The proposed paper features a case study that monitored and assessed workplace language use within a U.S. multinational company where English is the official language of business. The case study examined language use by Hispanic immigrant workers employed at a rice mill in a rural northwestern U.S. community. In the week-long needs assessment, the author interviewed 26 nonnative English speaking coworkers, 2 native English speaking coworkers, and 10 mid- and senior-level managers. The author also observed daily operations in all departments of the rice mill, participated in the safety training and testing, and shared his findings with senior officials at the company’s world headquarters in the U.S. Although English is the lingua franca at this U.S. agribusiness giant, Hispanic mill workers (a majority in most mills in the U.S.) worked almost exclusively in Spanish. Hispanic mill workers used Spanish in everyday work situations from daily team meetings to report writing. Communication with senior mill managers required the use of a translator. Nearly all reports were written in Spanish, requiring an English translation as mandated by OSHA. Senior officials are keenly concerned about (1) addressing safety issues when two languages are intertwined during daily operations in their mills nationwide and (2) finding an effective solution to enforce the use of English as a lingua franca of business.
Sacco, Steven J.
"Challenging the Myth of English as a Lingua Franca in International Business,"
Global Advances in Business and Communications Conference & Journal:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/gabc/vol6/iss1/3