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Kemmerer, Alexandra

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Germany | 25/04/2006

Diversity of languages in the EU

Alexandra Kemmerer reports on a conference on the "Challenges of linguistic diversity within the European Union" held in the German city of Regensburg. At the conference, Latvian judge Egils Levits described language practices at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg: "The jurist and political scientist freely admitted that multilingualism frequently has a detrimental effect on the quality and style of languages: 'Any Latvian student would fail his exams if he wrote a draft judgement the way the ECJ does.' However, the judges in Luxembourg often have to deal with awkward questions like how to translate the German term 'Zumutbarkeit' into French, English or Latvian, or with the hardly less important question of what constitutes the linguistic difference between the term 'verpackt' (packed) and 'vorverpacktem' (pre-packed) olive oil."

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