Language policy in an enacted world
The organization of linguistic diversity
Increasingly, foreign contacts are a daily fact of life for many companies. It is therefore remarkable that little to no empirical research has been conducted into the language policy applied by such organizations. Companies with transnational contacts are generally assumed to use English throughout the world as a “lingua franca,” yet whether this is actually the case is questionable. In a multicultural Europe that is striving to unite, there may well be other languages that could qualify as the international language of choice. Research is needed to investigate which language or languages are chosen, by whom the choice is made and why, in certain situations, speakers switch to different languages. This article focuses on the report of an empirical study addressing these aspects. A case study of a Dutch parent company that runs a holiday centre in Germany is presented in order to analyse micro-level interactions which can only be understood by considering the language choice as a result of the way in which the environment is “enacted.” For this analysis, use was made of an interview conducted with the Dutch head of the human resources department, along with transcripts of audio-recorded conversations, and also documents such as the mission statement.
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