The Importance of Knowing a Foreign Language in the Business World

Growing attention towards foreign languages as the language of business interaction is determined by important factors such as economic globalization, cultural and educational integration, which all result in active development of international economic relations, businesses and enterprises (Ball 14). Today, the global structure of political, economic and cultural relations exists, extending beyond traditional capacities and connecting separate societies into one single system.

The development of a multicultural world and society, based on the great change of ideas affecting the economic, political and state areas of public life, proves that the world civilization of twenty-first century cannot have a fixed character; it must conduct a dialog and be decentralized and intercultural (Ball 15). In this process, a main role in the world economy belongs to foreign language, which on the one hand, is the mean of international cooperation and mutual understanding, and on the other hand, the method of other cultures cognition (Swift 106).

Knowledge of a foreign language as a way of communication between cultures creates a real background for intercultural literacy forming. It is very important for business partnership at the international level in the conditions of the economic globalization process (Swift 97, Bargiela-Chiappini 18).

Professional economic education is the academic environment, where an interculturally developed person is formed, in a foreign language.

This type of personality possesses a certain level of lingo-cultural, socio-linguistic, socio-cultural and cross-cultural knowledge and skills that provide real business interaction in the professional-oriented field of activity. Development and actualization of practical knowledge and skills can occur in different types of activity, such as communication, research, cognitive exploration, creative activity, each directed on self-perfection and self-development (Varner 43).

Thus, cross-culturally developed person is an integrative and integral quality of an individual, who possesses a certain social status, professional knowledge and skills; and linguistic, speech and cultural potential. Interculturally competent personality is considered in the unity of sociable and cognitive field of activity, as well as self-actualization and self-perfection activity. These activities are directed on forming the informative reservoir about cultural, economic and political background of the studied language’s country and designing of verbal and nonverbal behaviour on comparative and comparable basis. Language culture is an integral and a substantial part of individual’s culture in general (Landis 14).

Recent economic and sociological researches show that for state enterprises to compete successfully with the best foreign companies, every qualified specialist should on foreign original sources be aware of current events in the developed countries in the relevant areas of science and technology. It is no secret that today knowledge of foreign language is one of the basic criteria of employment, and also serves as a highly competitive advantage. In addition, the value of a specialist, who can speak one or more foreign languages, shows an increase of at least 20% comparing to those who don’t speak any foreign language at all(Swift 52).

World experience showed that companies don’t only need translators, but highly qualified specialists, able to speak one or many foreign languages. Thus, knowledge of a foreign language now becomes one of the terms of professional competence. A specialist should regularly read literature on professional subjects in foreign languages to know about the last achievements. He or she must have reading, translation and communication skills, and should take part in international conferences and events. This undoubtedly assists the increase of not only speech but also general international culture.

The teaching of foreign languages has a positive influence on the development of all mental functions of people. A foreign language enables an individual to understand that there exist other methods of expressing ideas, other thoughts and other connections, which are different from those of the native language (Schmidt 118).

Many scientists, studying the problem of foreign languages believe that when studying a foreign language, the mind’s development progresses not so much by comparing to the native language, but due to solution of constantly complicating lingo-cogitative tasks, containing the problematic elements related to the semantic content of the studying process. This way, both the cognitive and communicative function (“communicative function” is a set phrase) of one’s mind develops actively. The study of foreign language contributes to the development of important cogitative operations, such as comparison, analysis, synthesis, and creative logics (Babcock 375).

The function of foreign languages as facilities of professional orientation forming obtains the primary value. Here, the achievement of distant strategic goal (professional formation) will be mediated by the achievement of near tactical aims, related to mastering foreign language (Babcock 386).

It is generally known, that the ability to communicate, which is actually the purpose of studying a foreign language, lies in the hands of the organizations of production, public relations, management and service areas. Conversational teaching assumes the organization of the teaching process as a model of conversational process. In the process of teaching, an individual studies the techniques of interaction and its operational side; masters speech etiquette, strategy and tactic of dialogic and group interaction; learns to solve different communication-based tasks, be a communicative partner, which is one of most professionally meaningful qualities of modern specialist.

Traditionally, English is considered to be the language of international interaction. Research shows that the knowledge of English is the most important requirement for employers. However, in collaboration with different European companies it is also important to set a business contact in partners’ native languages, which include French, German, Spanish, and Italian (Swift 62).

Apart from the European languages, the demand for the Chinese language has grown as the alliance with Asian companies rises annually.

Equal to fluently speaking the “traditional” European languages, specialists speaking Hebrew, Portuguese and Hindi are higher valued. In recent years, the interest in Czech, Polish and Slovak has considerably grown, as well as to the languages of the Scandinavia, such as Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian.

It is possible to make the conclusion that forming multicultural or multilingual competencies in international business communication is related to the goals and tasks of business education, orienting the present-day personality on modern international economic practice. Simultaneous study of foreign language and culture of the target country is necessary for interculturally competent personality formation.

Understanding of business education as modern direction in the system of higher economic education requires the search of the new approaches to teaching a foreign language as means of international business interaction of future businessmen.

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