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ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMMUNICATION IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A TOOL FOR ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY DURING COVID-19

Authors:
  • mountain top university, Nigeria

Abstract

Economic studies have shown that fluency in a dominant language is important to economic success and increases economic efficiency. Therefore, the impact of entrepreneurship in economic growth cannot be achieved without effective communication skills, especially, through the use of a dominant language such as English language. English language is indispensable in entrepreneurship in Nigeria, thus, it is a veritable tool for economic sustainability in Nigeria. The paper aims at exploring how English Language communication can serve as a tool for economic sustainability. The study observes that a dominant language like English is needed in Nigeria for economic buoyancy and increase in entrepreneurship productivity. The study finds out that incorporating English Language as part of entrepreneurs' communication will enhance their efficiency and boosts economic productivity. The paper concludes that the impacts of English language communication in sustaining Nigeria economy cannot be neglected; it is the foundation for all aspects of human and national development. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure that communication in English language is attained by all and sundry in Nigeria.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMMUNICATION IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A TOOL
FOR ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY DURING COVID-19
By
1OLADEJO, TOLULOPE ODUNAYO (PhD)
Mountain Top University,
Ogun State.
1 Oladejo,T.O.(2020). English Language Communication In Entrepreneurship As A Tool For
Economic Sustainability During Covid-19MTU Journal of Entrepreneurship and Sustainable
Development. Vol.2, No.2. ISSN:2714-3163
ABSTRACT
Economic studies have shown that fluency in a dominant language is important to economic
success and increases economic efficiency. Therefore, the impact of entrepreneurship in
economic growth cannot be achieved without effective communication skills, especially, through
the use of a dominant language such as English language. English language is indispensable in
entrepreneurship in Nigeria, thus, it is a veritable tool for economic sustainability in Nigeria. The
paper aims at exploring how English Language communication can serve as a tool for economic
sustainability. The study observes that a dominant language like English is needed in Nigeria for
economic buoyancy and increase in entrepreneurship productivity. The study finds out that
incorporating English Language as part of entrepreneurs’ communication will enhance their
efficiency and boosts economic productivity. The paper concludes that the impacts of English
language communication in sustaining Nigeria economy cannot be neglected; it is the foundation
for all aspects of human and national development. Therefore, efforts should be made to ensure
that communication in English language is attained by all and sundry in Nigeria.
Keywords: English Language, Communication, Entrepreneurship, Economic
Sustainability, Covid-19
INTRODUCTION
Nigeria is a multilingual nation where English Language has acquired the status of a second
language to many people, while it is a third language to others. It plays a significant role in
education, politics, government administration, the judiciary, economy and legislation. English
according to Adekunle (1974) is the linguistic and symbolic embodiment of political power and
authority. English is the vehicle of globalization, and through it came information and
communication technology (ICT) which has a pervasive influence on education delivery. ICT,
through television, radio and satellite communication, on-line services, e-mail, computer
teleconferencing, has brought the world to the doorstep of the youths and other computer literate
people. Education is basic to any form of development. Since we cannot talk of education
without the language through which the concepts are expressed, English as the language of
education in Nigeria contributes in no small way to the rapid development experienced in
Nigeria. There is no doubt that Nigeria, as a country has benefited tremendously through the use
of the English language to advance the development of the country. Several scholars have
attested to the international value of English language.
The role of English language communication in entrepreneurship cannot be over-emphasised.
Where there is no language especially a unifying one like English Language there wouldn’t be
development and sustainability in economy. The primary purpose of language is communication
which in turn facilitates development and sustainability in economy. Communication is an
important prerequisite of sustaining economy and this is manifested through language. In view of
this, success in any entrepreneurship that will generate economic sustainability is hinged on
communication which means to inform, that is, the knowledge of information and access to the
information which is designed to create understanding of ideas or points of view between
entrepreneurs and their clients by generating desirable actions that will give desirable result .
