English as the lingua franca we know today is facing challenges that affect its long term stability in the business world. Although many rely on it heavily to communicate across cultures, it may not be long before we say ‘adiós’ or ‘zai jian’ to the dominance of English in business. The need to take Spanish and Mandarin language training courses is increasingly important because of the emerging economies of their native speakers. As businesses look for that competitive edge, they are turning to Spanish speaking markets in North and South America and Mandarin speaking economies in Asia.
English is the modern day lingua franca of business, largely because of its use in the world’s largest economy. Albeit relatively slowly, this linguistic supremacy is in the process of changing. The influence of the Spanish language in the US is one contributing factor to this change. The Hispanic population is the fastest growing market segment in the US and has grown by 60% in just one decade making Hispanic buying power an impressive $1,000 million.
This combined with the level of influence Hispanic culture has on US history and the economy makes the Spanish language a candidate for becoming an international language of business. Some people even assert that the main language spoken in the US in 2060 will in fact be Spanish making it even more critical for many businesses to offer Spanish language training to their employees as they plan their long-term strategies. The predominantly Spanish-speaking and increasingly influential continent sitting just below the US makes the Spanish language even more attractive to global businesses.
One billion Mandarin speakers and counting…
Another main challenge to English as the international language of business is the increasing importance and influence of the Chinese economy. There are approximately one billion Mandarin speakers across the globe making it the largest linguistic group in the world. Recently, China has spread its economic and business interests beyond their geographical borders and, in a world riddled with economic crises, China seems to be coming out on top.
The Chinese are also expanding rapidly into the African continent through government funding for construction and other schemes. Although Chinese workers in Africa are generally housed in compounds away from local populations, their increasing involvement in Africa is likely to influence the cultures and economies there and Mandarin will become even more widespread across the globe. Investing in Mandarin language training courses for your employees can open doors to one of the most powerful countries of the future.
Are we witnessing a critical moment in linguistic history?
Although there are other languages such as Spanish and Mandarin who at times appear to be major contenders for the business lingua franca, there are many who believe that English is here for the long run and that we might even be witnessing a critical moment in linguistic history. Quoted in an article on Resilience Science, linguist David Crystal states ‘This is the first time we actually have a language spoken genuinely globally by every country in the world’.
Despite this viewpoint, perceptive business leaders around the world know that, without a doubt, investing in Spanish language training or Mandarin language trainingcourses will open international doors and help organisations to gain a significant edge in business, especially in these difficult financial times. This edge will undoubtedly benefit your global organisation both today and in the future.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2012