One of Germany’s most prominent politcians has launched an oustpoken attack on the increasing use of the English language in every day life, and called for a crackdown.
“Co-existence can only work in Germany if we all speak German,” Jens Spahn, seen by many as a potential successor to Angela Merkel, said. “We can and should expect this from every immigrant.”
Mr Spahn, currently junior finance minister, reserved his greatest anger for the growing number of people who work in the German capital despite speaking no German.
“It drives me up the wall the way waiters in Berlin restaurants only speak English,” he told Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.
Comparing Germans’ often relaxed attitude to the fierce French protectiveness of their language, he added: “You would never find this kind of lunacy in Paris.”
The thing being that the very idea of “Germany” is based on language. Hitler took it all a little far with that talk of “Volk” but there really was a strong 19th century movement that people of the same language were the natural national unit. As with Czechs, Slovaks, Poles and so on. Germany rather became Germany, with a lot of help from Prussian designs, as a result of that underlying idea.
To find that language isn’t quite working as the binding force must hurt to some extent therefore.