Therefore, English language as a unifying language is sacrosanct for entrepreneurs to be
communicatively competent whether spoken or written as he/she will begin a process of
communication between him and the receiver in order to enhance his productivity.
Language is indeed the life blood of entrepreneurship as the most effective communication tool
available to human beings, Knapp and Daly (2002)opine that “the use of language to formulate
messages and to perform social actions is the paradigm case of communication’’. Consequently,
any strategy to be adopted by entrepreneurs in pursuing their goals must involve the use of
language. This is because language has the power to sustain or to erode relationships,. Therefore,
the acquisition of effective linguistics skills becomes imperative for any entrepreneur who wants
to succeed.
Economic studies have shown that fluency in a dominant language is important to economic
success and increases economic efficiency. Therefore, the impact of entrepreneurship in
economic growth cannot be achieved without effective communication skills, especially, through
the use of a language such as English. The surge of COVID-19 has affected economic buoyancy
through closure of some small scale businesses and thousands of workers have been relegated to
the unemployment line. Therefore, language become essential as a tool of communication for
economic sustainability in this period because of all the skills required for success in
entrepreneurship, a strong command of the English language is sacrosanct.
Language is essentially a means of communication among the members of a society. The
significance of communication between people equates the significance of language
which is the most important means of communication. In this vein, language is of uttermost
importance in the development of humans and this is best achieved through the development
of a major language. It is clear that a common language is important for unity and boost of
economy for there to be economic sustainability, there has to be unity of purpose and sharing the
same vision in a common language which is globalised as David Crystal called it English
Language as a globalised language.
English is critical for countries' successful participation in the global economy, in that it
provides individuals with access to crucial knowledge, skills and employment opportunities and
enables organisations to create and sustain international links. English Language is a tool for
communication which means that in communicating, both the speaker and listener should
understand each other. For there to be development via economy, effective communication is
essential and this is done through a language. Entrepreneurs use communication to function
effectively and language is one of the most important aspect of communication and culture of a
people. Through language, ideas are conceived, received, stored and expressed by the
entrepreneur. Therefore, language is a major instrument through which entrepreneurs and people
all over the world express their ideas, thoughts, feelings and sentiments and through which they
communicate with other people. An entrepreneur would have been an island to himself without
language to enhance effective communication with others. Entrepreneurs and people use
language to pass on information and knowledge of commerce and trade. Therefore, in Nigeria,
the essence of developing communication and language that is clear, unambiguous and universal
becomes imperative, but this has unfortunately not been the case. This situation calls for change,
hence the need for a lingua Franca that should be spoken and understood by all since English
Language is understood and spoken by the elite and educated ones in Nigeria only. A study has
shown that there are important financial benefits to members of linguistic minorities who learn
the dominant language; those who use their native language do not experience such benefits in
the labor market. Therefore, the study intends to contribute to knowledge by filling this existing
gap of making entrepreneur see the need why they should be entrenched and well-grounded in
English Language .
CONCEPT OF LANGUAGE
According to Lyons, languages are the principal systems of communication used by particular
groups of human beings within the particular society of which they are members. Especially
Lyons points out that, language is the best communicative system of human beings by particular
social groups. Sapir (1921), submits that language is a purely human and non- instinctive method
of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbol.
Language is also an indispensable cultural legacy with which all forms of human interactions are
carried out. It is capable of destroying or mending relationships.
Language is also a vehicle of thought which shapes the most characteristic of the human faculty.
It helps to insure a certain amount of cultural uniformity, thereby facilitating interpersonal,
cognitive communication. Fishman (1967) defines language as a system of symbols
characteristic of a group of people. Hatch (1992) views language as a system of arbitrary
symbols used for human communication. Banjo (1976) on one hand views language as a system
of vocal symbols by which members of a society or social group interact and co-operate.
