsentːi
|French||6,28 €||euro||10 euros||cent
|Galician||6,28 €||euro||10 euros||céntimo||10 céntimos||ˈew.ɾɔ(s)
ˈew.ɾ[o ~ ʊ](s)
|German||6,28 € (DE)
€ 6,28 (AT)
|Euro||10 Euro||Cent||10 Cent||ˈɔʏʁo||tsɛnt
|Greek||6,28 € (GR)
€ 6.28 (CY)
|Hungarian||6,28 €||euró||10 euró||cent||10 cent||ˈɛuroː||ˈtsɛnt|
|Icelandic||evra||10 evrur||sent||10 sent||ˈɛvra
|Irish||€6.28||euro||10 euro||cent||10 cent||jʊɹoʊ||sɛnt|
|Italian||6,28 €||euro||10 euro||centesimo||10 centesimi||ˈɛuro||tʃenˈtɛːzimo|
|Latvian||€ 6,28||eiro||10 eiro||cents||1 cents
|Lithuanian||6,28 €||euras||2 eurai
|Maltese||€6.28||ewro||10 ewro||ċenteżmu||10 ċenteżmi
11 to 19-il ċenteżmu
from 20 onwards ċenteżmu
|Polish||6,28 €||euro||10 euro||cent||2, 3, 4 centy
|Portuguese||6,28 €||euro||10 euros||cêntimo/centavo||10 cêntimos/centavos||ˈew.ɾɔ(ʃ)
|Romanian||6,28 €||euro||10 euro
||cent, eurocent||10 cenți, 10 eurocenți||ˈe.uro||t͡ʃent, ˌe.uroˈt͡ʃent
|Slovak||6,28 €||euro||2, 3, 4 eurá
|cent||2, 3, 4 centy
|Slovene||6,28 €||evro||1 evro
3, 4 evri
3, 4 centi
|Spanish||6,28 €||euro||10 euros||céntimo||10 céntimos||eu.ɾo(s)||ˈθent̪imo(s)|
|Swedish2||6,28 € (FI)||euro||10 euro||cent||10 cent||ˈɛu.ɾo (FI)
ˈɛv.ɾo, ˈɛu.ɾo (SE)
|Turkish2||€ 6.28 (CY)||euro||10 euro||sent||10 sent|
- 1 The language is an official language in a eurozone member state, meaning there are official spellings in EU documents.
- 2 English, Turkish and Swedish are marked by the euro sign because they are official languages of eurozone members (English being an official language in Ireland and Malta, Turkish in Cyprus, and Swedish in Finland), despite the fact that Turkish is not an official language of the European Union and that neither Sweden nor the United Kingdom use the euro.
- 3 Partitive singular. Most languages use a plural or immutable singular with numbers, but Estonian and Finnish use the partitive case.
- 4 Welsh follows numerals with the singular form of the noun.
Languages of part of the European Union
In Asturian, there has been a controversy about the spelling of the word. The official academic dictionary uses the spelling euru, respecting the Asturian tendency to write nouns with a final -u. However, considering that the international use is euro and that there is a tendency in Asturian to write some short forms with a final -o (like euro from Europa), other linguists, like Ramón d'Andrés, defend the spelling euro.
Bulgarian uses Cyrillic. The current design of euro banknotes, except for the "new" € 5 banknote, has the word euro written in Latin and Greek alphabets. The 2013 design of the € 5 banknote introduced Cyrillic, adopting the spelling ЕВРО, as described below. When Bulgaria will issue Euro coins, if the Greek model is followed, the alternative spelling will go on the national (obverse) side.
In popular Bulgarian usage the currency is referred to as евро [ˈɛvro] (from Bulgarian Европа [ɛvˈropa], meaning Europe); the plural varies in spoken language – евро, евра [ɛvˈra], еврота [ˈɛvrota] – but the most widespread form is евро – without inflection in plural. The word for euro, though, has a normal form with the postpositive definite article – еврото (the euro).
The word for eurocent is евроцент [ˈɛvrotsɛnt] and most probably that, or only цент [ˈtsɛnt], will be used in future when the European currency is accepted in Bulgaria. In contrast to euro, the word for "cent" has a full inflection both in the definite and the plural form: евроцент (basic form), евроцентът (full definite article – postpositive), евроцентове (plural), 2 евроцента (numerative form – after numerals). The word stotinki (стотинки), singular stotinka (стотинка), the name of the subunit of the current Bulgarian currency can be used in place of cent, as it has become a synonym of the word "coins" in colloquial Bulgarian; just like "cent" (from Latin centum), its etymology is from a word meaning hundred – "sto" (сто). Stotinki is used widely in the Bulgarian diaspora in Europe to refer to subunits of currencies other than the Bulgarian lev.
Initially, the ECB and the European Commission insisted that Bulgaria change the name it uses for the currency from ЕВРО to ЕУРО, claiming the currency should have an official and standard spelling across the EU. Bulgaria on the other hand stated that it wants to take into account the different alphabet and the principle of phonetic orthography in the Bulgarian language.
As of 13 December 2007, all EU institutions – including the ECB – use ЕВРО as the official Bulgarian transliteration of the single European currency.
All the other national Slavic languages using the Cyrillic alphabet have also used ЕВРО as the name of the currency.
In Catalan the official plural is the same as its regular plural euros. In Eastern Catalan, the official pronunciation of "euro" is [ˈɛwɾu] ([ˈɛwɾo] in Majorcan), while in Western Catalan (which includes Valencian) is [ˈewɾo].
For the cent, the word cèntim (pronounced: [ˈsɛntim], plural cèntims) is used, since historically this term has been used as the hundredth part of a currency unit. The fraction of the peseta was also called cèntim, but it was withdrawn from circulation decades ago.
In Croatian the euro and cent are called euro and cent (occasionally the word eurocent is used instead of cent to distinguish the euro denomination versus its foreign counterparts).
