Euro English

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Euro English
European English
RegionEuropean Union Publications and Hearings[1]
Early forms
Latin (English alphabet)
Unified English Braille
Language codes
ISO 639-3
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Euro English or European English, less commonly known as EU English and EU Speak, is a pidgin dialect of English based on common mistranslations and the technical jargon of the European Union and the native languages of its non-native English speaking population. It is mostly used among EU staff, expatriates from EU countries, young international travellers (such as exchange students in the EU's Erasmus programme), European diplomats, and sometimes by other Europeans that use English as a second or foreign language (especially Continental Europeans).[2][3][4]


The usage of the English language in Europe progressed through the 19th century, when the British Empire inherited colonies in mainland Europe such as Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Menorca, Heligoland, and the Ionian Islands, the latter three in modern-day Spain, Germany, and Greece respectively.

The term "Euro English" was first used by Carstensen in 1986 to denote the adoption of anglicisms in Europe.[5]

The enlargement of the European Union over several decades gradually diminished the influence of two of the EU's working languages (German and French). The development of the Erasmus Programme created a new class of mobile Europeans who needed a lingua franca to communicate across Europe.

The question whether the appropriation of English by non-native speakers in Continental Europe is giving rise to a potential European variety of English has not yet been resolved. Mollin rejected Euro-English as a variety of English.[5] According to Forche, many of the features suggested to be characteristic of Euro-English could be identified as learners’ mistakes, although there are some nativisation tendencies.

Euro-English was heavily influenced and dominated by British English, due to the United Kingdom having been an EU member state between 1973 and 2020. However, the UK's withdrawal in early 2020 means that the EU's scope of native English dialects has been mostly reduced to the varieties of Hiberno-English spoken in the Republic of Ireland; one source believes that this will allow room for Romance languages to have more of an influence on Euro-English.[6]

Euro English in computers[edit]

The Unicode Common Locale Data Repository Project had drafted/defined "en-150" for English in Europe.


There are two influences in Euro English: top-down and bottom-up.

The top-down influence comes from institutions such as the English Style Guide, issued by the European Commission, which recommends ways to use English in written official documents. "On the whole it follows standard British English usage, but in cases where British English has alternatives, it makes decisions—such as recommending the spelling judgment, not judgement.".[7]

The bottom-up influence comes from the preferences of the people. A report from 2012 found that 38% of the EU's citizens speak English as a foreign language.[7]

Some words are given a plural with a final 's' in Euro-English, such as 'informations' and 'competences', to match similar words in European languages (such as 'informations' and 'compétences' in French), while this pluralisation is incorrect in British or American English.[7]

Some words such as 'actor,' 'axis' or 'agent' are given a meaning as wide as in European languages while their meaning would keep a narrower range in native English.[7]

EU DGT style guide[edit]

The Directorate-General for Translation of the EU has a style guide for the English language to help write clear and readable, regular English. This guide is based on the English spoken in Ireland and Great Britain, known as British English. It does not consider itself a guide for a distinct EU English that is different from real English, and merely mentions EU-specific terminology as a distinguishing feature.[8]

It prefers British English to American English, but recommends avoiding very colloquial British terms. This style guide defines the thousand separator as space or as a comma, and the plural of euro as euro.[8]

EU glossary[edit]

The many years of the EU's existence have led to the appearance of EU-specific vocabulary.


Non-native English speakers frequently drop the third person singular's suffix (s). For example: he often call meetings.[9]


