One. Two. Tree. I was so proud of those first three English words I carried to my first day of International School. A few months later my first grade ESL teacher complimented me on correctly using “circling.” I fell in love with the English language and soon it was my home.
But Slovenian class. It was a straitjacket of commas before content. Our European languages are owned by les académies who encircle them with walls of nation and meaning and shitty epic poems about baptisms in waterfalls. Not so English. There’s no prescriptivist protecting it. It’s wonderful, it’s free, and it’s fair game.
Today English is the language I share with friends from France and Germany and Poland and Norway and Greece and beyond.
Yet I had often felt uneasy. Even if I mastered the language, it was still London’s, and who was I to say what I could say? No longer. The cynical billionaire-backed Brexit has arrived and the last elephant has left the room.
There is now a European English. It’s a silver lining: we, the young(ish) of Europe, we have our own common language to do with as we wish. Raise it up, exalt it, or torture grammar by drop silly article and ending.
“Hold there, Luka,” says Strawman, “are you saying we should abandon the languages we’ve fought and died for these millennia for this étranger? This tujek? Would you saddle every child, already bent-backed beneath backpacks of books, with bilingualism?”
Strawman interlocutors are full of shit, aren’t they?
Of course we are proud of our mother tongues. And dialects. And accents.
But having a shared, easy-to-learn, poorly policed common tongue that belongs to nobody is the easiest esperanto we will ever find in Europe. Our academies can stay in their towers of tongues, while we, the Europeans, should get down in the dirt and make our Europe rock. Or metal.
I welcome this grimy, mongrel English lingua franca with open arms.