The English language can change and adapt like a chameleon. Whereas certain colloquial phrases and ways to express yourself are acceptable and do work in day-to-day situations, business English requires a much more formal register.
Either way, a more in-depth understanding of the language invites us to also learn more about the cultures in which it is spoken, as well as its linguistic structure. For example, when studying pronunciation and grammar, we often discover some really interesting fun facts.
Although they are fun and interesting, those deeper facts about a foreign language may bring about a wider identification with it. This in turn leads to a greater understanding of the language itself.
With that in mind, this post lists 15 interesting facts about business English.
English as a Global Language for Business
English grammar is relatively simple when compared with other languages. This obviously doesn’t mean we don’t need to learn grammar, only that this part can be much easier for those trying to learn English. In fact, this is one of the reasons why English is so widely used as a global language, both in business and on other occasions.
Going from no English at all to being able to communicate fairly well takes less time than it would in another language with more complicated grammar. This occurs not only because English grammar is simpler, but also due to the cultural influence the language has.
The way English influences the world is a natural byproduct of what is called a “soft power”. Meaning, a nation influences others using methods other than military domination (which in contrast would be a “hard power”). Those methods are based on financial and subsequent cultural dependency. With the United States being the world’s largest economy, the country’s influence can be clearly seen across the board.
Also, the British Empire was the major force to be reckoned with for centuries. Back then, British culture was disseminated through Britain’s military might. And although that has changed, the influence exerted upon the world has not.
That level of influence eventually penetrated the business world in a self-feeding cycle. Because business English is so pervasive and influential, the more it is used, the more its influence increases. Which brings us to our list of interesting facts on how English works in a business setting.
15 Facts on English in Business
Here are some very surprising facts related to business English:
1. Fewer Pauses
In pronunciation, the spaces between syllables and even words in English are shorter than in other languages. This makes them sound like they’re all clustered together. It is thus surprisingly easier for people to learn common sentences by heart.
We tend to store knowledge more easily when there is some sort of context around them. Thus, when a certain word is always used together with other words, it becomes easier to memorize.
On the other hand, this may decrease a student’s motivation to learn the meaning of each individual word. So, even if your learning style involves memorization, don’t just stick with that. Keep looking for wider meanings and the grammar behind the sentences you’re learning.
2. Constant Growth
As mentioned above, business English is highly dynamic and therefore in constant flux.
As new needs keep arising all the time, new words are created to meet them. On average, a new word is added to the English thesaurus every two hours.
And this figure gets even more surprising as time passes. After a whole year, 4,000 new words will have been added to the English language.
3. Vast Vocabulary
The aforementioned accelerated creation and expansion of words and meanings does have consequences. Astonishing consequences, for that matter. Despite having simple grammar, English vocabulary includes an immense number of words, resulting in multiple options when it comes to expressing whatever message needs to be conveyed.
Furthermore, English vocabulary breaks many records, such as: the shortest word (“I”); the shortest sentence (“Go!”); and the word with the largest number of applications (“set”, which can be used in 465 different ways). English grammar may be relatively easier to learn than other languages, but English vocabulary, with all of its repetitions and simplifications, is extremely vast and rich.
4. You Can Talk to Everyone
The ability to talk and do business with the entire world also has an influence on such an extensive vocabulary. The language itself was born on a small European island, but was then propagated to every corner of the planet, clashing with hundreds of different peoples and cultures. Each with their own words.
What You Need to Consider for the Software Developers in Your Company to Speak Business English
Some of those foreign words were swallowed by the English language, thereby changing it. Some even spread to other countries as well. Others never left their birthplace.
That explains why certain terms are only used in the USA, Jamaica, South Africa, or New Zealand, for example. There are many different accents, too.
5. A Non-Native Language
Although millions of people speak English as their native tongue, due to all the factors stated above, it is also a universal language. In fact, it is the official language of the business world. And the world’s second language in general.
Which brings us to an interesting conclusion. According to writer and linguist David Crystal, the number of non-native speakers of English is way above that of native speakers. It’s a 3:1 ratio. Just think about that if you ever struggle with how to be confident while speaking English to native speakers. They’re actually a minority!
6. Easy Fluency
According to Twinword, a company specialized in SEO, a native speaker knows between 20 and 30 thousand words on average.
Considering how fast the language grows and evolves, that is the same number of words that get added to the English vocabulary in a period of just 5 years!
Therefore, even if you don’t know millions of words, you can still become fluent with a reduced vocabulary.
Given the great number of countries where English is spoken, its native speaker population is simply huge. When we add the non-native speakers to the equation, we get an even larger population.
The figures are actually amazing. Worldwide, 1 out of 4 people speak English. Including all proficiency levels. This amounts to roughly 2 billion people. Almost twice the entire population of India. That number alone reveals a great opportunity to interact with people from all around the world if you choose to learn English.
8. Third Place
English is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, losing only to Mandarin and Spanish. However, it is still the most popular second language choice across the globe.
In China, about 300 million people are currently striving to learn English. It is also the official language of international institutions, such as the United Nations.
9. True Growth
In spite of China’s remarkable economic growth, which has helped boost Chinese as a second language option, English continues to grow.
As such, the quarter of China’s population that is now learning English may become half of the population by 2030. Based on current world growth models, the number of English speakers could easily surpass the 4 billion mark! These numbers have been provided by the British Council, the world’s main authority on the English language.
10. Professional Investment
A corporate manager or officer with no English skills is hard to come by these days. In order to hold such high-ranking positions, communicating with other people is a key role, whatever their whereabouts may be. And English is the go-to language for that purpose.
If you’re looking for a promotion or want your business to grow, investing in your English skills is not just a nice bonus, it is a must. It is also an efficient way to protect your career during a crisis. Job opportunities are significantly more abundant for those who decide to learn English.
Speaking English is critical to business. All the interactions described in the above items are essential when it comes to networking, which in turn is the key that will unlock your career path.
English-speaking professionals are more able and therefore likely to establish a relationship with other professionals. If you want to meet more people, thus increasing your chances of getting relocated or promoted, an important step is to learn English.
In some professional situations, knowing English is even more important than holding a more technical type of knowledge.
12. Working Abroad
Globalization is an irreversible phenomenon at this point. Thus, working or traveling abroad for business is a reality for many people nowadays, no matter what country they’re originally from.
You should be ready when that opportunity comes knocking at your door.
13. More Autonomy in Daily Affairs
English is an ever-present factor on all levels of the business world. Those who start learning the language while they’re still young are thus bound to be offered many more opportunities when they enter the job market.
Even using professional tools becomes a lot more fluid, as most of the terms in those tools appear in English. Their whole interface sometimes only exists in English.
14. A Wider Target Audience
Marketing professionals understand more than anyone else what we just mentioned above. English words and expressions are all over the place when dealing with the market. Speaking of which, what exactly is your target audience?
Everybody is trying to learn English. So, if you want your business to reach global levels, communicating in English will make it possible for you to interact with the whole world.
Getting paid to do what they love is everyone’s dream job, right? Marketplace experts reveal that an analyst who speaks English fluently earns 40% more than someone with basic English. In the case of a manager, that difference can reach up to 70%.
How To Improve Your English Skills
The answer is pretty straightforward. With dedicated teachers to help you learn everything you need to learn. If you wish to focus on business English, your teacher can prepare a more business-oriented content for you.
The Cambly app will pair you up with a native teacher so you can focus on learning business English to boost your career. Get in touch to schedule a class right now!
We hope this post has been useful to you. Thanks a lot, and see you next time!