We which try to get and take the power

We live in a
world which always changes the power balance. There are a lot of countries
which try to get and take the power under control. When one of these countries
gets power, all coordination requires to be ordered again. This coordination
includes a common language in the world common, too. This language becomes
different language, it is demanded to be learnt, because all countries want to
be close to power to take advantage. Countries want to be on good terms with
nations which rule the world, go off the deep end with some essential steps
including learning second language of country which determine the power
balance. “Many languages have been used around the
world as contact languages for international trade and communication”
(Rogerson-Revell, 2007). The language is English.

According
to many philologists and sociologist “a globalization of a language may not be
related to the count of the people who speak it. The main reasons of the
globalization of a language are related to these terms which are politic,
military, and economic potential” (Fishman, 1998-1999).

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In accordance with the table in
ethnologue languages of the world, today the mostly used language is Chinese by
its native speaker, right after Spanish comes, and the third one is English.
But this search is related to the foreign language (buray? sor) . “Half of a billion people speak English
as a second language. This indicates the remarkable success of English as the
lingua franca of business, travel and international relations” (Lane, 2017). ”
Description of lingua franca English, in which speakers accommodate and
negotiate linguistic forms and meanings based on their available resources “(Canagarajah,
2007). But how English became the lingua franca of the world? House
(2002) explains that the spread of English has been promoted by the following
factors: the worldwide extension of the British Empire; the political and
economic influence of the USA: the development of modern information and
communication technologies; and the growth of international mergers and
acquisitions (buray? sor mutlaka).

Under these
circumstances, language training in both public schools and private
institutions have different standpoint; because language acquisition starts to
play crucial role in human life.” Our country starts to teach second language children at
their early ages. This training begins in primary schools and colleges and it
continues in universities. But according to records it does not help people to
learn English and be competent” (Ülkar, Esra 2015). It clearly shows that there
is a point which is missing. This study does not aim at criticizing methods
which are arranged by state but we should understand the reason why our failure
at this stage. “Last years have been several regulations” (Erku?-Babayi?it,
2013)  which are well-organized in theory
yet will it be succeed, could they be achieved in practical about language
teaching in curriculum by ministry of national education? And could it prevent
the lack of competence in English?

English is not
required only for academic purposes. People who are in this area learn the
language sooner or later because to know English would be in favor of them. On
the other hand people who work in informal jobs which is not required being
formal degrees and certificates are not in need of learning English. In our
country without university certificate a person could find jobs as
sales-assistant. Because they have not certificate or degree the employers
think that the person whom is hired by them is going to be in need of them. Of
course there are people who are certificated from the departments about sales
and marketing but they are graduated from the institutions and well-educated so
they do not see themselves as only sales assistants and follow the big
opportunities and also if they work in small shops they know that they could
not find a chance to develop themselves. And the employers know this truth and
the demands of them they are in a desire to employ them. Because the others who
are not graduated from the institutes like they do will accept whatever the
conditions would be and for now everything is okay but when their salary is not
enough for their expenses they do not have chance to move up to higher position
in their jobs. They could manage it only thanks to their sales rate and if they
are lucky they are awarded by the employer. To make their sales rates increase
they should have some skills. According to Dench, Kodz, and Perryman 1997 these are ranged in the
trading skills for sales assistants are:

Personal characteristics – obtaining people with
the right attitudes and outlook was seen essential; in particular, people
who liked working with, and serving people were sought
Basic literacy and numeracy
Customer service skills
Selling skills
Computer 
literacy
Product knowledge
A knowledge of the law and other regulations
Taking responsibility and initiative
Other areas, including using the telephone,
merchandising and housekeeping. (Dench, Kodz, and
Perryman 1997,11)

 

  Moreover sales
assistants are expected to

Be literate and numerate, able to use numbers
Have strong personal skills, including an
attitude and outlook which gave them a desire to work with and serve
people
Provide good customer service, whether this
involved simply letting customers know they were there if needed or giving
focused attention
Be able to sell
Be computer literate
Know about the products they were selling and,
more generally, about other products and services provided by the
organization
Pay attention to the physical environment of the
store
Take responsibility for a wide range of tasks and
show initiative
Work harder, smarter and efficiently. (Dench, Kodz, and Perryman 1997,11)

