It’s a widely-accepted fact that English is the global business language, and that it will continue to be so for many years to come. What is less clear is to what extent this fact has allowed native speakers–the 400 million or so people on the planet fortunate to have been born in an English-speaking environment–to claim some form of cultural ‘victory’ over non-natives.
It is true that there are some individuals who rest easy knowing that they have mastery of the language, which they equate with mastery of their sphere of business. But there is a growing band of enlightened professionals who see their linguistic prowess as a potential barrier to business success. And it is these wise souls that have inspired and encouraged Real World English.
Many times in my experience of working with business professionals from around the world I have heard the complaint that native speakers are particularly difficult to work with. Increasingly, this complaint is partnered with “so I prefer to deal with the Germans/Russians/Swedes etc. as their English is so much clearer”. It becomes clear that resting on our laurels is not an option and that unless we are prepared to do something about how we and our language are perceived by our international counterparts, the effect will start to be felt profoundly on the bottom line.