English Clearly Language of Business in Europe
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Holmes Report
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English Clearly Language of Business in Europe

A pan-European survey by European public relations firm Pleon suggests that the English language is prevalent and ubiquitous in every day business communications across the continent. The survey was carried out in eight European countries.

Paul Holmes

A pan-European survey by European public relations firm Pleon suggests that the English language is prevalent and ubiquitous in every day business communications across the continent. The survey, carried out in eight European countries, reveals that continental European business professionals use approximately 30 different English words every day and also showed that many Europeans think it is essential to understand English at work.

The survey was conducted by Pleon in Belgium, Italy, Croatia, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic to determine how English is used on the European mainland and to understand perceptions of the language itself. The findings show that not only do Europeans speak English on a daily basis, the majority is also sent documents in English and advertisers and marketers commonly use English slogans as part of their campaigns.

English is so commonly used across Europe, that many countries have a new word to describe the unique mix of English with their local dialect, including Franglais (French and English), Denglish (German and English), Nederengels (Dutch and English) and Spanglish (Spanish and English). The most common phrases include: no big deal, piece of cake, take it easy, what’s up, that’s right, of course, don’t worry be happy; which are used in all of the eight countries surveyed. After English, French phrases appeared to also be popular, with many countries saying “c’est la vie” on a regular basis.

According to Pleon chief executive Timo Sieg, “The English language is one of the most dominant in the world, second only to Mandarin, and this survey proves that English plays an important role in business communication. However, though the survey reveals the importance of the English language in European countries, it is imperative to also recognize local cultures and philosophies.

“We appreciate that at the highest level it is important to communicate in one language and with one voice, but country by country, communication needs to take local cultures, behaviors and traditions into consideration.”

Pleon, which has its headquarters in Germany and its largest operations in that market and the Netherlands, says it actively encourages staff to learn other languages, and runs a pan-European internal exchange program that allows employees to move across the continent to experience different markets, languages and cultures.

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