Business English: a lingua franca?

The use of English as a shared business language is not without its complications

In the course of the past decade, communication between speakers of different languages has increased exponentially in the business world . More and more business organisations are now characterised by a multi-cultural, multi-lingual workforce, and numerous organisations now communicate with stakeholders in different countries. In such situations in international business communication, whenever person A with first language A, speaks to person B with first language B, then there are four options available in terms of the language that they will opt for.

Marinel Gerritsen

Marinel Gerritsen is a full professor for intercultural business communication in the Department of Business Communication Studies of the Radboud University Nijmegen. Prior to this she worked for the government and for several multinational organisations in the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany, and she also held positions at a number of Dutch universities and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Catherine Nickerson

Catherine Nickerson is an associate professor of business communication in the College of Business Sciences at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates. She has held senior positions in India and in the Netherlands, and she has also lived and worked in the US and the UK. In 2008 she received the Association for Business Communication’s Distinguished Publication Award and in 2009 the Association’s Outstanding Researcher Award.