€ – this is the sign for the EU currency, the euro. As you might have guessed, it comes from the name of the good old continent – Europe. Most of the languages that use the Latin alphabet have a name for this continent derivated from the Old Greek Εὐρώπη (originally, a mythological queen of Crete), and they spell it in a very similar way: Europe, Európa, Europa, Ewrop…
Now, we also heard a lot about the stupid thing the Eurocrats (the burocrats of the Europen Union) invent while they are sitting bored in their offices in Brussels, like the “standard” shape and the curve of the bananas… to be “euroconform”. That’s just plain idiocracy. Unfortunately for the tax payers, very well paid!
One doesn’t really expect from such idiots to have any knowledge in linguistics, although it is a commonly known fact that the Old Greek group of sound ευ, and αυ for that matter, in many Slavic languages has been evolved into “ev” and “av”, respectively. E.g. where we have auto the Russian have ‘avto’ (авто – in Cyrillic). Same with Europe, they call it Европа (try ‘yev-ro-pah’), or in transliteration: evropa. The Bulgarian name and spelling (in Cyrillic) is pretty much similar.
And till now nobody really cared how the Bulgarians, for example, call and spell the continent they live on. But they were not in the European Union (EU) till January this year. Now they are EU-members and the eurocrats want to regulate how they should call the EU currency. Not that it has been introduced in the new member states like Bulgaria or Romania, just for the future.
The Bulgarians think the name should be derivated from their own word for the continent, and spelled “evro” (евро). No way, say the eurocrats, it should be еуро (euro). [BTW, non-English speakers all pronounce it 'eh-oo-roh'] The only problem with the EU spelling is – it means urine in Bulgarian! Not a wise thing to call you money like that… even if it would be worth just shit :)
They are determined to fight the EU. They make it a national pride issue not to let the EU to dictate how they should spell in their own language. Or how they should pronounce a word, even if it is the common currency of the Union. I can feel their pain personally from a different angle: how every native English speaker thinks they should pronounce my name according to their own language’s phonetic rules. No way to make an effort to understand that other languages might have different ways to read the same letter(s). But this is not anout my name…
It is about the lack of understanding that different languages, different cultures might have a different tradition in naming the very same things. They might have a different alphabet with a long historical development that doesn’t fit in the uniformization model of some narrow minded burocrats. In our immigrant-populated Anglo-Saxon countries like Canada, US, Australia if all else fails (outside of our pretty “multicultural ghettos”) we can all turn to English as the common ground and lingua franca. The EU doesn’t have this comfort. Will they invent a new uniform language?