Standard English Euro English Origin
Tourist, used attributively Touristic Touristic is not commonly used to describe places catering to tourism, unlike its cognates in other European languages (cf. French touristique, Dutch toeristisch, German touristisch, Spanish/Portuguese/Galician turístico, Catalan turístic, Italian turistico, Polish turystyczny, Serbo-Croatian/Macedonian turístički).
Last October I had the opportunity to attend a workshop. Last October I had the possibility to attend a workshop. Used in Romance languages but comes from possibilité in French, which can mean "opportunity"; and the etymology of the English word possibility comes from the (Old) French one.
That Mercedes is my dentist's car. That Mercedes is the car of my dentist. Possessive in Romance languages. For instance: La voiture de mon dentiste in French, L'auto del mio dentista in Italian, O carro do meu dentista in Portuguese, El coche de mi dentista in Spanish.
Current Actual The English adjective actual has undergone semantic shift and is now a false friend (cf. cognates in German aktuell, Dutch actueel, French actuel, Romanian/Spanish/Catalan/Galician actual, Portuguese atual, Italian attuale, Czech aktuální, Polish aktualny).[10]
Possibly Eventually The English adjective eventual has undergone a semantic widening (cf. the cognates in French éventuel, German eventuell, Italian Eventuale, Polish ewentualny, Danish eventuelt, Dutch eventueel).
To plan (for), include, provide (for) To foresee French prévoir,[11] Italian prevedere, Dutch voorzien, German vorsehen (für)
We are offering a challenging position in our unit. We propose a challenging position in our unit. proposer in French and proporre in Italian mean "to offer" or "to suggest".
There were two of us at the party. We were two at the party. The personal pronoun we is used in Latin languages, and required in Slavic languages (through declension).
What is it called?; what do you call it? How is it called?; how do you call it? Many European languages use how rather than what in their equivalent constructions: Italian Come si chiama?, German Wie heißt es?, French Comment ça s'appelle?, Polish Jak to się nazywa?.
Please, enter your PIN code below. Please, introduce your PIN code below. introduire in French can mean "to insert" or "to type in", the same in Portuguese with "introduzir" or in Spanish with "introducir". (introduce is an Engish word coming from Latin introducere)
In the end I am staying in France. Finally I am staying in France. Finally is not commonly used to describe an ultimate decision. Spanish Finalmente, French Finalement, Italian Finalmente.
On the other hand On the other side Commonly used by Romance language speakers. Also compare Swedish å andra sidan and Serbo-Croatian s druge strane.
Specify to precise or precision Precisare in Italian.
To have or possess. Dispose of Have one's disposal means have free use of. Of unknown origin, known usage: Essere a disposizione (literally: to be at disposal) in Italian.
Large or significant Important Latin languages speakers commonly use Important meaning large or significant.
Commonly known as So-called Probably from German sogenannt.
Being opportune or opportuness Opportunity Opportunity means "the quality of being opportune".
Occasional or periodic Punctual Punctual is used to mean point-by-point or from time to time.
Areas of expertise Expertises Latin languages speakers often add an "s" at the end of uncountable nouns.
Monitor Control Contrôler in French.[7]
To attend To assist Assister in French, Asistir in Spanish.[7]
To encourage To incite Unknown origin, known usage: Incitare in Italian.[citation needed]
The principle that legal decrees should be enacted as close to people as possible Subsidiarity[2] EU-specific vocabulary; compare German Subsidiarität or Dutch subsidiariteit.
Bureaucracy Berlaymont[2] Referring to the Berlaymont building, headquarters of the European Commission.
Conditions Conditionality[2] Used in European languages.
Six months Semester[2] Used in European languages.
He has retired to his office He has retired to his cabinet Unknown: [12] In French, the word cabinet is used to mean a small room leading away from a bigger one.
Deadline Delay[6] Unknown: [12] Possibly from the French délai, used in the civil code to give a period to compute a time limit. The word délai was used in French by Chrétien de Troyes, sans délai meaning without deadline; the noun is based on the verb délaier (of uncertain origin) previously used in Couronnement Louis.
However, Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in its English version neither uses the word deadline nor the word delay nor the expression time limit. It simply states:

The Treaties shall cease to apply (...) two years after the notification (...)

More specifically, where the French original version contains the word délai, the English original version contains the word period.
Planning Planification Formed in imitation of a Romance language; compare French planification, Spanish planificación.[1]
Committee procedure Comitology It was formed from the misspelled stem (committee has two m's, two t's) and the suffix ology/logy meaning the science of or the study of.
Quality of being an actor Actorness Actor + ness.[citation needed]
To refrain from doing something To hop over Used in Nordic European countries.[2]
To be naive To be blue-eyed Used in Nordic European countries (and is understood in Germany).[2][13]
To overcharge To salt[2] Used in Nordic countries.
Domestic market Internal market Used to distinguish trade within the EU from trade within the member state. The internal market of the EU is known as single market. The French word domestique is avoided in French language due to some pejorative meanings.
Guarantee Ensure Make sure someone has what is needed. The French word garantie has a specific legal meaning in the French civil code.
Boss Hierarchical superior Better explanation of the role.
I come from Spain I am coming from Spain English's grammar changed in Continental Europe[2][clarification needed]
To treat (to pay for someone else's meal at a restaurant) To invite Used in European languages.[clarification needed]
Deposit Caution For example, German "Kaution".

The English plural of the word euro was first defined as euro without final s, before becoming euros with a final s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gardner, Jeremy (2016). Misused English words and expressions in EU publications (PDF). European Court of Auditors.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Brexit could create a new 'language'". The Independent. 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  3. ^ "The EU will still speak English but in its own way". Financial Times. Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  4. ^ Trudgill, Peter. Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society.
  5. ^ a b Mollin, Sandra (2006). Euro-English: Assessing Variety Status. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. p. 6. ISBN 382336250X.
  6. ^ a b Sonnad, Nikhil. "The English language could get really weird if Britain leaves the EU". Quartz. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Nordquist, Richard (21 March 2017). "Euro-English in Language". ThoughtCo. ThoughtCo, a Dotdash brand. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b English Style Guide (PDF). European Commission. 2021.
  9. ^
  10. ^ How to Write Clearly (PDF), Directorate-General for Translation, European Commission, retrieved 28 July 2018
  11. ^ Gardner, Jeremy (8 May 2013), A Brief List of Misused English Terms in EU Publications (PDF), European Court of auditors Secretariat General Translation Directorate, archived from the original (PDF) on 18 June 2013
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ "Duden | blauäugig | Rechtschreibung, Bedeutung, Definition, Herkunft". (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-25.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]