There is no doubt that English acquired international significance as lingua franca. However it is hard not to notice that there is a great diversity in an English – speaking world. World Standard English can be divided into: American Standard English, Australian, New Zeland & South Pacific Standard English, British & Irish Standard English, Canadian Standard English, Carribean Standard English, East Asian Standarizing English, West, East and Southern African Standard English, and East Asian Standard English. From my point of view American and British variants of English are the most important these days. After the Second World War when the United States assumed a greater global role American English gained greater influence worldwide.
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It happened due to political and economical position of the USA, American technological development promoted abroad. 80 % of software and internet users use American English.
American and British English are more similar than different to each other. The divergence is due to influences of national history and culture or media. For me the answer which language to choose to condact business is easy. If you conduct business with British you should speak British keeping also in mind all their national heritage like propose Birdwhistell or Hall. If you conduct business with Americans use American English which consideres American cultural differences. I speak British and American English but I prefer American English. I belive that the magnitude of American higher education, publishing industry, population, wealth and appeal of American pop-culture will still influence each kind of English including also British. So, the most important issue is to understand that language is culture-bound. This applies not only to kinds of World English, but also to professional subcultures from all around the world which can understand each fluently other even if they do not speak certain kind of English like native speakers. I figure out that the most important issue to understand by these who want to conduct businesses abroad is :
Nobody should forget that doing business is an intercultural interaction.
Maya M. Kowalczyk