Plural forms are, like in many Slavic languages, somewhat complex. The general plural form of euro is euri, but the paucal or identically written (but not identically pronounced) genitive plural eura is used with all numbers, thus 27 eura. The numbers ending in 1 (e.g. 21 or 101) take the nominative singular, the exception being numbers ending in 11 (e.g. 11 or 111). The examples are: 21 euro, 101 euro, 11 eura, and 111 eura respectively.
The general plural form of cent is centi and it is used with most numbers. The numbers ending in 1, except for those ending in 11, take the nominative singular cent, while those ending in 2, 3 and 4 except 12, 13 or 14 take the paucal centa. The examples are: 1 cent, 4 centa, 7 centi, 10 centi, 11 centi, 12 centi, 22 centa, 27 centi, 31 cent, 101 cent, 102 centa, 111 centi.
Pronunciation follows Rules of Croatian language. Euro is pronounced [euro] (like euro-, a standard prefix for all things relating to Europa, "Europe"). Cent is pronounced [ˈtsɛnt] (like prefix centi- in the metric system). Sometimes German-like pronunciation [ˈoiro] or Serbian-like pronunciation [ɛv.ro] appears jokingly.
In Czech, the words euro and cent are spelt the same as in English and pronounced per Czech phonology [ˈɛuro], [ˈtsɛnt]. Occasionally the word eurocent is used instead of cent to distinguish the euro denomination versus its foreign counterparts. The spelling differs from the Czech word for Europe (Evropa); however "euro-" has become a standard prefix for all things relating to the EU (Evropská unie). Sometimes German-like pronunciation [ˈoiro] appears jokingly.
The Czech declension uses different form of plural for various numerals: for 2, 3 and 4, it is plain nominative eura and centy, while for numbers above 5, genitive (a vestige of partitive) eur and centů is used. For compound numerals, there are two variants: either genitive plural is used (21 eur, 22 eur) or the form is determined by the unit part of the numeral (21 euro, 22 eura). The partitive genitive is used only when the whole numeral phrase is in nominative or accusative phrases, otherwise the expected case is used: sedm eur (7 euros-genitive), but se sedmi eury (with seven-instrumental euro-instrumental). Moreover, these otherwise common declensions are often ignored and non-declined euro is used for every value (22 euro), even though this form is grammatically incorrect.
In Czech euro is of neuter gender and inflected as město, while cent is masculine and inflected as hrad.
The word euro is included in the 2002 version of Retskrivningsordbogen, which is the authoritative source for the Danish language (according to Danish law). Two plurals are given, euro when referring to an amount, and euroer when referring to coins. Both cent and eurocent are mentioned; the plural and singular forms are identical.
Danish words of Greek origin containing the sequence eu are traditionally pronounced with [œʊ̯], e.g. Zeus, terapeut, eutanasi, Europa. However, in the word Europa, a newer pronunciation with [eʊ̯] has gained ground in recent years, but this has not influenced the way euro is commonly pronounced.
Plural: In Dutch, most abstract units of measurement are not pluralised, including the former Dutch guilder (gulden in Dutch) and Belgian franc (called frank in Dutch), and now the euro. An amount such as €5 is pronounced 5 euro. This coincides with EU legislation stating that euro and cent should be used as both singular and plural. In Dutch, the words are however pluralised as euro's and centen when referring to individual coins.
The euro is divided into 100 cent, as was the guilder. The Belgian franc was divided into 100 centiemen. The word eurocent is sometimes used to distinguish it from the cents of other currencies, such as the dollarcent, but originally mainly to differentiate it from what used to be 0.01 guilder, also called "cent".
Pronunciation: The word euro is /ˈøːroː/ phonemically. This can be pronounced the same phonetically, but commonly also as [ˈʏːroː], [ˈʏːroʊ], and others depending on the dialect and speaker (see Dutch phonology).
Slang terms: In the Netherlands, slang terms that were previously applied to guilder coinage and banknotes are sometimes applied to euro currency. Examples in the Netherlands include stuiver for 5 cents, dubbeltje for 10 cents. However, the word kwartje (quarter), previously used for a guilder coin worth ƒ0.25, did not survive the introduction of the euro, which lacks a coin worth €0.25. Another popular slang term is the plural form euri (/øːri/), a deliberate hypercorrect form referring to the plural of Dutch words of Latin or Italian origin.
In Belgium, some Flemings refer to the 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins as koper, which is the Dutch word for copper, the metal these coins are made of (compare nickel). Another nickname is "ros" ("redhead") or "roskes" ("little redheads"), referring to the colour of the coins.
Official practice for English-language EU legislation (not necessarily in national legislation) is to use the words euro and cent as both singular and plural. This practice originally arose out of legislation intended to ensure that the banknotes were uncluttered with a string of plurals. Because the s-less plurals had become "enshrined" in EU legislation, the Commission decided to retain those plurals in English in legislation even while allowing regular plurals in other languages. The Directorate-General for Translation now recommends that the regular plurals, euros and cents, be used. The European Commission Directorate-General for Translation's English Style Guide (a handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission) previously recommended the use of regular plurals for documents intended for the general public but now has no restriction on usage and states:
Like ‘pound’, ‘dollar’ or any other currency name in English, the word ‘euro’ is written in lower case with no initial capital. Where appropriate, it takes the plural ‘s’ (as does ‘cent’): This book costs ten euros and fifty cents [. . .] The currency abbreviation precedes the amount and is followed by a hard space [. . .] The symbol also precedes the amount, and is followed by a hard space if the following number contains a space.
Prior to 2006, the inter-institutional style guide recommended use of euro and cent without the plural s, and the translation style guide recommended use of invariant plurals (without s) when amending or referring to original legislation but use of regular plurals in documents intended for the general public.
There has been a limited development of the term "eurozoner", as a demonym for people in the eurozone. Although it began to appear at the turn of the 2000s, its usage is still rare.
As the euro was being adopted in Ireland the Department of Finance decided to use the word euro as both the singular and plural forms of the currency, and because Irish broadcasters took their cue from the Department, the "legislative plurals" tend to also be used on the news and in much Irish advertising. This has had the effect of reinforcing the s-less plurals, although advertisements made in the UK for broadcast in Ireland tend to use the plurals euros and cents (see below). The print media also follows the popular usage of 'euro' for both banknotes and amounts.
