You, Too, Will Speak English Soon: The Pros and Cons of English as a Business Lingua Franca

  • Heiko Wiggers Wake Forest University, USA
Keywords: Global English, lingua franca, language attitudes, language as commodity


This paper discusses the increasing use of English as a Business Lingua Franca (BELF). In particular, this paper examines case studies from several companies located in diverse countries (Japan, Germany, and Finland), where English has been implemented as an internal lingua franca. The case studies show that most employees at these companies adjusted to BELF in a very pragmatic manner, while others considered the employment of BELF to be an intrusive course of action. This paper also investigates how BELF is viewed by native speakers of English and argues that attitudes towards foreign language learning by native speakers of English may constitute an impediment to efficient communication between speakers of different native languages and backgrounds. Finally, this papers shows that the acceptance of BELF, at least to a certain degree, is dependent on attitudes towards the global spread of English.