Profiles in Diversity Journal Second Quarter 2022

Page 48

Cross-Cultural Communication:

BEYOND WORDS By Dr. Thomas J. Bussen

I think U.S. and Chinese businesses need a common language and dialogue. – Jack Mai

T

he 19th century Swiss philosopher Ferdinand de Saussure wrote, “In the lives of individuals and of societies, language is a factor of greater importance than any other.ii ” No doubt there’s some truth in this remark. But, as Bill Bryson

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2022 Second Quarter

writes in The Mother Tongue, a linguistic convergence is well under way, which may one day make the fears of Saussure a thing of the past. “For the airlines of 157 nations (out of 168 in the world), [English] is the agreed international language of discourse. In India, there are more

than 3,000 newspapers in English. The six member nations of the European Free Trade Association conduct all their business in English, even though not one of them is an English-speaking country. When companies from four European countries—France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland—formed

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