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The Future of English

in Relation to Mcgarrybowen in Paris, France

February 19, 2015


Prepared for: Jennifer Zimmerman, Global Chief Strategy Officer
Prepared by:

Emily Dvorchak, Director of Corporate Communications

Introduction
Worldwide use of the English language has rapidly expanded since the 1950s. Today, experts
estimate nearly one-fourth of the people on Earth speak English (7). When we consider the
nearly 6,000 languages spoken in the world today, this figure gains significance. No other
language in history has reached this magnitude of use, and some liken its spread to a global
tsunami of English usage in commerce, science, [and] education (6). Will English continue its
ascension to becoming a global language? How will people use it on a global scale throughout
the next five years? And most importantly, what will the answers mean for us at Mcgarrybowen?
Thank you for requesting my input on the future of English as a global language. To gather
information, I consulted the works of David Crystal and Edmond Weiss. I also read news articles
published in The Huffington Post and BBC News. To learn more about France, our current
country of interest at Mcgarrybowen, I referred to The World Travel Guide and a website called
BusinessCulture.org. In this report, I will explore the evident global trends and subsequent
challenges associated with English as a global language. I will then conclude with my ultimate
prediction and some recommendations for our agency.
English as a Global Language
English as a Growing Global Trend
Over the past 60 years, English has spread throughout the world with remarkable speed. David
Crystal depicts this trend using three concentric circles, as shown in the image below.

We can understand the purpose of each circle as follows:

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The Inner Circle represents the 320 380 million people who speak English as a primary
language, also known as E1s. Mcgarrybowens British and American employees belong
to this circle.

The Outer Circle represents the 300-500 million people who speak English as a second
language, mainly in multilingual settings. Crystal refers to these speakers as E2s.
The Expanding Circle represents the 500-1,000 million people who study English as a
foreign language, mainly because their nations [...] recognize the importance of English
as an international language (2). Crystal refers to this group as E3s. Many of our future
French colleagues belong to this circle, although some more accurately fit the description
of The Outer Circle.

In his book, Crystal explains how a global language will eventually [...] be used by more people
than any other language. He points out that English has already reached this stage. Based on
this fact and the above statistics, I believe we have reached a critical point where enough people
speak English to guarantee its continual growth, at least throughout the next five years. However,
please note that the proportion of native speakers of English [E1s] in the world will continue to
decline in this century (7). Growth of the English language will take place not among E1s, but
instead among E2s and E3s. This trend will likely result in an increasing number of English
dialects spoken throughout the world, a challenge I will explore later in the report.
English and International Business
Today, so that foreign establishments can communicate efficiently and without error, the world
uses English as the international language of business. This helps explain why, as mentioned
previously, E3 nations have recognized English as an international language. Weiss points out
that students around the world study English as a foreign language because they understand that
it will likely increase their future earning power in some way. As a United Nations journalist puts
it, [i]f you don't speak and especially write English fluently you will not [get a job] in an
international organization or you will not [...] prosper in it (5). Although approximately threefourths of the world population does not speak English, its use is clearly an important and rising
trend within our scope as an international business.
English and Advertising
According to Crystal, English dominates the advertising industry. Our agency must pay special
attention to this trend. Crystal explains how the use of English in advertising began in the 1600s
and has only continued to rise since then. Due to the high proportion of US gross national
income used for advertising in the 1950s, people now recognize American brands like Coca-Cola
and McDonalds throughout the world. By 1972, the US owned 27 of the worlds top 30
advertising agencies, and today, [t]he official language of international advertising bodies, such
as the European Association of Advertising Agencies, is invariably English (2). You can see,
Ms. Zimmerman, that as an international advertising agency, we must acknowledge the spread of
English as a global language and determine how we can use this information to our advantage.
Challenges to English Becoming a Global Language
Although the above trends suggest English will continue to grow as a global language throughout
the next five years, many important challenges emanate from this projection. You will see that as
an international agency expanding into France, we cannot ignore these issues.

