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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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1.0 Language and Communication

Language is the most complex form of communication used by any animal. The standard textbook accounts of language say that a specific consist of three components: a phonological component that determines how words and sentences are pronounced, a syntactical component that determines the arrangement of words and morphemes in sentences, and a semantic component that assigns a meaning or interpretation to words and sentences (John, 2006)

The components of language include speech sounds, written symbols, words and syntax. All these permit language to be productive.

Since it has been established that language is a form of communication, hence it is important to dwell upon it. As written by Agagu (2010), communication can be described as a chain of events whereby a message links up the source or originator with the expected destination which interprets it.

However, Language in form of communication is highly important to buying and selling of goods and services. Yet communication relies upon a shared language, a pre-requisite that does not exist in many international business situations.

2.0 Language Barrier

Language barrier is one of the numerous barriers to communication; it is a blockage in the communication system constituting one of the most serious problems of feedback mechanisms. It can occur in any one of the three steps in the communication process; initiation, transmission or reception. The language barrier is the use of language and or sign and symbol that is not comprehensible by the recipient. This has been presented by the use of registered words by various professions (Gerber, 1979)

3.0 Global Market

A market is one of the many varieties of systems, institution, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. On the global scale, market ranges from interpersonal to international exchange of goods and services with respect to various countries.

4.0 Language Barriers in the Global Market

More than a decade ago, language barriers are the most significant operational problems identified in the global market.

A headline triumphantly declares a company “lost in translation” due to language missteps. Whether selling a grinding machine, marketing a software program or manufacturing components, companies would benefit from knowing the role language barrier is playing in today's business economy (

Language barrier is a problem and or a source of frustration, dissatisfaction and friction between it (, 2015) and the global market. Also, there is an existence of language barrier in a transaction system, the buyers or the sellers are compounded with their sense of being “outcast”.

The most obvious display, in every place of work, of the language barrier is seen in the relationship between a multinational parent company and its network of international subsidiaries, a relationship regarded as by a number of unique features.

5.0 Problem Statement

The notion that cultural differences can be a significant barrier to doing business is now commonly accepted. However, this commonplace acceptance might have blinded researchers to a more basic country characteristic with language. Very little research has investigated the effect of language barrier on global market.

In the intervening two decades, little has changed, with contemporary management scholars variously describing the problem of managing businesses across the language barrier as a forgotten factor.

By and large, the contributions of the pioneers in this field can in no way be claimed to represent a cohesive or comprehensive body of research. As a result we still know relatively little about the impact of language on (international) market.

However, perhaps the most serious barrier to language in business has been the absence of a systematic analysis of the problems associated with language differences. It is simplistic to state that language is a problem to multinational business, but researchers will not be able to dissect the nature and implications of these problems until they have an answer to the question “what exactly is it about language that creates the problem?”


Agagu, A.A. (2010), Theory and Practice of Public Administration: pg 86, 968-041-568-8

John R.S., (2006). What is Language: Some preliminary Remarks1

Retrieved 24 November 2015, from,. (2015). 2004, while the number of employees in foreign affiliates has - A - SPL. Retrieved 17 November 2015, from

Gerber, G. (1979). Communication, The Encyclopedia AmericanDanbury: The Dorsey Press.

Harzing, A., & Feely, A. (2008). The language barrier and its implications for HQ‐subsidiary relationships.Cross Cultural Management, 15(1), 49-61.

John R.S., (2006). What is Language: Some preliminary Remarks1

Retrieved 24 November 2015, from,. (2015). The Your English Success Project: The Language Barrier at Work. Retrieved 18 November 2015, from

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