On Thursday 15th June 2017, roaming charges were abolished within the EU. And there was much rejoicing. Roaming charges were one of those things that for a long time I kind of just accepted. Living in Ireland, the rest of Europe usually felt far away enough that it seemed somehow appropriate that using my phone would be more expensive whenever I went there. But recently I drove for about 45 minutes from Belgium to the Netherlands, and suddenly it seemed entirely absurd that I had to pay a fortune (rather than nothing) for using data, just because I’d crossed a fairly arbitrary line. Why should it cost more in a different country? Was I inconveniencing the phone company in some way? Did they have to do more work to drag the data over the border and into my phone?
English has long been fashionable to use in other languages. For teenagers and young adults, it’s the language of a lot of their pop culture, as well as being an international lingua franca, that can help one connect with people all around the world. That’s why, especially across Europe, you’ll find little bits of English peppered throughout people’s speech.
Naturally, this isn’t always going to be accurate in terms of native speakers’ usage, but that’s not so important. I’ve noticed recently though, an apparent trend in how non-native speakers use English that’s a little bit curious, because it reflects one of the ways in which native speakers make mistakes in English.
I won’t spend too much time on my thoughts about the UK’s referendum. I’ll just say I’m sad. Sad because I have an idealistic belief in nations working together for their mutual benefit. Because I think that the British people who’ve suffered and been ignored in recent years were lied to by the rich and powerful into voting against their own interests.
So tonight I’ll try not to think too much about what’s going to happen to the UK, to the EU, and to me (I’d better remember to bring my passport if I want to drive to Belfast!)
Instead, I want to look at that word: Brexit. Continue reading