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Old 03-09-2016, 08:23 PM
 
919 posts, read 839,939 times
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There is a thread titled: Do you think native English speakers are at a disadvantage to learning foreign languages?

On top of that, English itself could be their weakness: Why native English speakers fail to be understood in English – and lose out in global business
And now ironically, there is mounting evidence that in international business, native English speakers are failing to integrate as a result of their shortcomings when it comes to tailoring their English for this context. When it comes to English – the international language not only for business but also higher education and cross-border collaboration – research shows that, far from being able to rest on their laurels, native speakers are not masters of the world’s global language.

Speakers who have English as their mother tongue can find themselves in a baffling predicament. While at home they are persuaded that the rest of the world now speaks their lingo, abroad they discover that their own English renders them incomprehensible to colleagues and business partners. In one piece of research into English as a the world’s corporate language, a British expat in Scandinavia recounted:

When I started [in Denmark] I spoke I guess as I normally had done and wrote as I normally had done and people weren’t getting me, they weren’t understanding.

So native English speakers should learn another kind of English now
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
26,875 posts, read 38,019,680 times
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Well… I will say this.

Business people and people in general from anglosphere countries tend to be less linguistically ''nimble'' than people from most other countries.

I find that people involved in global business or simply those who travel a lot often seem to have some basic ''muddle through'' ability in a couple of languages. Not to the point of writing a treatise of course but some basics allowing to conduct small talk, and certainly enough to be able to order food, etc.

This seems much less common among people from the anglosphere.

Although, it we go back to the OP I am not sure that this really has an impact on business success as anglosphere countries are among the world's most prosperous, and their companies tend to be extremely successful as well.
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Phoenix
30,362 posts, read 19,149,932 times
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I've worked in Seoul, Mongolia, Saudi, Peru, and other countries where the language of the work was in English. I did adapt my English to be more basic to be more understandable to the locals and others speaking English as a 2nd or more language. I think the bigger issue is adapting to cultural differences as well as learning the language of that nation to do a better job of doing business and exporting to various countries that aren't native English.

The basic problem I think is English 1st language people do not have the same financial incentive to learn another language as do people whose 1st language is other than English.
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Old 03-10-2016, 01:02 AM
 
671 posts, read 854,146 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Traveler View Post
I've worked in Seoul, Mongolia, Saudi, Peru, and other countries where the language of the work was in English. I did adapt my English to be more basic to be more understandable to the locals and others speaking English as a 2nd or more language. I think the bigger issue is adapting to cultural differences as well as learning the language of that nation to do a better job of doing business and exporting to various countries that aren't native English.

The basic problem I think is English 1st language people do not have the same financial incentive to learn another language as do people whose 1st language is other than English.
Exactly. I have worked in a limited capacity in four non-anglophone countries.

There is little need for English speakers to speak another language. Almost every other society considers a good command of English standard for higher level business/science/medicine/art etc. If the English-speaker simplifies his/her English, this speaker will be understood by the vast majority of foreign colleagues. There is very little incentive to learn a foreign language.
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Old 03-10-2016, 02:44 AM
 
Location: Minsk, Belarus
667 posts, read 940,290 times
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I think this statement is far-fetched. True, fir us, not-native English speakers, it is often easier to understand other non-native speakers as they speak more simple and clear. But I don't think that really influence the chances to suceeed in global business.
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Old 03-10-2016, 05:01 PM
 
545 posts, read 866,407 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manhattangirl View Post
Exactly. I have worked in a limited capacity in four non-anglophone countries.

There is little need for English speakers to speak another language. Almost every other society considers a good command of English standard for higher level business/science/medicine/art etc. If the English-speaker simplifies his/her English, this speaker will be understood by the vast majority of foreign colleagues. There is very little incentive to learn a foreign language.
Agreed as long as your business or interests are in an anglo country.
But if you wish to join a foreign company, even a multinational, outside those countries, speaking only English will put you at a disadvantage because the company would prefer to hire or promote people able to speak both the company language of origin and English.
Moreover speaking only English could often hurt your negotiation's power.
Still, all those drawbacks are more than offset by all the advantages to master English as a native speaker.
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
26,875 posts, read 38,019,680 times
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In many globally-focused business and workplace environments, the situation is usually like this.

Business communications and discussions (including anything technical) are all in English. This is why people say that English speakers don't face many barriers to working in such places even if they don't know the local languages.

But many (often most) oral communications in the workplace tend to be in the local language unless a person is speaking directly with the English only speaker.

That's the way it works in most of the world.

Some English only speakers can roll with this without any problems, and others find it alienating and isolating after a while.

It really depends on an individual's personality.
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Old 03-10-2016, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Phoenix
30,362 posts, read 19,149,932 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
In many globally-focused business and workplace environments, the situation is usually like this.

Business communications and discussions (including anything technical) are all in English. This is why people say that English speakers don't face many barriers to working in such places even if they don't know the local languages.

But many (often most) oral communications in the workplace tend to be in the local language unless a person is speaking directly with the English only speaker.

That's the way it works in most of the world.

Some English only speakers can roll with this without any problems, and others find it alienating and isolating after a while.

It really depends on an individual's personality.
Yeah that's been my experience. I know some people that become very upset if business communications are conducted in other languages. I admit it frustrates me in those situations....I learned enough Spanish to keep up with most of what was being discussed but other languages, I didn't learn enough to do that.

Best practice is to attempt to learn the language. The problem I encountered was nobody wants to struggle with you trying to learn their language when you both already speak English and after working long hours, spending time learning another language leaves no energy or time for anything else....ie, learn other languages when you're young and in school!
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:58 AM
 
919 posts, read 839,939 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
But many (often most) oral communications in the workplace tend to be in the local language unless a person is speaking directly with the English only speaker.
While I don't disagree with what you said, but you've somewhat missed the point.
...abroad they discover that their own English renders them incomprehensible to colleagues and business partners. In one piece of research into English as a the world’s corporate language, a British expat in Scandinavia recounted:

When I started [in Denmark] I spoke I guess as I normally had done and wrote as I normally had done and people weren’t getting me, they weren’t understanding.

The point is: many native English speakers have no idea about how to make foreigners understand what they speak/write in English.
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Old 03-11-2016, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
26,875 posts, read 38,019,680 times
Reputation: 11645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
While I don't disagree with what you said, but you've somewhat missed the point.
...abroad they discover that their own English renders them incomprehensible to colleagues and business partners. In one piece of research into English as a the world’s corporate language, a British expat in Scandinavia recounted:

When I started [in Denmark] I spoke I guess as I normally had done and wrote as I normally had done and people weren’t getting me, they weren’t understanding.
The point is: many native English speakers have no idea about how to make foreigners understand what they speak/write in English.
I know, but I deliberately went off on my tangent... sorry!
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