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Sub-question: what tolerance do different audiences have for sub-titling or voice-overs?

In Sweden, I think most candidates would do fine as long as they speak in their native tongue and depend on tv's sub-titles and not the drone-like voice-overs they use in the EP. Doing a few token phrases would count as a plus.

Hm, since there is a tendency to sound ridiculous and/or a bit stupid in any language that you don't master really well (for example Svanberg's "little people" after the Gulf oil disaster), if language is crucial I think lesser language skills can be discounted. Speaking really well a few widely understood languages on the other hand should be a plus.

Where is that map of understanding secondary languages in the EU again?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:41:45 PM EST
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Incidentally, just this year the Eurobarometer Europeans and their languages has been updated.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:46:50 PM EST
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Seeing that the number of people who self-report being able to follow TV or Radio programmes in a foreign language is substantially lower than the number who claim to be able to hold a conversation.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 02:54:22 PM EST
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54 vs 44 yes. Not that surprising considering that in a conversation people adapt their langugae to those they talk to, and a conversation is less stringently defined then being able to follow news.

Just over two fifths (44%) of Europeans say that they are able to understand at least one foreign language well enough to be able to follow the news on radio or television. English is the most widely understood, with a quarter (25%) of Europeans able to follow radio or television news in the language. French and German are mentioned by 7% of respondents each, while Spanish (5%), Russian (3%) and Italian (2%).

This is probably the relevant level to understand political speech.

In addition we have the native speakers:

In accordance with the EU population, the most widely spoken mother tongue is German (16%), followed by Italian and English (13% each), French (12%), then Spanish and Polish (8% each).

Adding up to:
English 38%
German 23%
French 19%
Italian 15%

As that is the proportion reached with each language (they overlap of course). However, the 25% that has english as a second language might not mind so much hearing mangled second-language english. After all, it is how our leaders speak.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 30th, 2012 at 03:07:15 PM EST
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And how. It's embarrassing hearing our Swedish prime ministers trying to outdo each other with the Swedish Chef by way of Minnesota accents.

(Of course the next generation won't speak Swedish - it will be English with Swedish words. Already happening in online forae.
Now you kids get the heck off my lawn.)


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 11:42:04 AM EST
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