Essien (1998) on the other hand submits that language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by
means of which human beings make meaning and communicate with each other in a given
community. Language therefore is a means by which people relate, interact and express their
thoughts, feelings and ideas through written signs and symbol. Language is always involved in
whatever strategy the entrepreneur chooses to adopt in pursuing his goals. Language is viewed
by Chomsky (1957) as the oil that lubricates activities within any human society. According to
Nwobia (2015), language is the key that is capable of bringing about the development of a
people. Crystal (1987) says language is supernatural and has a distinctive role in capturing the
essence of human thought and endeavour. Also, Crystal (2003) in his book “ English as a global
language’’ views English language as a language that achieves a genuinely global status as it
develops a special role that is recognized in every country.
PURPOSE OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE COMMUNICATION IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP
FOR ECONOMIC SUSTIANABILITY
For any economic sustainability, effective communication is essential. As Smith and Smith
(1971:553) submit that effective communication occurs only if the selected messages possess
utility to the destination. Invariably, communication can be viewed as effective if the
transmission of the messages to the intended user is in an accurate and comprehensible form. If
the message is not understood by the user, there is a breakdown in communication, thereby
rendering the information useless, and irrelevant for decision making in the process of
development. For there to be an effective communication, there must be a viable language in
use. In a country like Nigeria, for there to be an economic sustainability, there must be a
language that unites and is common to all and a sundry. A common language is not negotiable;
it is a necessity, not a luxury.
WHAT ARE THE PURPOSES OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AS A UNIFYING
LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA ESPECIALLY IN SUSTAINING ECONOMIC DURING
COVID-19 PANDEMIC?
English is the language of economic in Nigeria. Every business transaction is carried out and
expressed through language. It is through English language that any form of successful business
is acquired in Nigeria. In other words it is through English language that the skills and
knowledge needed for transacting business nationally and globally is acquired. Therefore,
English language is a primary instrument for entrepreneurship development and economic
sustainability in Nigerian.
English language is a unifying factor. It has allowed Nigerians to co-exist peacefully even with
diverse languages. It is this peaceful co-existence that engenders development either on
individual or national basis. Considering the multilingual nature of the country, the
communication crises that would have occurred among people from different linguistic
background is bridged by the use of English. It is possible for Nigerians irrespective of their
ethnic backgrounds, to study or work in any part of the country.
English as a Language of Trade and Commerce: Trade was one of the major factors which
brought the English language to Nigeria. The language has remained a language of trade and
commerce in the country till today. English Language facilitates trade among people of different
linguistic/ ethnic backgrounds in Nigeria. English language also serves the purpose of
international trade in Nigeria aside the local trading activities. English Language is a major
means of communication between Nigeria and its international trade partners.
English Language attracts international/ non-indigene customers. Using an effective language
that is non-indigenous which can capture people that are not from your ethnic group will make
clients interested in trying your product because of easy access and comprehension of your
products based on the use of a unifying language.
English Language as a tool to interact with others: With the help of English Language as a
unifying language, it will enhance smooth flow of communication between the entrepreneur and
the consumers .This will allow feedback between the speaker and his interlocutor.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The present study is English Language Communication in Entrepreneurship as A Tool For
Economic Sustainability during Covid-19 among Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
In order to achieve this aim, the following are the objectives of the study:
1. To identify the importance of language communication in entrepreneurship.
2. To analyze and explain the variance in language use in entrepreneurship.
3. To describe the impact of English Language communication in entrepreneurship
4. To identify the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in language
variation.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research survey questionnaire was designed from the following variables to seek the opinion
of respondents in order to determine the reliability of the study.
1. Does English Language communication in entrepreneurship have any impacts of on
economic sustainability in Nigeria?
2. Does English Language communication in entrepreneurship play any significant role in
economic sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic?
3. Does the use of English Language communication in entrepreneurship serve as a viable
tool for economic sustainability?
4. Are there any challenges of SMEs in language communication during Covid-19?
5. Does communication in a unified language enhance productivity?
LITERATURE REVIEW
Many scholars have defined entrepreneurship from various perspectives and these approaches
have added significance to the general commentary on the language of entrepreneurship. Ubong
2013 defines Entrepreneurship as an act of identifying and exploiting opportunities. He perceives
entrepreneurship as a skill for rapid economic advancement and not just an act of solving the
problems of unemployment, poverty and under-employment.