While many in Ireland use the "legislative" plurals euro and cent, it is also the case that other people in Ireland use the s-based plurals euros and cents. At the time the s-less plurals were introduced, at least some people complained that the EU ought not attempt to "change English grammar". People who have become accustomed to what they hear on daily television and radio use the s-less plurals. These are also seen written on the notes and coins, in clear contrast to the situation on English and US banknotes.
Any number of rationales were subsequently applied to explain why the s-less plural might be acceptable, but these are generally folk etymologies. Long-standing plurals in -s for currencies that have singular forms ending in -o, like pesos and escudos, are relevant when considering the plural of the euro currency. (Compare also the plural of the name of the marsupial known as the euro.) While it is true that s-less plurals exist in English for some other currencies (such as the yen, won, rand and baht), this usage is not the reason that the s-less plural for the euro was introduced.
Use of both the "legislative" and s plurals is widespread in spoken English in Ireland although the use of "euros" in print media is very uncommon.
In English speaking countries outside Europe
The term euro-cent is sometimes used in countries (such as Australia, Canada, and the United States) which also have "cent" as a currency subdivision, to distinguish them from their local coin. This usage, though unofficial, is mirrored on the coins themselves, which have the words EURO and CENT displayed on the common side.
In Faroese the euro is called evra, a feminine noun derived from the Faroese name of Europe, Evropa; this makes Faroese (with Icelandic and Maltese) one of only three European languages in which the word for the euro is feminine. The plural is formed regularly: evrur. The cents are often called sent which is a neuter word and has the same form in the nominative singular.
The Finnish pronunciation for "euro" is [ˈeuro]. In Finnish, the form sentti [ˈsentːi] is used for the cent – the letter 'c' is generally not used in Finnish, and nativized Finnish words cannot end in consonant combinations like '-nt', therefore an extra vowel 'i' is added. euro and sentti are declined like many other existing words ending in -o and -i, and sentti displays consonant gradation (genitive euron, sentin). With numerals, the partitive singulars euroa and senttiä are used, e.g., 10 euroa. This is abbreviated 10 €, where the € symbol takes the role of the word euroa (never *€10 or *10€). The colon notation (€:a) must not be used with the partitive of euro when the number is in the nominative. In general, colon notation should be avoided and, for example, one should write euron or euroa instead of €:n or €:a.
Plurals (e.g., kymmenet eurot "tens of euros") exist, but they are not used with singular numbers (e.g., kymmenen euroa "ten euro").
Sentti is problematic in that its primary meaning in colloquial language is "centimeter". Thus, the officially recommended abbreviation of sentti is snt, although Finnish merchants generally use a decimal notation (for example 0,35 €).
In French, the singular is un euro (masculine). The official plural is the same as the regular plural euros. The Académie Française, which is regarded as an authority for the French language in France, stated this clearly, following French legislation in this regard.
In France, the word centime is far more common than cent and is recommended by the Académie Française. Centime used to be a hundredth of the French franc which is now called centime de franc. The word cent (plural cents, both pronounced [sɛnt] to avoid the confusion with cent (100) pronounced [sɑ̃]) is the official term to be used in the French-language version of community legislation. Before its use in relation to the euro, the word "cent" (pronounced as in English, [sɛnt]) was best known to European Francophones as a hundredth of a dollar (U.S., Canadian, etc.)
French-speaking Belgians use cent more often than centime because centime coins for the Belgian franc (worth, on 1 January 1999 about three U.S. cents) rarely circulated (only a 50 centime coin was still being issued) and because of the influence of Dutch and English, which are more commonly used in Belgium than in France as a result of Belgium's language diversity.
Plural: In German, Euro and Cent are used as both singular and plural when following a numeral, as is the case with all units of measurement of masculine (e.g. Meter, Dollar) or neuter gender (e.g. Kilo[gramm], etc.). However, when talking about individual coins, the plurals Euros and Cents are used.
The only other marked case is the genitive singular, which is (des) Euros or, alternatively, des Euro.
The spelling of the word Cent is not well adapted to German spelling conventions because these strive to avoid ambiguous letter-sound correspondences. Initial letter C is often used in loanwords and corresponds to various pronunciations depending on the language of origin (e.g. [s] in Centime, [tʃ] in Cello, [ts] in Celsius and [k] in Café). Most of these words are therefore eventually spelt phonetically (e.g. Kaffee, Kadmium, Zentimeter).
Latin words beginning with "ce" such as centum (hundred) traditionally represent [ts] in German, and German words derived from these have therefore for a long time already been spelt with a Z, which represents [ts] (as in Zentrum (centre), Zentimeter (centimetre), etc.). Equivalently, some German speakers pronounce the beginning of the word "Cent" [ts], but since they are familiar with the English pronunciation of the American unit cent, most people pronounce it [s].
As these are nouns, both Euro and Cent are capitalised in German.
Slang terms: In Austria and Germany, the euro has also been called Teuro, a play on the word teuer, meaning 'expensive'. The Deutsche Mark by comparison was worth half as much as the euro (a ratio of approximately 2:1) and some grocers and restaurants have been accused of taking advantage of the smaller numbers to increase their actual prices with the changeover.
In youth and Internet culture the fake plural Euronen is sometimes used; this form's origin is unknown but it bears resemblance to Dublonen (Dubloons) and has a retro ring to it. Also, "Öre" is occasionally used, the name of the Swedish currency. Among some punks, the word "Oi", as in the punk rock subgenre of Oi!, is used.
In German Internet culture, the name Fragezeichen (question mark) is occasionally used in reference to the widespread problems with the euro sign which was often rendered as question mark. The term is most often written using the mock currency code FRZ.
In the eastern part of Austria the word Eumeln (meaning "twerps", also plural-only) is occasionally used. It combines the word euro with a typical Austrian-German ending (like the word Semmeln, Austro-Bavarian for "buns" or "rolls") and gives the word a more casual and familiar touch.
