To which extent can lingua receptiva improve the internal communication at the European Commission? An explorative research towards the use and potential of lingua receptiva at DGT and DG EAC
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When facing a multilingual situation, several communicative modes are possible. Therefore, choosing the most efficient multilingual communicative mode can be challenging. This study highlights the possibilities of one communicative mode in particular: lingua receptiva (LaRa), in which interlocutors speak their preferred language and still understand each other. While its most obvious advantage is that individuals can express themselves optimally, plenty of other advantages can be listed. The European Commission is an institution that promotes and represents multilingualism. Hereby, its external communication occurs in 24 official languages and is supported by its Directorate-General for Translation (DGT). But what happens within the Commission? The European Commission has three working languages (i.e. French, English, German) but mainly uses English as lingua franca. Therefore, the European Commission loses positive aspects associated with multilingualism. This study proposes the increased use of lingua receptiva, concomitantly with the use of other communicative modes in order to optimize multilingualism goals, the internal communication, and the translation process within the Commission. Therefore, this study presents an explorative study in the current practices and the potential of lingua receptiva at two Directorate Generals of the European Commission. The results show that English as lingua franca predominates in the internal communication sphere, whereas simultaneously, the commissioners perceived the importance of multilingualism (i.e. in which LaRa could play a role). In addition, beside the fact that the majority of the employees have a positive attitude towards LaRa’s use, its potential seemed insufficiently known and taken advantage of. Altogether, these rather ‘contradictive’ findings highlight the relevance of further promoting the use of multilingual communicative modes, possibly by organizing a LaRa pilot awareness training, a suggestion to which interviewed employees responded positively.