The proposed paper features the results of a survey and follow-up interviews that assessed workplace language use within 20 multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in French West Africa. Participating corporations, headquartered in nine different countries, operate in over 100 countries and represent 13 major industries. Sixty-six managers and executives identified (1) their corporation’s official workplace language, (2) the percentage of time employees speak English versus French, (3) the weaknesses in nonnative employees’ English skills, and (4) recommendations for ESL instruction at French West African universities. The present study confirms that English is the official language of nearly every MNCs operating in French West Africa; however, employees in none of these MNCs work exclusively in English as both English and French are intertwined during daily operations. The results support Janssens & Steyaert (2014) call for a multilingual franca, where mixed language use is tolerated. The results also confirm Sacco’s (2017) findings that the exclusive use of English as the lingua franca of international business within multinational corporations is unrealistic.
Sacco, Steven J.
"Multilingual Franca: Workplace Language Use Within Multinational Corporations In French West Africa,"
Global Advances in Business and Communications Conference & Journal:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/gabc/vol7/iss1/5