Abbreviations: Eur sometimes in all caps EUR. TEUR for thousand Euros and MEUR for a million Euros is often used in financial documents. Numbers are given with a comma as decimal separator.
In the Greek language the indeclinable word ευρώ ([evˈro]) is used as the currency's name. It was decided to use omega (ω) rather than omicron (ο) as the last letter of the word, partly because a noun ending with omicron would encourage mutability, and partly to stress the origin of the euro in the Greek word Ευρώπη (Eurōpē, Europe) which is also spelt with omega and it is actually written on the euro notes in Greek as ΕΥΡΩ. Also, the spelling ΕΥΡΟ (resulting in a plural ΕΥΡΑ) on the notes could have confused other Europeans, who might read it as a string of Latin letters: eypo. A plural form evra, as if from a regular declinable neuter noun in -o, is sometimes used in a jocular way.
For the cent, the terms used are λεπτό, plural λεπτά (leptó, plural leptá), a name used for small denominations of various ancient and modern Greek currencies, including the drachma (which the euro replaced). The word means 'minute' (literally "thin"), the same as the unit of measurement of time or of angle. The term ευρωλεπτό, plural ευρωλεπτά (evˈroleptó, plural evˈroleptá) is sometimes used when a speaker wants to be completely specific that he refers to money and not time.
Some colloquial names for currency are also in use for the euro. A 5 euro banknote is also colloquially called τάληρο (taliro) from the Germanic root thaler via the Italian talero. A 10 euro banknote is called δεκάρικο (dekariko) and a 20 euro banknote is called εικοσάρικο (eikosariko) or εικοσάρι (eikosari), derivatives of the word for ten and twenty respectively.
10 lepta of a drachma were called δεκάρα (dekara), but since lepta of the drachma were out of circulation long before the euro, this word is now considered too old-fashioned and only used in old expressions and thus it is not used for the 10 eurocent coin. Nevertheless all Greeks understand the word to stand for 10 cents of any currency and thus use it for non-euro currencies like the dime of the US dollar. The same is true for the 5-cent coin which is not called πεντάρα (pentara) like its drachma equivalent. These words come from the words for five and ten respectively.
In Cyprus, however, the cent is officially called cent both in singular and plural. This is the name formerly used for the 1/100th of the Cypriot pound chosen for its neutrality to both official languages of the Republic (Greek and Turkish).
In Hungarian the currency is named euró and cent (as in Hungarian no plural is used after numbers), the former with a long ó, as decided by the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, since Hungarian words cannot end in short o either in writing or in speech (except for one or two interjections), see these international words as examples: fotó, videó, sztereó. The spelling is also in accordance with the word "Europe" in Hungarian ("Európa"). The plural is not normally marked in Hungarian after numerals, but both names can take suffixes like euróval, euróért, euróból, etc. ("with a euro", "for a euro", "from a euro", etc.).
On introduction of the euro, Hungary—along with Lithuania, Latvia, and Slovenia—struggled for the euro to be written in its official documents according to its own usage and spelling, in contrast with Community law, which provides for a single name throughout the Union (in the nominative singular and taking account of different alphabets).
58. Declaration by the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Malta on the spelling of the name of the single currency in the Treaties
Without prejudice to the unified spelling of the name of the single currency of the European Union referred to in the Treaties as displayed on the banknotes and on the coins, Latvia, Hungary and Malta declare that the spelling of the name of the single currency, including its derivatives as applied throughout the Latvian, Hungarian and Maltese text of the Treaties, has no effect on the existing rules of the Latvian, Hungarian or Maltese languages.
In Irish, the words euro and cent are used without change in spelling or pronunciation, and immune to the regular rules of Irish mutation after numbers. The masculine noun eoró (plural eorónna) has been coined from the word Eoraip ('Europe'), and ceint (plural ceinteanna) has been in the lexicon since at least 1959. The words eoró and ceint are attested in printed literature, but are very rarely encountered.
In Italian the word euro is used, as both singular and plural. Its standard pronunciation is [ˈɛuro], although native northern Italians use [ˈeuro] instead. Sometimes the plural euri is used, usually jokingly, but it is deprecated.
The issue of whether the correct plural form would be euri or euro remained open for a long time, predating the actual introduction of the currency. The Accademia della Crusca assigned to Severina Parodi, lexicographer, and to Luca Serianni, language historian, the task to give a response. They deliberated in favour of euri in 1999 with the motivation that "euro is a masculine noun". But the issue was then re-examined many times. Finally, in 2001 the consensus of the Accademia coalesced in favour of invariability. The rationale was based on the fact that abbreviated words originating from a longer word (for example auto from automobile (car) or moto from motocicletta (motorbike)) do not have a plural form, as well as the fact that the word euro is considered an abbreviation of the word Europa (Europe). In 2002 an amendment to the financial act was proposed to adopt euri as the plural form for public official deeds, but was quickly rejected by the Parliament.
The word cent (pronounced [tʃɛnt]) is in practical use always replaced by the word centesimo ([tʃenˈtɛːzimo]), which simply means "hundredth" (also see centime in French); its plural form is centesimi. Cent only appears on documents such as electricity and telephone bills; it is perceived by native speakers as an abbreviation of "centesimo" (and in fact often followed by a period) rather than as an autonomous proper name.
In Latvian the commonly used term is 'eiro' (which somewhat resembles the West European euro, but has also taken its sound from Eiropa, the Latvian word for Europe). The officially used euro is a completely unacceptable form in Latvian. However in 2004 it was proposed by Terminology Commission of the Latvian Academy of Sciences that standardized usage should be eira as eiro is undeclinable in Latvian. The commission argued that a potentially frequently used term needs to fit especially well in the structure of Latvian grammar. They suggested that eiro is especially inconvenient to use in dative and locative, which would necessitate addition of valūta ("currency") for clarification.
