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Research on language use in EU documents and EU institutions has uncovered that a particular variety of the English language has been developed in the documents of the European Union. It does not only feature specific terms describing EU concepts, but also other EU-specific lexical elements and collocation patterns that you may come across if you read EU documents. In our understanding, the term EU English is used to refer to this particular variety of the English language involving both EU terminology and a number of other EU-specific lexical, grammatical and discourse features. Since the EU is involved in all walks of social, political and cultural life, EU English features characteristics of political, legal, business, and even academic discourse, thus mirroring the different functions and multiple activities of the EU as a cultural, political and historical reality. Due to its relevance for language teaching and everyday communication in EU contexts, EU English has also developed into an important field of research involving a number of disciplines, such as terminology, pedagogy, linguistics and corpus-linguistics. This section provides an overview of the research carried out in this field, including studies, articles and other important projects.


Not only have a considerable amount of documents been created in the process of European integration, but a large number of new concepts related to the European integration process, the daily functioning of the EU, and its policy areas have also emerged. As a result, a so-called EU conceptual system containing these new EU concepts, has developed (and is constantly expanding). Since there is no common, ‘neutral’ EU language that would specifically describe these concepts, this task is performed by the official languages of the EU. Consequently, all the official languages of the EU (English, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Maltese, etc.) have to be able to describe both domestic and EU concepts. In other words, these languages must ascertain that communication on EU topics and concepts is possible in all of the EU official languages. The ‘EU function’ of these languages has to be created, and as a result, a specific EU terminology has developed. In most cases already existing words or compounds (green paper, communication) receive a new, EU-specific meaning, but there are examples in English EU terminology of new terms adopted from other languages (subsidiarity) or the creation of new terms (comitology), as well. These terms become incorporated in the terminology of the particular subject fields, and even in everyday usage, so an ‘EU layer’ of the vocabulary, the ‘EU terminology’ of the language is being created. This process generates a constant change in the vocabulary of the languages and has a number of implications on language planning as well.

You are most welcome to propose further references to be included in order to complete the list of references on research done in this field, or to post any comments concerning this topic.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.euenglish.hu/research/what-is-eu-english/

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