Language barriers holding back global science

[Language & Science ★★]


(P1) Language barriers are holding back science around the world. English is the language of science, but a third of research is not printed in English. Researchers from the University of Cambridge said scientists miss a lot of important research. They said journals should have summaries of a study in many languages. They also said universities should translate research into different languages, especially Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

(P2) International companies are asking staff to use only English to reduce language barriers. Germany’s Volkswagen announced that English is its official language. It wants to attract employees. Japan’s carmaker Honda said its staff must use English by 2020. Researcher Tatsuya Amano said scientists need to be serious about this. He said the WHO missed important research about avian flu in China because it was in Chinese.

WORDS: 133


VOCABULARY: barriers, holding back, printed, journals, reduce, official


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Is learning English important in your country? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think more international companies should ask their employees to use English? Why or why not?
  4. What is the most difficult skill for you to learn in English?


  1. How much research in science is not published in English?
  2. Besides English, what other four languages should research be translated into?
  3. Small local companies are asking their employees to speak English. (T or F)
  4. The approved language for Volkswagen is _______________.
  5. WHO is an organization that overlooked a lot of information about the __________ flu because it was written in Chinese.


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • English is the language of science (P1)
  • miss a lot (P1)
  • must use English by 2020 (P2)
  • missed important research (P2)

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Image source: by Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information

One thought on “Language barriers holding back global science

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