The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting

The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting

The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting

The Linguistic Shaping of Accounting

Synopsis

Accounting may be viewed and analyzed as its own special sort of language says Riahi-Belkaoui, and accounting is the language of business. It represents phenomena in the business world as language represents phenomena in the larger world. To understand accounting as a language one must study such things as its readability and understandability, its impact on users behavior, its various linguistic repertories, and the impact that bilinguality has on accounting practices. Riahi-Belkaoui covers all this in a way that not only academics versed in linguistics will understand, but in a way that trained accountants will also find fascinating and useful, particularly in their international and multicultural activities.

Excerpt

The global economy is best characterized by a new economic and corporate world in which national boundaries are losing their importance. An emerging characteristic of this global economy includes the forming of partnerships between firms, accounting or nonaccounting firms, of different nationalities, willing to forget their rivalries, in order to share in the profit opportunities of a world market, to share the material and labor costs and risks associated with the development of products, to reduce the impact of fluctuating currencies around the world, and to avoid protectionism and government-imposed obstacles such as tariffs, import limits, and regulations. One consequence of this situation is the need to be proficient in more than one language to allow easy communication between the different nationalities involved. One question of interest for this book is, What is the impact of this bilingual requirement on the practice of accounting? This chapter explores this question after defining and introducing the known benefits of bilingualism.

Nature of bilingualism

Bilingualism is an important feature and requirement of the global economy. It has also existed for a longer time in all the parts of the world characterized by different cultures and ethnics. Various definitions of bilingualism have been offered in the literature. Bloomfield offered the following definition:

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