As we see, being
a sales assistant needs multi-tasking features, and these features include not
only personal factors or technology but also the factors such as being able to
sell. For selling, employees should be confident and social enough. And it requires customer service skills, also. They should be able to
easily understand the problem or the demand of the customers; find an answer or
solution for those problems. In their own language, it is not so hard to
overcome these things, because both sides can transplant and figure out those
problems so find a compromise. Today, sales assistants in touristic places or
shopping centers do not deal with the people who only speak the same language but
the people who speak different languages. People who do not speak the same
language have some struggles to express themselves. It contains both sides. For
instance, the foreign customer is a visitor in the place that her/his native
language is not spoken so they do not insist on to communicate via their native
language with the people who do not know their language. And also the sales
assistant cannot make themselves clear by speaking in their own language that
the customer does not understand. In this position, if they do not know any
other language that they can bargain, they mostly do it with their gestures and
mimics and more often with the calculating machine to show the price or the
discount and the last price. But in cases both side know another same language
it would be much easier to compromise. The language which is used in those
conditions is called Lingua Franca. Today English is the most used Lingua
Franca worldwide. “English as a lingua franca (ELF), has been on the research
agenda since the mid-2000s” (e.g. Du Babcock; 2009; Nickerson, 2005; Planken,
2005; Rogerson-Revell, 2007; also Rogerson-Revell &Louhiala- Salminen,2010). “The description of lingua franca English, in which speakers
accommodate and negotiate linguistic forms and meaning based on their available
resources” (Cnagarajah, 2007). According to Louhiala-Salminen (2005) “English
as Lingua Franca (ELF) is used by speakers of different mother tongues, but it
does not distinguish its purpose or domain of use in any way” (264). They also
created the “BELF(English as Business Lingua Franca) to emphasize the purpose
of communication and distinguish the domain of use”(264). On the authority of
Kubota and Mckay (2003) “English should be taught and used as a lingua franca
in cross-linguistic situations” (602).  

 The concept of ELF entails that is used by the
speakers of different mother tongues, but it does not distinguish its purpose
or domain of use in any way. Since such a distinction was considered relevant for
investigating business and corporate communication, Louhiala-Salminen et al.
(2005) introduced the notion of BELF (English as Business Lingua Franca) to
emphasize the purpose of communication and distinguish the domain of use.
Today sales assistants who know English communicate the foreign customers
mostly in ELF. Sometimes it helps them, but in some conditions it does not.
These results have different reasons. And the results make us to think about if
the sale is successful how the assistants succeed it, do they give sufficient
knowledge to the customer, do they understand the issue and give exact answer
which they are supposed to, and if the sale is not successful why. But the main
question is, have they enough competence to make the sale. What is the
perception of them about language competence?

The
tourism sector has an important role for economy. According to a survey which
is studied by Ç?mat and Bahar (2003) “Tourism sector in Turkey has shown great
progress since 1980. Contribution of foreign currency while the country was
having economic problems, helped to decrease foreign debt and unemployment. It
will be possible for Turkey to have a greater share from international tourism
sector earnings if more competitive and sustainable policies are implemented in
the future; and this will increase social welfare in the possible shortest period”(1).
There are new regulations about tourism in Turkey. One of them is for northern
city- Ordu. According to the report of TRT (2017) Gündo?du who is a member of
parliament says ” the amount of investments in Ordu has reached the 16,05
billion TL for fourteen years.  Those
investments have a large scale from the building an airport, blacktop roads,
building collective housing, health, agriculture and to the tourism. The
building of the Ordu-Giresun Airport had facilitative affects on Ordu in terms
of trade and tourism areas.” When Gündo?du states this information, the
interview of the governor of Ordu, ?rfan Balkanl?o?lu had predicted this
outcome in 2016 he stated that “Today, Ordu is aroused interest and curiosity
by the countries of Middle Eastern and Gulf countries. Our Arabic visitors who
want to see Blacksea and atmospherics of it will have made their first trip.
Ordu-Giresun Airport is the most prestigious project of the Turkey. From the
day which this airport was opened to service the flights are arranged to the
every corner of the country. Thanks to this airport on July 19, the first
direct flight from Riyad – Saudi Arabia will be welcomed as guest. By the force
of the cabinet decision which is about this airport will be border crossing for
abroad is accepted. From the now on this airport will be available for the
international flights. And that will pave the way for the tourism of this
province”.

At the
same interview, the governor states that Arabic people wish to make investments
as hotels, malls and tourism investment for this country. After that he adds
that “at the following season we will welcome not only the tourists and
visitors but also the businessmen who are investors especially from the Saudi
Arabia. We introduce this country to the tourists and investors. In order to
achieve this aim, we welcomed the Arabic Journalists in this country. We have
welcomed them in this country two times. Arabic people explored Ordu with its
highlands, valleys, waterfalls, and sea. We are in an effort to introduce this
region as we can. We hope to reach our aim of reaching a million tourists
campaign that we started much before.” He gives the promise of the high quality
accommodation facilities which are required depending on the target of one
billion tourists campaign.

