Robert Lane Greene
The Economist, journalist

Robert Lane Greene ("Lane") is a journalist based in Berlin. He is a business and finance correspondent for The Economist, and he writes frequently about language for the newspaper and online. His book on the politics of language around the world, You Are What You Speak, was published by Random House in Spring 2011.

He contributed a chapter on culture to the Economist book Megachange, and his writing has also appeared in the New York TimesSlate, the New Republic, the Daily Beast and many other publications. He is an outside advisor to Freedom House, and from 2005 to 2009 was an adjunct assistant professor in the Center for Global Affairs at New York University.

Presentation abstract

The EU is fundamentally committed to language diversity--in theory. It has the most generous language policy of any international organization on earth, as befits is status as more than the average group of states. But much of the EU's international politics and business takes place in just one or two languages--at the cost of diversity--and nearly all of national politics and commerce takes place in national languages--at the cost of European unity. How can Europe get the best of both with limited resources? Only two possibilities exist: multilingualism (rather than "English is enough") and language technology (which can help people find what they want across borders without speaking 20 or more languages). The EU has done barely enough with the former, and not nearly enough with the latter.