And If the Language of Global Business Was Multilingualism? Think Different, Understand Better.

Thursday, July 9, 2015
J103 (13 rue de l'Université)
Machteld Meulleman , Université de Reims
Eric Castagne , University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
Alice Fiorentino , Linguistics, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (URCA)
In 2008, the Business Forum for Multilingualism published a report entitled 'Languages mean business', that said: A significant percentage of European SME’s lose business every year as a direct result of linguistic and intercultural weaknesses. Although it appears certain that English will keep its leading role as the world business language, it is other languages that will make the difference between mainstream and excellence and provide a competitive edge. Nowadays, even more than yesterday, European business encounters entail complex negotiations between speakers with increasingly diverse linguistic repertoires, interacting in an ever changing range of multilingual and multicultural settings, where they are expected to have recourse to mediation strategies such as lingua franca communication, foreign language speaking, intercomprehension, interpreting and translation. However, the individual speakers’ choice is often restricted by existing institutional rules and practices (Dresemann 2007). Even if ELF seems to be the privileged option today, in fact the strategic potential of the other above mentioned mediations as well as the speakers’ individual linguistic repertoire remain largely unexploited. Nevertheless, the added value of the complementary use of these strategies has been observed repeatedly, for instance ELF and intercomprehension i.a. in business negotiation (Dresemann 2007), between translation and intercomprehension (Lüdi 2010) and between FLS and intercomprehension in internal team communication (Roelands and ten Thije 2006; Ribbert and ten Thije 2007). Therefore a multilingual communication regime is an essential strategic asset in business contexts as it allows for adaptive flexibility in complex dynamic environment where a win-win partnership is targeted.
  • CES_Castagne, Meulleman & Fiorentino.pdf (116.5 kB)