Perfidious English?

Over the years, the European institutions have developed a vocabulary that differs from that of any recognised form of English.

It includes words that do not exist or are relatively unknown to native English speakers outside the EU institutions and often even to standard spellcheckers/grammar checkers (‘planification’, ‘to precise’ or ‘telematics’ for example) and words that are used with a meaning, often derived from other languages, that is not usually found in English dictionaries (‘coherent ’ being a case in point). Some words are used with more or less the correct meaning, but in contexts where they would not be used by native speakers (‘homogenise’, for example). Finally, there is a group of words, many relating to modern technology, where users (including many native speakers) ‘prefer ’ a local term (often an English word or acronym) to the one normally used in English-speaking countries, which they may not actually know, even passively (‘GPS’ or ‘navigator’ for ‘satnav ’,‘SMS’ for ‘text’, ‘to send an SMS to’ for ‘to text’, ‘GSM’ or even ‘Handy’ for ‘mobile’ or ‘cell phone’, internet‘key’, ‘pen’ or ‘stick’ for ‘dongle’, ‘recharge’ for ‘top-up/top up’, ‘beamer’ for video projector etc).

Misused English Words and Expressions in EU Publications

European Court of Auditors, Secretariat Genaral/Translation Directorate, September 2013.

3 thoughts on “Perfidious English?

  1. I know that in North America, satnav and dongle are very uncommon terms, so perhaps there is some North American influence? Why anyone would say SMS or GSM is beyond me, though!

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