However, this decision resulted in public outcry, which resulted in the commission amending its original ruling to state that usage of euro is completely unacceptable in Latvian, but eiro is acceptable as a parallel form, but its use should be limited and it should be dropped over time. The reasoning was explained, that while they still insist on the use of eira, they acknowledge that a half of users of the language are not content with such a form. They also commented that the use of euro (and cent without nominative ending) is an unreasonable demand from the European Union and such use is unacceptable in Latvian as it is unpronounceable and written Latvian usually reflects pronunciation, and it does not create any associations with the Latvian word for Europe, thus doesn't reflect the intended meaning.
In Lithuanian the euro and cent are called euras and centas (in common language usually eurocentas, to distinguish from the cents of the current Lithuanian currency, litas), while plural forms are eurai and centai (eurocentai). The Lithuanian language routinely adapts foreign words by re-spelling them according to Lithuanian phonetic rules and adding standardised endings, resulting in words like kompiuteris or Tonis Bleiras.
In Maltese, the spelling is ewro, as announced in December 2005. The currency name ewro is spelt with w (not with a u) as derived from the Maltese word Ewropa (Europe), also written with w. Furthermore, the vowels e and u are not written next to each other in Maltese, except when they are pronounced as two syllables, which is not the case here. The plural of the word remains unchanged, as the singular. The cent is known as ċenteżmu, plural ċenteżmi, both abbreviated to ċ.
In Maltese, 'ewro' is written with a small letter e and is masculine singular – as in "L-ewro huwa..." (The euro is...) and "Il-munita tal-ewro hija" (The euro coin is...).
Mirandese (a regional language spoken in the northeastern Portuguese region of Miranda do Douro) uses the prefix ou already present in words like European (Ouropeu). The singular form is ouro (/ˈow.ɾu/) and the plural form is ouros (/ˈow.ɾuʃ/). Ouro is also the Mirandese word for 'gold', as in Portuguese.
In Polish, euro is both singular and plural, and pronounced [ˈɛwrɔ]. This noun belongs to a small group of nouns of foreign origin in Polish that, as an exception, remain non-declinable in any of the seven cases (other examples being zoo, Waterloo and few others). It is however likely for the word euro to follow the pattern of other foreign words like kino, studio and radio and eventually become fully declinable in a similar manner as a result of a full linguistic absorption of the word into Polish. Cent is declinable, being eurocent or simply cent ([ɛurotsɛnt]) in singular nominative and eurocenty or centy ([ɛuroˈtsɛntɨ]) in plural nominative or eurocentów or centów ([ɛuroˈtsɛntuf]) in plural genitive.
In Portuguese, euro has a Portuguese word-ending and thus is used in the singular, with euros the plural form. Cent, which does not conform to Portuguese word-forming rules, is commonly converted to cêntimo (singular) and cêntimos (plural).
The term cêntimo might have been adopted to distinguish it from the fractional value of the Portuguese escudo, which was called centavo, though as of 2010 the word centavo is starting to be used too.
Pronunciation of euro in Portuguese is still not standardized: either [ˈewɾɔ] or [ˈewɾu]. The latter has the regular final unstressed -o pronunciation, as [u], and is more widespread in the north of the country, while the former is more common in the south. Euro, cêntimo and centavo are masculine nouns in Portuguese, and as such, "the cents" are translated as os cêntimos and "those euros" as aqueles euros.
In Brazil the pronunciation is [ˈewɾu] (generally [ˈeu̯ɾu] in Rio de Janeiro and further north, as in Portugal, and [ˈeʊ̯ɾʊ] in São Paulo and further south and west as well as the places where southern Brazilians settled) and fractional values are called centavos de euro (cents of euro) to differentiate them from Brazilian real "centavos".
In Romanian the euro and cent are called euro and cent (plural cenți). The official plural of euro is also euro, and this official form was readily adopted by speakers. The "eu" construct is not a diphthong, thus the pronunciation is [ˈe.uro].
When speaking in a familiar–vernacular setting, some speakers would make the informal plural "euroi" (not seen as academic, and not used officially; its stylistic value–connotation is less than "bucks" for US dollars or "quid" for GBP in English and much lower than the almost everyday use of "piasse" (piastre, with the cent called "sou") for CAD in Canadian French). The USD also has a nickname (the word "para"/"parai" of Turkish origin) with the same negative stylistic value. Not to be confused with general nicknames for money in general or unclear nicknames for foreign currencies (e.g."coco" – the specific currency is supposed to be inferred by the listener from previous info/conversation or from the country the speakers are in).
Due to the lack of a governing body and a standard orthography, there is no consistent usage regarding the terms for euro and cent in Scottish Gaelic. The various approaches include:
- use of English spellings (including the English plural form and pronunciation), treating the nouns as indeclinable: an euro (genitive an euro; plural na euro(s)), an cent (genitive an cent, plural na cent(s))
- use of English spellings and pronunciation for euro but with Gaelic case marking (both masculine and feminine as the gender of the word has not been determined to date)
- as a masculine noun: an t-euro (genitive an euro, plural na h-euro(s))
- as a feminine noun: an euro (genitive na h-euro, plural na h-euro(s))
- fully gaelicized forms (based on the Gaelic word Eòrpa "Europe") such as: an t-eòra (genitive an eòra, plural na h-eòrathan), an seant (genitive an t-seant, plural na seantaichean)
In Slovak the euro and cent are called euro and cent, the plural forms for amounts between 2 and 4 are 2 eurá/centy, and the plural forms for larger amounts are 5 eur/centov. Euro is spelt with a u because it is derived from the word Európa (Europe). The c in cent represents /ts/.
Slang terms: common nicknames for euro in Slovak includes: euráče, evri, juráše, éčka (literally "e"-s or "letters ‘e’"). Cents are sometimes jokingly called šestáky (as a common term for coins with small value); meďáky or medenáky (literally "coppers" or "the copper ones") or haliere which is a reference to the small coins of the original Slovak currency.