Stevenson and Jarillo (1990) define entrepreneurship as “a process by which individuals -either
on their own or inside organizations -pursue opportunities without regard to the resources they
currently control” Entrepreneurship generally is all about personal development, being creative,
self-sufficiency, taking initiative, and action orientation, etc.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This study is hinged on the theory of Systemic Functional Linguistics by M.A.K Halliday
(1994). This approach provides a solid theoretical underpinning to the study in order to
understand language communication in entrepreneurship and its functional meaning. This is
relevant to the study because the aim of the study is to assist entrepreneurs to understand and be
able to communicate effectively in English Language so as to boost their productivity. The study
also hopes to provide guidance for the entrepreneurs about how to make better speeches which in
turn will help them achieve their purposes and aims.
Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is a framework for describing and modelling language in
functional rather than formal terms. The theory is functional in that language is interpreted as a
resource for making meaning, and descriptions are based on extensive analyses of naturally-
occurring written and spoken texts (Halliday, 1994). The theory is also systemic in that it models
language as systems of choices (Matthiessen, 1995). System networks have been used in SFT for
more than 40 years as a way of representing the paradigmatic organization of choices within the
language system (Matthiessen, 2001: 65). Initially formalized and applied by Halliday in his
work on intonation (Halliday, 1963), network diagrams have been used extensively in all areas of
theoretical, descriptive and applied SFL research.
Systemic Functional theory is a linguistic theory that describes a text in terms of the multiple
meanings that it makes. While these meanings are realized by words or orthographic strings, both
grammatical and lexical, a text in the first instance is viewed as a semantic unit (Halliday and
Hasan, 1985). In a study such as this that seeks to categorize texts according to the meanings that
they make in a systematic way, rather than just the set of words that it uses most frequently, SFT
presents itself as an extremely useful model. It describes the use of language in context. It
conceptualizes language as a multidimensional semiotic space showing the organization of
language both globally as a meaning- making system and locally as sub-systems of language use.
“For a linguist to describe language without accounting for text is sterile; to describe text without
relating it to language is vacuous (Halliday 1985: 10). The length of the text is not important and
it can be either spoken or written, although for the purpose of this analysis, any reference to text
is to the written norm. The important factor is that it is a harmonious collection of meanings
appropriate to its context. They are centrally interested in how language is used to construe
meaning. Therefore, language is understood in relation to its global as well as local contexts
(Halliday, 1985:86). The variation in words uttered in a particular circumstance is identified by
SFT as three kinds of meaning in communication, referred to as metafunctions.
RESEARCH DESIGN
This study investigates English Language Communication in Entrepreneurship as a tool for
Economic Sustainability during Covid-19. In order to achieve this, the researcher used
descriptive research design; tabulations, basic methods of data analysis and simple percentage
are also employed.
INSTRUMENTS FOR DATA COLLECTION
The designed instrument for this study is a self-constructed questionnaire. The questionnaire
was administered by the researcher and it was a Yes /No structured questionnaire.
METHODOLOGY
The study is a descriptive survey research of the impact of English language communication in
entrepreneurship (small and medium enterprise SMEs) during covid-19 in Mowe area of
Obafemi Owode Local Government. A total of 60 SMEs were randomly selected and a ten item
structured questionnaire was used as instrument for data collection. Analysis of data was done
using descriptive statistics.
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION FINDINGS
QUESTION 1: Does English Language communication in entrepreneurship have any impacts on
economic sustainability in Nigeria?
QUESTION 2: Does English Language communication in entrepreneurship play any significant
role in economic sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic?
QUESTION 3: Does the use of English Language communication in entrepreneurship serve as a
viable tool for economic sustainability?
QUESTION 4: Are there any challenges of SMEs in language communication during Covid-19?
QUESTION 5: Does communication in a unified language enhance productivity?
QUESTION 6: Do you have satisfaction using English Language to communicate with your
customers?
