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Pros and cons of letting English remain the international language for business

Updated on July 23, 2016

Recently, the corporate world has seen myriads of debates regarding the fate of English language in the global business markets. Ostensibly, the debates have been on the verge to determine whether the English Language should be as the International Language for transactional purposes or whether it should be abolished in consideration for other languages. Those who support the idea, argue it from the development point of view. Those who are against it, express the many biases that entangle the linguistic from the societal perspective.

Advantages in using English

Recent studies report that various multinational corporations are laying strategies or rather mandating for their employees to communicate in English and embrace the English culture. Some of the renowned companies like Airbus, Samsung, and Microsoft in Beijing are widely advocating for English as the primary language for conducting business transactions. Other foreign-based companies like the Rakuten in Japan, Renault and so on are encouraging English among their employees and culture as a means of trade. In most aviation industries, it is recommended that pilots should talk English language to minimize communication problems. Some of the advantages of English as the international language of business include the following:


In the world today, a considerable number of people speak English. In other nations, it is used as a second language after the native languages. The great total of the English speakers in the world today means that there is conformity to this lingual uniformity. Such great uniformity is often an advantage in minimizing problems that may arise due to communication (more of the solution to communication barriers). In the aviation industry, all pilots are required to practice and speak English. Many employees in different offices are also required to communicate in English. English in aviation is used to foster safety while in others, it is used to enhance the effectiveness of service delivery.

Research Language

In many career research programs in the fields of business and other careers, English remains as the primary language for research. Apparently most international companies’ activities such as publishing, science and technological advancement, academia, diplomacy all depend on English for success. Current studies link English as a significant tool for passing on messages. For instance, certain reports maintain that seventy-five percent of all emails in the world are usually written in English while the rest is fragmented to the rest of the languages. The same researchers also maintain that a startling eighty percent of world’s electronically stored information is in English.


Some researchers also link different organizational success to the adoption of English culture and practices. For instance, certain reports concerning the research on various companies’ performance based on the theory of linguistics abilities in Western part of Africa reveal that English speaking nations are often reliable and are more likely to operate with much integrity, including business ethics and better management systems than their French-speaking counterparts.

Disadvantages in using English as global language

Despite the fact that English boasts of considerable advantages as the ideal language for global business transactions, it also suffers some drawbacks that require considerable attention. The following are some of the drawbacks related to the use of English as an international language in business.

Disappearance of native languages

The economic determination of English as the primary language for the global commercial transaction has most of the time been linked with affirmative language preservation practice. For example, in nations where English is not the primary language English has been often been associated with the “disappearance” of particular native languages. Through practices such as business advertisements, film industries, and even music, certain aspects of the world’s cultural diversity are facing their ends.

Loss of cultural diversity

Another disadvantage related to the adoption of English language as the primary language for international business is that it is a threat to organizational values and culture. This because certain organizational factors concerning cultural diversity are ignored. In such a situation, an organization is likely to loose on some broad based ideas (culture driven ideas) that could be the difference between its success and its failure. Some studies report that the perceived efficiency of the English language as a common language for international business may be a short term joy. So they therefore, call for cultural diversity in various business market communications.

Suppression of social and ethnic identities

Other studies also perceive the use of English as a universal language in business as an act of suppression of some of the social and identity values. These studies argue that such practice play significant role in the suppression of the regional, national or even ethnic identities of the non-dominant languages. Some of these studies predict a future trend where people who speak English as the mother tongue will always have an upper hand towards the ascension of power which will tend to create a language based Hierarchy. Such system of organizational governance will more often cause problems because some of the non-native English speakers will most of the time feel neglected.


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