The E.U. is perhaps more natural with its linguistic diversity. On the other hand, the Europeans may have gone to the other extreme. Not only is there a myriad of dialects even within a given region, such as Normandy, in a state; the number of languages within the E.U. can give one the false impression that the E.U. is yet another U.N.—an international house of pancakes without any syrup. Even with the perhaps-exaggerated extent of linguistic diversity (given local pride) in the E.U., linguistic diversity is apt to be on the losing end of the homogenizing forces of technology, mass media, and “ever closer union” as the twenty-first century takes hold after a few warm-up decades too reflexive of the previous century. Already by 2012, the increasing use of English in the E.U. means that such English is properly “European English” rather than being identified exclusively with one state (i.e., Britain). That is to say, there are different regional dialects of European English just as there are different regional dialects of American English.
In the U.S., the tendency toward an empire-wide lexicon has been facilitated greatly by the political consolidation that had already been achieved beginning with the war between the CSA and USA. By the 1970s, there was essentially one empire-wide conversation. This can be seen in the efforts of the national news networks to direct “a conversation.” It is odd that “a conversation” would span an empire that produces 25% of the world’s economic output and goes from the North American coast of the Atlantic to some islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Joan Hall, the director of DARE as of 2012, points to technology and globalization as threatening American regional English. Her orientation to culture ignores the effects from the political consolidation. Put another way, she views the global and local as a dichotomy without considering the impact of the levels in between.
Europeans counting on the existing linguistic diversity within the E.U. to thwart such convergence as the U.S. had achieved since 1861 might want to remember that the process took a century or so in the U.S. just to get started. The expanding use of English as a common language, particularly among the political, cultural and economic elites, and the homogenizing effect of technology on the mass media could result in the E.U. being like India—with a common language in addition to local or provincial languages. Clinging to the existing diversity, Europeans will not likely see this change coming. Indeed, it may not fully arrive until the generation of children in 2012 have reached full-functioning adulthood. Their reference point concerning European integration will doubtless be different than the ones in 2012.
Source:Jennifer Schuessler, “Regional Dictionary Finally Hits ‘Zydeco’,” The New York Times, February 25, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/25/books/dictionary-of-american-regional-english-reaches-last-volume.html