QUESTION 7: Does communication in English language serve as a panacea to bridging
communication gap in entrepreneurship?
QUESTION 8: Can English Language communication boost productivity?
QUESTION 9: Do you face any difficulties in communicating with your customers in English
language?
QUESTION 10: Can English Language communication in entrepreneurship be a viable tool for
economic sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic?
RESPONSES TO QUESTIONNAIRE
S/N
ITEMS
Yes
%
No
%
1.
Does English
Language
communication in
entrepreneurship
have any impact
on economic
sustainability in
36
60.00
24
40.00
Nigeria?
2
Does English
Language
communication in
entrepreneurship
play any
significant role in
economic
sustainability
during the Covid-
19 pandemic?
35
58.33
25
41.67
3.
Does the use of
English Language
communication in
entrepreneurship
serve as a viable
tool for economic
sustainability?
39
65.00
21
35.00
4.
Are there any
challenges of
SMEs in language
communication
during Covid-19?
40
66.67
20
33.33
5.
Does
communication in
a unified language
enhance
productivity?
32
53.33
28
46.67
6.
Do you have
satisfaction using
English Language
to communicate
with your
customers?
26
43.33
34
56.67
7.
Does
communication in
English language
serve as a panacea
to bridging
communication
gap in
entrepreneurship?
40
66.67
20
33.33
8
Can English
Language
communication
boost
productivity?
38
63.33
22
36.67
9.
Do you face any
difficulties in
communicating
with your
customers in
English language?
36
60.00
24
40.00
10.
Can English
Language
communication in
entrepreneurship
be a viable tool
for economic
32
53.33
28
46.67
sustainability?
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
From the respondents in question 1, we observed that the highest percentage is 60 and 36
respondents answered to YES while 24 answered to NO which is 40%. This is to validate the
question that indeed English language communication has an impact on economic sustainability
in Nigeria. The same thing is applicable to feedbacks from question 2 in which 35 respondents
answered to YES which is 58.33% and 41.67% which is 25respodents answered NO that English
Language communication in entrepreneurship does not play any significant role in economic
sustainability.
The findings of the analysis also reveal larger percentage of the respondents (65.00%) believes
that the use of English Language communication in entrepreneurship serve as a viable tool for
economic sustainability.
It was found out from the analysis that 66.67% of the respondents attested to the fact that there
are challenges in language communication during the covid-19 lockdown as it was a challenge
for them as they couldn't access the internet to advertise and sell their products. However, it was
observed that the remaining 33.33% who are elites were able to transact their businesses and
communicate with people online via English language during the lockdown when there was ban
of movements across the country.
It was also observed that 75.8% of respondents have challenges with language variation while
communicating with their customers from other geographical location different from their own
as against 24.2% that was able to communicate with their customers via English language
thereby promoting their businesses.
The findings reveal that 63.33% respondents believe that English Language plays a major role in
entrepreneurship especially during covid-19 as it bridges gap of communication and enables
them to interact freely with their customers especially from other geographical location and also
it affords them the opportunity to be abreast with the information on current issues and trends as
it affects their businesses. The other respondents which are 24 of 36.67% have a divergent view
on English Language bridging communication gap in entrepreneurship.
It was also found out that 63.33% of the respondents believe that English language
communication is crucial for economic growth as it will boost their productivity and will help
them trade more widely on an international scale while the remaining 36.67% believe that they
can also operate better without English language.
The researcher also discovered that 60% respondents believed they faced difficulties
communicating in English language with their customers especially those that are not literates
while 40% respondents do not have any difficulty transacting business with their customers in
English language.
It was discovered that 53.33% believed that English language is a viable tool for economic
sustainability unlike 46.67% that have a reservation about the fact that English language can be a
viable toll for economic sustainability.
RECOMMENDATIONS
The development of any nation depends on the quality of education it offers its citizenry; as such
the Nigerian government needs to be committed to funding schools and equipping the building of
language laboratory with the deployment of qualified English language teachers across the
schools nationwide. This is because without a viable language, business transaction across
cultures and ethnic group will be difficult. Also, it will be difficult to engage in international
trading without being conversant with the appropriate language in use which is English an
international language.
