The spread of English as the dominant global language and a useful lingua franca in many professional and academic cross-border and cross-language encounters is one of the most significant developments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Rather than focusing on its role as “global language” (Crystal, 2003), the main objective of this article is to demonstrate that the English language is not always a panacea through which all language differences can be resolved and communication facilitated. For instance, it has been demonstrated that in Italian financial language, the use of English creates a ‘language barrier’ that, alongside the highly technical terminology of the field, intimidates prospective financial consumers to the point of discouraging them from investing their money, let alone navigating the stock market. Indeed, the 2006 survey L’Italia che risparmia by Patti Chiari showed that 83% of Italian savers perceive the Anglicisms used in financial communication as an obstacle to understanding financial information, and one of the main reasons they do not feel comfortable in investing. In a world in which financial risk is shifted toward individuals and people have to rely more and more on themselves financially, this may have negative consequences in terms of living standards, especially after retirement. For this reason, it is of fundamental importance that, besides research on financial literacy, language-sensitive research be conducted in the field of financial and investor communication. Given these premises, the analysis carried out in this article lies at the intersection of two research strands, i.e., English in contact with other languages and English for Specific Purposes and it reports and interprets data collected using two different research methods: a small corpus of financial terms from the existing EduCare financial glossary (Study 1) and a survey conducted through a closed-ended written questionnaire administered to a sample of 132 potential beginning investors (Study 2). This study is a further step in problematising the ‘language barrier’ in Italian financial communication. This objective is accomplished in three steps. First of all, the language of financial communication in Italian is dissected, so as to analyse the ways in which English influences it at a terminological/lexical level (Section 3). Then, the degree to which English lexical borrowings pervade Italian financial communication is investigated (Section 3). Finally, the average retail investors’ reactions towards the use of English in Italian financial communication are determined (Section 4).

"Pensi che un bond sia un agente segreto?" English as a Lingua-Not-So-Franca in Italian Financial Communication

BOGGIO, Cecilia
2017

Abstract

The spread of English as the dominant global language and a useful lingua franca in many professional and academic cross-border and cross-language encounters is one of the most significant developments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Rather than focusing on its role as “global language” (Crystal, 2003), the main objective of this article is to demonstrate that the English language is not always a panacea through which all language differences can be resolved and communication facilitated. For instance, it has been demonstrated that in Italian financial language, the use of English creates a ‘language barrier’ that, alongside the highly technical terminology of the field, intimidates prospective financial consumers to the point of discouraging them from investing their money, let alone navigating the stock market. Indeed, the 2006 survey L’Italia che risparmia by Patti Chiari showed that 83% of Italian savers perceive the Anglicisms used in financial communication as an obstacle to understanding financial information, and one of the main reasons they do not feel comfortable in investing. In a world in which financial risk is shifted toward individuals and people have to rely more and more on themselves financially, this may have negative consequences in terms of living standards, especially after retirement. For this reason, it is of fundamental importance that, besides research on financial literacy, language-sensitive research be conducted in the field of financial and investor communication. Given these premises, the analysis carried out in this article lies at the intersection of two research strands, i.e., English in contact with other languages and English for Specific Purposes and it reports and interprets data collected using two different research methods: a small corpus of financial terms from the existing EduCare financial glossary (Study 1) and a survey conducted through a closed-ended written questionnaire administered to a sample of 132 potential beginning investors (Study 2). This study is a further step in problematising the ‘language barrier’ in Italian financial communication. This objective is accomplished in three steps. First of all, the language of financial communication in Italian is dissected, so as to analyse the ways in which English influences it at a terminological/lexical level (Section 3). Then, the degree to which English lexical borrowings pervade Italian financial communication is investigated (Section 3). Finally, the average retail investors’ reactions towards the use of English in Italian financial communication are determined (Section 4).
English in Italy: Linguistic, Educational and Professional Challenges
FrancoAngeli
Lingua, traduzione, didattica
61
86
978-88-917-5010-5
financial literacy, financial communication, Anglicisms
Boggio, Cecilia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1658421
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