In Slovene the euro and cent are called evro and cent (/ˈeːwrɔ/, /tsɛnt/), the dual form is 2 evra/centa (/ˈeːwra/, /ˈtseːnta/ or /ˈtsɛːnta/) and the plural forms are 3/4 evri/centi (/ˈeːwri/, /ˈtseːnti/ or /ˈtsɛːnti/), 5+ evrov/centov (/ˈeːwrɔw/, /ˈtseːntɔw/ or /ˈtsɛːntɔw/), the same declension case being used for all higher numerals up to 100, then beginning again (101 evro/cent, 102 evra/centa, 103 evri/centi, 104 evri/centi, 105 evrov/centov etc.). Evro is spelt with v according to standard Slovene orthography, and matches the word Evropa (Europe).
In laws and regulations, though, the word ‘evro’ is replaced with the word ‘euro’ in all grammatical cases in accordance with an agreement between Slovenia and the European Union. In normative Slovene language usage ‘evro’ spelling should only be used, except as noted.
In the Spanish language, the official plural is the same as its regular plural euros. For the cent, the word céntimo (plural céntimos) can be used. The fraction of the peseta was also called céntimo, but no céntimo coins had been issued since 1980, and had since been demonetised. The word "euro" is pronounced [ˈeuɾo] in Spanish, and "céntimo" [ˈθentimo].
Slang terms: the euro is usually referred to as pavo (the usual translation for buck in dubbed films).
In Swedish writing, euro is spelt euro (and cent is spelt cent) both in singular and plural, or written EUR, or €. The € sign is common in Finland but rare in Sweden. The currency "the euro" is spelt "euron" following Swedish grammar rules.
In Sweden, the accepted pronunciations are [ˈɛv.ɾo] (more common and similar to how eu is pronounced in modern Swedish in neuro-) or [ˈɛu.ɾo] (similar to how "eu" is pronounced in modern Swedish in "Europa". However, many Swedes choose to pronounce it in a more English way [ˈjʊːro] (no "s" in plural). This pronunciation is rejected by official authorities, such as the Swedish Language Council. In Sweden there are no widespread slang terms since the euro is a foreign currency.
In Finland, the euro is the official currency, and Swedish is an official language alongside Finnish. The same spelling as in Sweden is used (officially Swedish in Finland is spelt as in Sweden). The pronunciation, however, is [ˈɛuɾo], which has some similarities to Finnish pronunciation. The abbreviation is like 3,14 €, same as for Finnish. Among Swedish-speaking as well as Finnish-speaking people in Helsinki, a common slang term is "ege".
In the Welsh language, the spelling is ewro [ˈɛʊ̯rɔ], which is masculine, and has the plural form ewros. (There is already a native word euro [ˈəɨrɔ], meaning 'to gild', derived from aur 'gold'.) For cent, sent is used, with the plural sentiau.
In Arabic, the euro is usually referred to as يورو [ˈjuːro, ˈjuːru], which is an adaptation of the English pronunciation of the currency's name. Another naming is اورو [ˈʔoːro], which is an approximation of the French pronunciation [øˈʁo]. In most cases this term is used both for the singular and the plural form, although the plurals يوروات /juːroˈwaːt/ and يوروهات /juːroˈhaːt/ are sometimes encountered. The name for Europe in Arabic is أوروبا /ʔo(ː)ˈrobba, -ˈroppa/. Because loanwords aren't of Arabic origin, they are pronounced in accordance with the spoken varieties of Arabic phonology. For example أوروبا is pronounced [ʔoˈɾobbɑ, -ˈɾoppɑ] by Egyptian Arabic speakers, while [ʔoːˈrobba, -ˈroppa] by Levantine Arabic speakers.
Attempts to artificially arabize the pronunciation according to the standardized Arabic phonology would be more conforming to Arabic transliterations such as Yūrū / ʾŪrū, ʾŪrubbā which would be theoretically pronounced /ˈjuːruː, ˈʔuːruː, ʔuːˈrubbaː/ for يورو, اورو, أوروبا, respectively. See also Arabic diglossia to understand why the pronunciation differs from region to region.
The Armenian word for euro is Եվրո, pronounced [evˈro] in exactly the same way as the Greek. It is derived from the Armenian word for Europe, Եվրոպա, which, however, is pronounced [evroˈpɑː], as stress in Armenian usually falls on the final syllable. Cent in Armenian is pronounced [ˈt͡sɛnt] (ցենտ).
The plural of euro, in accordance with the formation of plurals in Armenian, is Եվրոներ [evroˈner]. The plural of cent, however, is ցենտի, pronounced [t͡sɛnˈtiː].
The Azerbaijani name for Europe is Avropa, similar to that of its sister language, Turkish, and the Azerbaijani word for euro, derived from that for Europe, is avro, identical to Turkish.
In Chinese, the euro is known as 欧元 (simplified), 歐元 (traditional), ōuyuán (pinyin), from the Chinese word for Europe, 欧洲 / 歐洲, Ōuzhōu, and the word 元 yuán, meaning coin. This follows the same pattern as the word for the American dollar 美元, měiyuán. For cents, the word 欧分 / 歐分 ōufén, is used. However, in Hong Kong it is often referred to as 歐羅 (Jyutping: au⁴lo¹) to distinguish it from the Australian dollar (澳元, Jyutping: ou³jyun⁴), because in Cantonese 歐元 and 澳元 have similar pronunciations.
In Esperanto, the currency is called "eŭro", similar to the Esperanto word for the continent "Eŭropo." A cent is cendo, as is commonly used for subunits of all centimalized currency (cents, centimes, etc.). The o ending in euro conveniently accords with the standard -o noun ending in Esperanto, but rather than sound out e and u separately, Esperanto speakers elected to use the diphthong eŭ making the Esperanto name of the currency not identical with what is written on the currency. Plurals are formed in accordance with Esperanto rules, eŭroj and cendoj. The words are also declined as any Esperanto noun (eŭro/eŭroj in the nominative, eŭron/eŭrojn in the accusative). Esperanto speakers are unlikely to call a cent cento, since cento means a group of 100, rather than a hundredth. The alternative word would be centono, literally, "one-hundredth part".
