Practising multilingualism

Nothing disrespectful about addressing Demetris Christofias, the president of Cyprus, in Russian.

You mentioned last week that my conservative Polish colleague Róza Thun judged it “disrespectful” of me to address Demetris Christofias, the president of Cyprus, in Russian (“Mind your language”, 17-23 January). I addressed him in Russian because he was the first Communist (and trained at the party school in Moscow) to hold the rotating presidency of the European Union’s Council of Ministers. Since Russian is not an official EU language, I translated my words in the speech: “I thank you for your good work and wish you a blossoming Cyprus”. What is wrong with that? I gladly practise multilingualism, apparently more than those who preach it.   

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