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Title: Transnationals in an English-speaking world

Authors: Ivan Light

Addresses: Department of Sociology, University of California, P.O. Box 951551, Los Angeles CA 90095, USA

Abstract: The dominance of the English language in the last half century has simplified globalisation and enabled more peoples to engage in transnational entrepreneurship than ever was possible in the past. Currently, transnational entrepreneurs need only English language competence to undertake the work of knitting together geographically and linguistically distant regions and countries. Although everywhere an elite skill, English language competence is now widespread in every region of the world. Therefore, linking two non-English-speaking countries now requires only one language, English. In the past, when middleman minorities undertook international trade, that same linkage required mastery of three language: the language of the exporter, the language of the middlemen and the language of the importer. English language dominance is a cultural resource that abets globalisation, but some evidence suggests a peculiar asymmetry arises when English-speaking countries export to non-English-speaking countries.

Keywords: entrepreneurs; transnational entrepreneurship; middleman minority; English language competence; ethnic economy; social capital; cultural capital; entrepreneurial behaviour; English-speaking world; globalisation; elite skills; transnationals; international trade; cultural resources; exporting; English-speaking countries; non-English-speaking countries.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2014.065307

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2014 Vol.23 No.1/2, pp.10 - 26

Published online: 21 Oct 2014 *

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