In Georgian, the euro is called ევრო (evro), derived from the Georgian word for Europe, ევროპა (Evropa). Unlike in Greek and Armenian, the stress of the word evro falls on the first syllable [ˈevro], as is usual in Georgian. Cent is ცენტი (tsenti) owing to the Georgian habit of sticking "i" after nouns imported from foreign sources ending in a consonant (banki, restorani, teleponi). The respective plurals of euro and cent are ევროები (evroebi) and ცენტები (tsentebi).
When euro coins and banknotes were introduced, the question of the spelling and pronunciation of the currency's name in Hebrew arose. The official name of the currency established by the Academy of the Hebrew Language and the Bank of Israel is אֵירוֹ [ˈeʁo], derived from אֵירוֹפָּה [eˈʁopa] = Europe).
An unofficial spelling and pronunciation יוּרוֹ [ˈjuʁo], derived from the English pronunciation of the currency's name, is also used.
Although in Hebrew currency names are usually declined for singular and plural, both forms of the Euro name are used for the singular and plural alike.
In Hindi, the euro is spelt as यूरो (Yūro), while cent is written as सेंट (seṇṭ). Both the words are not pluralised. Europe is known as यूरोप (Yūrop) in Hindi.
In Icelandic the euro is called evra, a feminine noun derived from the Icelandic name of Europe, Evrópa; this makes Icelandic (with Faroese and Maltese) one of only three European languages in which the word for the euro is feminine. The plural is formed regularly: evrur. The cents are often called sent which is a neuter word and has the same form in the nominative plural. However, a more common usage is to write, say, 20 cents as 0,20 evrur.
In Japanese the euro is called "yūro" (ユーロ) based on the English pronunciation, using the katakana syllabary employed for foreign words. However, the word for Europe in Japanese is "yōroppa" (ヨーロッパ), probably borrowed from the Portuguese Europa (ˈew.ɾɔpɐ) or from the Dutch "Europa", not English. The cent uses the same word employed for all currencies using cents. This is rendered "sento" (or セント in the katakana script) and it is also based on the English pronunciation. In Japanese, like other East Asian languages, no plurals are used for units so both "yūro" and "sento" are used as the singular and plural.
In Norwegian there could be a problem concerning the spelling, since euro is masculine and would normally take a plural -er ending in Bokmål and -ar in Nynorsk. But since words for foreign currencies (like dollar and yen) normally do not have the endings -er or -ar in Norwegian the Norwegian Language Council reached a decision in 1996 that the proper declension of the word euro should be
- en euro – euroen – euro – euroene
- ein euro – euroen – euro – euroane
The declensions are respectively: The two first in Singular, and the two last in Plural, while the first of each category are indefinite, the last of each category are definite nouns. The word cent is an old loan word in Norwegian – and it is conjugated the same way:
- en cent – centen – cent – centene
- ein cent – centen – cent – centane
The pronunciation of the two words in Norwegian are [ˈæʉɾu] and [ˈsɛnt].
Russia currently borders three eurozone members, Finland, Latvia and Estonia. The first one supplies much of the euro inflow in Russia in trade exchange and tourism, especially to Saint Petersburg. In Russian, just like in the Bulgarian language, euro is spelt евро ("yevro", pronounced ['jevrə]) both in the singular and the plural, while cent is цент [t͡sɛnt] (sg.) and центы ['t͡sɛntɨ] (pl.), though there are many colloquial semi-ironic forms such as евры 'yevry' or еврики 'yevriki' (there's no plural form for euro in Russian), копейки for cents and others. Just as in Italian, although евро could have been declined as a regular neuter noun, it was made indeclinable like many neutral loanwords ending in a vowel: бюро [bʲʊ'ro] bureau, office, writing-desk, пальто [pɐlʲ'to] overcoat, кофе ['kofʲɪ] coffee, бордо [bɐr'do] Bordeaux wine, claret etc.; the same form is used in the singular and the plural. Cents are sometimes transliterated as цент 'tsent' – singular, центы 'tsenty' – plural. Numerative form is цент for 1 cent (as well as amounts that end in 1 except for the ones ending in 11 – e.g. 51 цент but 11 центов), центa, the genitive singular, for 2 to 4 cents (as well as any other amounts ending in 2, 3 or 4, except for the ones ending in 12, 13, 14 – e.g. 54 центa but 12 центoв) and центoв, genitive plural, for the rest – 88 центoв. Sometimes eвроцент (also romanized as 'yevrotsent' or 'evrocent') is used to distinguish euro-cents from the American cents. (If евро had been treated as a regular neuter noun instead of being indeclinable, it would have the forms *евра (regular plural or genitive singular) and *евр (genitive plural), but this treatment would have been unusual for a loanword.)
Both evro and cent are masculine nouns. They are inflected according to regular rules of the language:
- When not accompanied by a number, plural quantities are in whatever grammatical case is appropriate to the context: the nominative plurals are evri (Cyrillic: еври) and centi (Cyrillic: центи).
- When accompanied by a number ending with the digit 1 (except the combination 11) the singular form is used: 21 evro (Cyrillic: 21 евро), 101 cent (Cyrillic: 101 цент).
- When accompanied by a "small number", i.e. one ending with the digit 2, 3 or 4 (except the combinations 12, 13, 14), the paucal form is used: 22 evra (Cyrillic: 22 евра), 102 centa (Cyrillic: 102 цента).
- When accompanied by a "large number", i.e. one ending with a digit outside the 1–4 range (or one ending with any of the combination 11, 12, 13, 14) the genitive plural is used: 111 evra (Cyrillic: 111 евра), 25 centi (Cyrillic: 25 центи) or rarely 25 centa (Cyrillic: 25 цента).
The genitive plural centi is produced in an old-fashioned way that is today mostly reserved for measurement units. The alternative centa follows the vastly more common pattern of other masculine nouns but is very rarely heard in practice.
Turkey and Northern Cyprus continue to use the Turkish lira as their official currency, but the euro is popularly used, particularly by individuals wanting to convert their savings into a more stable currency. Euro has colloquially been pronounced in the English fashion since its inception.
