Do You Speak Corporate Turkish?


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English is the official language in the global business world. However, plain everyday English is not enough. Just as the English terms and idioms greatly differ from England to Scotland and USA, business English has its own vocabulary. Corporate world has a unique set of idioms that constitute an office language in which all employees are expected to be fluent.

What particular idioms are there in this office language?

This office language carry cliches and terms from sports or everyday life with specific emphasis on a business process. Steven Poole released a new book titled ‘Who touched base in my thought shower?’ in October 2013 where he discusses these cliches and their viral nature. Although most employees complain about nowadays’ office language – they detest certain terms or they are terrified to hear their boss say them – they still use them just to speak the same language with the rest of the team.

There is a great compilation of this office jargon in an article on the Guardian by the author himself.

Office Jargon in Turkey

Galatasaray University Social Sciences Institute’s graduate students Begüm Fidan, Ece Özkapitan, Onur Çınar and Besim Kosova conducted an independent study on private sectors’ employees’ use of English words. The study took into account the specific words and their usage frequency focusing on the age intervals. The findings also displayed the reasons behind the preference of these English terms and the frequency of the English usage among different age groups. The total number of the participants was 280.

Having exempted the use of indispensable technical terms from the study results, it is evident that the employees aged 20-59 use English terms in their everyday business life. Most employees see their use of English terms as an ordinary habit. A good percentage of the participants feel themselves knowledgeable and expert in their fields as they utilize English terms. 74% of the employees expressed that they are obligated to use English words as a requirement of their professional expertise.

While the majority of the employees said that they are uncomfortable with the use of English in the workplace, they surprisingly admitted that they also prefer using English words in their private lives. Just as one can easily guess; the older the employees are, the uneasy they become by the frequent use of English words. 70% of the participants expressed interest in participating in a turkification campaign.

Employees aged 35 and over said that they would be interested in participating.

The results of the study show that many English words have been integrated into business language. This means that it will be difficult to turkify certain English terms and extend its adoption by the professionals. It will be especially difficult for the new generation born into the internet and social media age to purify their everyday language from English terms. The researchers at Galatasaray University don’t ignore the fact that there has always been interaction among neighboring countries’ languages (Persian, Arabic, Greek etc…) However; lately the most dominant language in the commercial world is by far the English language. It is not only dominating the business environment but also everyday life and cultural world. The researchers warn that this dominance could unfortunately lead to the destruction of our language heritage.


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