English as lingua franca

We all know that English has become the global lingua franca, but I still find it funny just because I used to believe that “lingua franca” meant something with French. It doesn’t, as such, as it originated from “the language of the Franks” which to the Byzantine just meant “all Western Europeans”. Much like the Greeks called all that didn’t speak Greek Barbarians, because all those sounds were just like “bar, bar” to them.

Anyway, unsurprisingly there’s a connection between viewing TV and movies with subtitles rather than dubbed and English proficiency.


Very interesting map of who dubs and who subtitles in Europe. You can see the direct correlation between this and English proficiency.

For the blue countries, film & TV serve as a constant English lesson throughout one’s life. Lessons in school become practically unnecessary.

Dubbing policy has not been the result of an educational choice by governments, but rather a result of language size.

There are not enough Dutch speakers to make dubbing worthwhile but there are enough French speakers. So in Belgium, Flanders subtitles while Wallonia dubs.

There is a growing movement in Germany for the broadcasters to stop dubbing television and for more movie theatres to offer screenings with subtitles rather than dubbing.

The educated younger generation of Europeans tends to prefer subtitles to dubbing.

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