Englishnization in Francophone Africa? Insights into Workplace Language Use Open Access Deposited
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In this essay, the authors describe the results of a study that measured the use of English and French as perceived by one group of female managers and employees working in logistics and global supply chain management positions in Francophone Africa, Women in Logistics-Africa. The goal was to determine if “mandating English as the common corporate language,” sometimes called Englishnization (Neeley, 2012), has attained a significant presence within corporations operating in Francophone Africa. The 124 subjects from 94 companies in Francophone Africa, responded to a 14-question survey; 24 subjects participated in follow-up interviews. The results indicate that English is highly valued among the vast majority of respondents and is mostly used in exchanges between the French-speaking employees and their English-speaking bosses, clients, and suppliers. French, however, remains the dominant workplace language used overall as the 124 French-speaking professionals communicate almost exclusively in French with co-workers and French-speaking clients and suppliers. Consequently, English is not always the business lingua franca as claimed by Neeley (2012, 2017), and other Business English as a Lingua Franca (BELF) researchers (see e.g., Kankaanranta et al., 2015, 2018). Instead, the findings in the current study add to an increasing pool of evidence of multilingual workplace settings, even among multinational corporations where English is the official language (Ehrenreich, 2009; Janssens & Steyaert, 2014; Sacco, 2017, 2019a).
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