English – The International Language of Business
Sunday 1 April 2012 9:41 AM
There are estimated to be over 360 million native English speakers across the globe. Whilst this compares to a massive 850 million native Mandarin speakers, a further billion people speak English as second or foreign language. With the dominance the British Empire at the turn of the 20th century and the emergence of the USA as a global superpower over the following two decades, English cemented its position as a global language. What is more, with the financial centres of London and New York located in English speaking countries, the language has become firmly established as the language of business across the world.
There is talk of the USA declining as a global power and the rise of the China and other far eastern economies. So will English ever lose its place as the international language of business? Looking at the alternatives suggests that it probably will not. Mandarin is an extremely difficult language to grasp and English is already widely spoken as a second language in India and a lot of European countries.
As a result, national and international companies in any country place particular emphasis on their employees being able to speak English. If you want to stand out from the crowd it is important to already have a firm grasp on the language when you turn up to job applications. On the other side of the coin, if you are a native English speaker but struggle with spelling or grammar your career prospects are drastically limited. It is, therefore, essential to learn English grammar to get on in your career.
There is an emerging form of English, known as International English, that is somewhat simpler and easier to understand than British or American English. The international form of English does not use colloquialisms and places less emphasis on the correct use of tense and other grammar. The trouble is it is often interpreted as poor English and will simple not suffice in many international companies. Failing to learn English grammar correctly will ultimately cost you in a large proportion of jobs.
For native speakers, it is important, however, to be able to speak clearly and correctly. One of the things that make English such a fantastic language is its huge variety of accents and dialects. The downside to this is that non-native speakers or natives from different parts of the English speaking world can struggle to understand one another. It is imperative, therefore, to be able to soften your own accent and drop some of the dialect to ensure you are clearly understood at work.
So if you want to improve your job prospects and take the next step in your career, learning to speak or improving your English language skills is a great place to start. There are a number of quality courses available online as well as in night schools and colleges across the country that cater for all levels of English speakers.