German President, Joachim Gauck recently spoke in Berlin stating that English should become the common language of the European Union, he said; ‘One of the main prostateblems we have in building a more integrated European community is the inadequate communication within Europe,’

Now he is not suggesting that international languages are rolled away entirely but that the business of the European Union is conducted in English. Does this sound a death knell for languages around the world and should we all sit back in Britain confident that translation is a thing of the past? Well, of course the answer is no.

Listening further to Mr Gauck’s speech he stated that; ‘More Europe means multilingualism. I am convinced that feeling at home in one’s native language and its magic and being able to speak enough English to get by in all situations and at all ages can exist alongside each other in Europe.’

We need to be clear that, there is a big difference between having ‘enough English to get by’ and being able to communicate professionally and effectively by using the both the language and cultural understanding to embrace and understand other nations.

To put some numbers behind the argument, before you give up on language lessons and throw away your phrase books you need to understand that only 27% of the world population actually speak English*, that leaves about 5,09082,9056 people who may not agree that English is the language of choice.

It is true that more young people in Europe are growing up with English as an additional language but to truly communicate you still need to be able to use international languages. Don’t just get by, be a real communicator!

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(*Figures from CIA World Fact Book and Encyclopaedia Britannica)