In response to criticism of the widespread English pronunciation of euro, the Turkish Language Association officially introduced avro into Turkish ("av" being the first syllable of the Turkish word for Europe, Avrupa) in 1998. A concerted campaign by the Turkish Language Association has begun to blossom in recent years, with most sections of the Turkish media now using the new word. It has yet to enter widespread colloquial use, however.
The euro is becoming relatively widespread in Ukraine although the country didn't border the eurozone until 1 January 2009. In standard literary Ukrainian the name is євро (pronounced ˈjɛu̯rɔ). The same form is used in singular and plural cases. Cents are translated as цент (ˈt͡sɛnt) in the singular and центи (t͡sɛntɪ) in the plural. In the Ukrainian language there is some variation in cases. Numerative form is цент for 1 cent (as well as amounts that end in 1 except for the ones ending in 11 – e.g. 51 цент but 11 центів), центи for 2 to 4 cents (as well as any other amounts ending in 2, 3 or 4, except for the ones ending in 12, 13, 14 – e.g. 54 центи but 12 центів) and центів for the rest – 88 центів. Sometimes євроцент (ˈjɛu̯rɔˌt͡sɛnt) is used to distinguish eurocents from American cents.
In Volapük, the currency is called yurod, similar to the Volapük word for the continent "Yurop." A cent is zim, though yurodazim is used to distinguish it from other currencies (e.g. USD dolarazim). The words are also declined as any Volapük noun (yurod/yurods in the nominative, yuroda/yurodas in the genitive), yurode/yurodes in the dative) and yurodi/yurodis in the accusative; zim/zims, etc.).
- European Commission. "The euro: The euro 'rules'". Retrieved 12 January 2009. "The name of the single currency must be the same in all the official languages of the EU, taking into account the different alphabets. This is to ensure consistency and to avoid confusion in the single market. In all EU legal texts, the nominative singular spelling must be 'euro' in all languages ('ευρώ' in Greek alphabet; 'евро' in Cyrillic alphabet). Plural forms and declensions are accepted as long as they do not change the 'eur-' root. In documents other than EU legal texts, including national legislation, other spellings are accepted according to the various grammatical rules used in each language."
- English Style Guide: A handbook for authors and translators in the European Commission (PDF) (Fifth edition (revised) ed.). European Commission Directorate-General for Translation. May 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2009. "20.8 The euro. Like ‘pound’, ‘dollar’ [etc.] the word ‘euro’ is written in lower case with no initial capital and, where appropriate, takes the plural ‘s’ (as does ‘cent’):This book costs ten euros and fifty cents. However, in documents and tables where monetary amounts figure largely, make maximum use of the € symbol (closed up to the figure) or the abbreviation EUR before the amount."
- European Central Bank (13 December 2005). "Opinion of the European Central Bank of 1 December 2005 on a proposal for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 974/98 on the introduction of the euro (CON/2005/51)" (PDF). Official Journal of the European Union. Retrieved 7 September 2008. "For reasons of legal certainty, the ECB recommends that the text of the proposed regulation incorporates in its normative part a provision confirming that ‘the spelling of the name of the euro shall be identical in the nominative singular case in all the official languages of the European Union, taking into account the existence of different alphabets."
- European Commission. "Spelling of the words "euro" and "cent" in official community languages as used in community legislative acts" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2009.
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- The old text is quoted here:
Phoebus Athanassiou (February 2006). "ECB Legal Working Paper Series No. 2: The Application of Multilingualism in the European Union Context" (PDF). European Central Bank. p. 27, footnote 111. Retrieved 13 January 2009. "Translation style guide (20.7) "Guidelines on the use of the euro, issued via the Secretariat-General, state that the plurals of both ‘euro’ and ‘cent’ are to be written without ‘s’ in English. Do this when amending or referring to legal texts that themselves observe this rule. However, in all other texts, especially documents intended for the general public, use the natural plurals ‘euros’ and ‘cents’ "
Interinstitutional style guide (7.3.1): "In English, the terms euro and cent are invariable (no plural 's'), notwithstanding the acknowledgement in a footnote that ‘The spelling without an “s” may be seen as departing from usual English practice for currencies’.""
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- This was a misunderstanding of the "legislative plural" policy. The Commission has made it clear that local conventions for plural formation should apply in most contexts and the "legislative plural" is expected only in a narrow range of contexts—that is, only in legislation. On the other hand, it remains the case that Irish broadcasters are not following the Commission's recommendations.
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- European Central Bank (16 December 2005). "Opinion of the European Central Bank of 16 December 2005 at the request of the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Affairs on the provisions of the draft Companies Act concerning redenomination resulting from the introduction of the euro (CON/2005/57)" (PDF). European Communities. Retrieved 5 April 2009. "[. . .] Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 974/98 of 3 May 1998 on the introduction of the euro2 stipulates that ‘… the currency of the participating Member States shall be the euro’3. Recital 2 to this Regulation notes that, at its meeting in Madrid on 15 and 16 December 1995, the European Council considered that ‘… the name of the single currency must be the same in all the official languages of the European Union, taking into account the existence of different alphabets’. Taken together, these two provisions make it clear that the name of the single currency is the ‘euro’ and that this name should be identical in all legal acts published in Community languages."
- European Central Bank (6 December 2006). "Opinion of the European Central Bank of 6 December 2006 at the request of the Hungarian Ministry of Finance on a draft law amending Law LVIII of 2001 on Magyar Nemzeti Bank and Law XI of 1987 on legislation (CON/2006/55)" (PDF). European Communities. Retrieved 5 April 2009. "[. . .] To make the euro’s singleness apparent, Community law6 requires a single spelling of the word ‘euro’ in the nominative singular case in all Community and national legislative provisions."
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- Gli euro e le lingue, issue 23 (October 2001) of La Crusca per voi (Italian)
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- Y Termiadur at Bangor University
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- אירו או יורו – מה שם המטבע?, The Academy of the Hebrew Language website
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