The why of Talk of Europe (in a nutshell)

The plenary sessions of the European Union contain a wealth of information relevant to social, political and linguistic scientists. They are the stage where the members of parliament, who are direct representatives of national populations, speak out about any issue that is current and relevant. Likewise, the debates reflect the matters that European countries consider relevant to resolve on a supranational level. At the same time, the members of parliament embody the ideological and domain-specific political assemblies they belong to as well as their country of representation. Therefore, speakers’ outings might be traced back to their interests, making these debates a valuable artifact for those who study the dynamics of roles and lobbies. Moreover, the European Parliament forms the cornerstone of the decision-making process in the EU. It is here that proposed laws and amendments are discussed and voted upon. The plenary debates reflect a significant part of the steps that lead to these laws, from the version started off with, via the speakers’ outings on the matter in the debate, up to the vote on the contested parts. Finally, the transcriptions of the plenaries are a valuable linguistic resource. Since members of parliament express themselves in their native language, their outings are useful in studies of pragmatics. The fact that every outing is not only transcribed but also translated to all remaining official languages of the EU facilitates (cross-lingual) studies of the use of language in politics even more.

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Photo of European Parliament by loungerie

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