A 'Brexit' Could Threaten The English Language

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What happens if Britain votes to leave the European Union? English might suffer. That is, the English language of the European Union. And article in Quartz cites some of the odd English that appears in official EU documents, like control to mean monitor and delay to mean a deadline rather than a slowdown.

If Britain votes to leave the European Union, the EU still has to do business in English, which even the EU says is the most widely spoken language in the world. The EU has 24 official languages, from Bulgarian to Czech, French, German, Latvian, Maltese and Swedish.

English is often the language that European bureaucrats and diplomats have in common. But if Britain bolts, Ireland would become the largest English-speaking country left in the EU. Would the country of Joyce, Beckett, Oscar Wilde and Edna O'Brien uphold good English? Oh, yeah, I guess so. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.