The Corner

E.U. & Lowercases

From a reader in Germany:

Jonah,

I am based in Berlin. Look I don’t think this was an EU matter at all: seriously look at this sentence: “ooh-bahs in Brussels have come up with a new grammar rule for themselves and the Netherlands–making it official that the name “Christ” will soon be written with a lower-case “c”.” This is a Dutch language reform and not an EU directive. See this press release that doesn’t confuse Brussels as capital of Belgium and place where the orthography reform was published with the EU:

http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=61605

Also, your second emailer is wrong about the EU regulating language. It is indeed a national or (for languages that are spoken in more than one country) an international undertaking, but not an EU one. (Your first emailer is definitely right about this. There are lots of things about which the EU clains no competency, under which pillar does regulating the Dutch language fall? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_pillars_of_the_European_Union )

See for example the German Reform: http://german.about.com/library/blreform.htm Europe (the Swiss, the Germans, and the Austrians did it) had no part in it, and, funnily enough, if Europe were to try to tell the Germans to spell religions with a lower-case letter it would be more than a little odd since ALL nouns in German are capitalized.

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