CONCLUSION
A good command of English language in Nigeria will make entrepreneurs economically
empowered. English language communication in entrepreneurship in Nigeria is essential as it
will attract new investments and afford them international recognition and opportunities.
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Article
Language is the most common tool of communication as it plays vital role in helping people build a bridge of relationship. On one hand, it is an essential factor for all traders and their customers. Communication is on the other hand, fundamental to the existence and survival of individuals, groups, societies, and nations, as human communication is a social interaction process and without communication, barriers in business conversations will arise especially from inappropriate communication strategies adopted by interlocutors. This paper unravels language barriers to business communication in Mowe town of Ogun State, Nigeria and linguistic strategies employed by traders and their customers in the town in their effort to counter the challenges. The paper is based on research carried out in selected businesses within Mowe town of Ogun State. The study is hinged on John Searle (1975)"s Speech Acts Theory. The study used purposeful sampling method where 80 respondents were sampled within the central business district of Mowe town. The study is qualitative and is aimed at exploring the factors that cause language barriers and their impact on effective communication in Entrepreneurship. Methods of data collection used include questionnaire, participant"s observation and interview. The study observed that many customers in the town use their mother tongues in communicating with traders who do not speak their mother tongues which led to breakdown in communication between the customers and the traders. The study concluded that language barriers arise from different subjects such as meanings and uses of words, symbols, images, gestures, languages and dialects.
Book
This is the first comprehensive account of the Appraisal Framework. The underlying linguistic theory is explained and justified, and the application of this flexible tool, which has been applied to a wide variety of text and discourse analysis issues, is demonstrated throughout by sample text analyses from a range of registers, genres and fields.
Article
This paper examines the linguistic pragmatic rules that govern obituary notices in Malawian newspapers and how these notices are grounded in the cultural milieu of Malawian society. The guiding principle of this analysis is the notion that discourse should always be contextualized in particular circumstances of social life. A total of 63 obituary notices, sampled from two popular newspapers, were analyzed for both communicative and linguistic/sociolinguistic aspects. Using Gasparov's (1977) typology of discourses, the paper notes that Malawian obituary notices negotiate both public and private domains. The obituary is a predominantly private affair, which, however, uses a public forum for its consummation. Unlike obituary notices in other countries, the Malawian obituary notices are primarily addressed to the deceased rather than the reading public. The notices also incorporate features from African oral traditions, Christian traditions, and Western traditions, reflecting the multiple sources of the modern Malawian's experiences.
The standard Nigerian English in sociolinguistic perspective
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Adekunle, M.A. (1974). The standard Nigerian English in sociolinguistic perspective. Journal of Nigerian English Studies Association (NESA). 6, 1, 24-36.
Language. The Properties of Human Language
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Chomsky, N. (1957). Language. The Properties of Human Language. Oxford: Education Press Chomsky, Noam (2000): The Architecture of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press Crystal, D. (1997). English as a global language. Cambridge: CUP.
Handbook on Interpersonal Communication
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  • J A Daly
Knapp, M.L. and Daly, J.A. (2002). Handbook on Interpersonal Communication. CA:Sage.
The Place of Indigenous Language in National Development
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Nwobia N.U.(2015).The Place of Indigenous Language in National Development. Journal of Research on Humanities and Social Science,5(12).
Lexicogrammatical Cartography: English Systems. Tokyo: International Language Sciences Publishers
  • C Matthiessen
Matthiessen, C. (1995). Lexicogrammatical Cartography: English Systems. Tokyo: International Language Sciences Publishers.
(eds) Beyond content: exploring translation and multilingual text
  • Christian M I M Matthiessen
Matthiessen, Christian M.I.M. (2001). The environments of translation. In: Steiner, E. & Yallop, C. (eds) Beyond content: exploring translation and multilingual text. Berlin: de Gruyter.