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Threat to Cultural Identity


Throughout the world, much opposition exists regarding the rise of English as a global language.
Weiss states that many people [...] lament the spread of English, complaining [...] it has
displaced and obviated other languages. I agree with Crystal, who believes the displacement of
other languages presents a problem. Language can represent heritage, history, legacy, unique
canons of literature, and unique views of the world. In short, it can represent cultural identities,
and Crystal calls the potential loss of these identities an intellectual tragedy. The challenge
then, for us, is to develop some type of standard dialect that meets the demands of a global
economy and the international situation without minimalizing the pieces of cultural identity
connected to language. I will elaborate on this task in the Recommendations section.
French Attitude Toward English
At Mcgarrybowen, the following issue likely represents our biggest challenge in using English
on a global scale throughout the next five years. Frankly, few countries guard their linguistic
heritage as jealously as France, and defend it so vigorously from [...] the growing worldwide
influence of English (6). In fact, last year when the French government proposed a law
mandating that universities teach more classes in English, some citizens called it a suicidal
project disguised as globalization (6). In general, many French people consider the use of
English a betrayal of the national language.
Despite this, a promising number of younger French citizens consider English a practical
acceptance of the inevitable. French journalist Agnes Poirier reported that a growing fringe of
the French population believes English will conquer the world, and it seems foolish to resist an
inevitable evolution. This supports the idea that English will continue to rise as a global
language throughout the next five years, as younger, left-leaning citizens age and gain power.
Additionally, although the idea of teaching in English meets retaliation, French people generally
accept the idea of teaching English as a foreign language. In truth, although French is the
official language, [...] many people speak at least some English (4).
Ultimately, we can understand this dichotomy in terms of Crystals concentric circles. While
many French people have accepted the idea of the Expanding Circle, some of them remain
opposed to the idea of the Outer Circle and the use of franglais in daily life. As we expand into
Paris, we must remain very cognizant of these beliefs so as not to offend anyone.
Developing a World Standard English
The use of English as a global language allows nations to more efficiently communicate and
achieve what Crystal calls mutual intelligibility. However, as previously mentioned, different
English dialects and dictionaries will likely develop throughout the world as more E2s and E3s
begin to speak the English language. Because of this, we face a significant challenge in naming
one particular World Standard English. Weiss mentions how scholars like C.K. Ogden attempted
to create simplified English forms in the 1930s, but to no avail. He goes on to say that nowadays,
many firms try to develop a controlled vocabulary of 1,000-3,000 words when writing for
international audiences. Weiss points out that as inconvenient, even chafing, as this may

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[become] for the communicator, it radically reduces the burden for E2 and E3 readers. At
Mcbarrybowen, we want to reduce that burden in whatever way possible, especially in light of
the aforementioned negative attitudes toward the English language in France. We definitely face
a challenging business environment, but I believe we can adapt appropriately and use English in
optimal ways.
Recommendations
As you can see, English is becoming a global language and will continue to do so throughout the
next five years. However, we need to exercise extreme caution and demonstrate respect for the
people of France as we communicate with our new French clients. To do this, I recommend we
take the following steps:
1. Adopt or create a form of World Standard English (WSE) to use in our business
communications. This way, we can successfully reach E2s and E3s and easily translate our
documents into French as needed.
I recommend we refer to the European Unions English Style Guide for help with this
task. The European Union prepared this handbook for an audience of authors and
translators in the European Commission, and it provides valuable instruction and
advice on how to write in English for French audiences.
We will need to develop a list of English words to avoid without question, so as not to
offend our French colleagues.
We will train our international employees to write in a style compatible with WSE.
This will involve a more technical concern for using words and sentences in ways
[...] most likely to be understood and translated correctly (7) by French readers.
Our employees will also need to write in a style demonstrating an awareness of
political and cultural frustrations (7) in France. So, we will conduct further research
of French attitudes toward English, and we will explain them during training.
We will create a digital dictionary for our French audience to use as needed.
2. Interact with locals to demonstrate respect and to learn more about their culture.
According to The World Travel Guide, the French have high expectations when it
comes to understanding their culture, and when [communication] attempts are
accompanied by a genuine interest to learn and a considerable amount of humility, a
foreign business counterpart will impress his French hosts as a considerable
individual. As we develop and expand our business at Mcgarrybowen, we want to
impress our French colleagues and create positive relationships. In order to do so, we
will evidently need to immerse ourselves in their culture.
These steps help address the considerable challenges outlined previously, particularly the task of
developing a World Standard English that enables efficient communication but does not
minimize cultural identities. By implementing these recommendations, our agency will adapt to
this tricky environment and will continue to thrive internationally as English becomes more of a
global language.
I enjoyed gathering this information for you, and I hope you have found it helpful. If you have
any questions or desire more information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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References
(1) Business Communication in France. Businessculture.org. Passport to Trade, 2014. Web. 12
February 2015.
(2) Crystal, David. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2003. Print.
(3) European Commission, Directorate-General for Translation. English Style Guide.
European Union, 17 February 2015. Web. 18 February 2015.
(4) France History, Language, and Culture. World Travel Guide. Columbus Travel Media,
Ltd., 2015. Web. 12 February 2015.
(5) Leopold, Evelyn. Does French Stand a Chance Against a Global English-language
Tsunami? The Huffington Post. The Huffington Post, 4 June 2013. Web. 12 February
2015.
(6) Poirier, Agnes. Franglais Row: Is the English Language Conquering France? BBC News.
BBC News, 22 May 2015. Web. 12 February 2015.
(7) Weiss, Edmond H. The Elements of International English Style: A Guide to Writing
Correspondence, Reports, Technical Documents, and Internet Pages for a Global
Audience. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2005. Print.

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