Besides the investments and currency income,
tourism sector creates the local marketing for the producer and shopkeepers.
According to K?z?lgöl and Erbaykal (2008) “tourism marketing is a place in
which the consumers have to go for consuming those touristic products” (2). At
that point the tourists are in need of communication. With regard to the
announcement of the web- journal Turizm Güncel (2016) a tourist in Trabzon says
“we like the folk of this region and we see Trabzon as a destination which
should live in. We like rain and the fresh air. There are lots of opportunities
which are presented by the nature. There are lots of place to go, and to see.
We live at the house in Trabzon for holidays for now, but the years following
we want to stay here permanently. The folk of this area care about us. The
number of the shopkeepers who know foreign or second language is very few. That
is the only problem which we experienced now. We get along with via the smart
phone and body language”.  From the
aspect of the tourist, it is easy to say that they difficulties to communicate
with people, but there is a question, what about the sales assistants? This
problem could be experienced not only by tourists but also by shopkeepers and
thanks to this by their employees who are sales assistants. So they need
another language to communicate with the language they are most familiar with
except their mother tongue. But, is the competency level of the language which
they are familiar with sufficient enough? From this aspect, this study aims at
identifying the perceptions of sales assistants’ language proficiency.

 

1.1.
Background of the Study

A shopkeeper who
has a shop at a place in tourist attraction wishes to sell their goods to every
client without making any discrimination. If their customers speak the same
language with them then it is easy to sell their products, but if they do not,
they will have struggles to deal with when we take account of they do not know
any foreign language. In that condition they should find another solution to
deal. They get help of someone who knows a language which helps to communicate
the client; they can use smart phone applications or body language. If they do
not know any foreign language most likely they choose their employees who know
foreign language. Today, everyone claims at they know foreign language but the
level of their knowledge is a bemusement. To measure the level of language
competence is not possible in every job application, unfortunately. So the
employers have no chance except for believing the words which are told them.
So, do the employees who are sales assistants at those shops find themselves
sufficient enough about their foreign language competence? The aim of the study
is to define the sales assistants’ perceptions of their foreign language
competence by making some interviews with the sales assistants in the biggest
touristic area in Ordu. It is important to learn their perceptions of their
foreign language competence to increase the contribution to the economy of the
country via the customers whom tourism provides.

“Today the
foreign language which is mostly used is English. English is used at the
international relations, because there is needed a “lingua franca”. The
existence of NATO, UNESCO, and UN requires a communication language. At the
scientific, artistic or politic congresses, the participants from all of the
corners of the world need the practicability of an existence of lingua franca”
(Crystal, 1997- 47,62). And in local trades which are made with foreign people,
English is used as international communicator as being a lingua franca. Today
many people use English. “Although it is difficult to get an accurate number of
English users, a quarter or third of the world’s population, approximately two
billion people, is estimated to speak English in its commercial, cultural, and
political exchange” (Crystal, 2008).

“There
are approximately 1.6 billion people – nearly one- third of the world’s population-
who will use English in some form today. Never before in human history has one
language been spoken (let alone semi-spoken) so widely and by so many.”
(Fishman, 1998-1999,1).

1.2.Statement
of the Problem

“Today, English
is viewed as a means of intercultural communication, with more non-native
speakers than native speakers. The global spread of English has been documented
by many scholars throughout the past two decades” (Alptekin, 2002, 2007; Brutt-
Griffler, 2002; Crystal, 1997, 2004; Graddol, 2006; Holliday, 2005; Honey,
1997; Jenkins, 2000, 2006, 2007; B.B. Kachru, 1982, 2005; Mckay, 2002, 2003a;
Phillipson, 1992, 2002, 2003; Seidlhofer, 2001a; Seidlhofer, Breiteneder,
&Pitzl, 2006; Widdowson, 1994).

It is consulted
at large areas with for various purposes from the politic chambers to the local
shops. It cannot be denied its power which ties two or more parts at the same
point. For the formal areas as politic chambers it cannot be thought that there
is a misunderstanding among those world leaders, because if something like this
happens it brings chaos with itself, so the authorities take precautions for
preventing those kinds of problems while the informal areas as shopkeepers at
the local places do not have precautions to defend themselves from the problems
which causes misunderstanding between them and their clients. So, what are the
conditions for people who work at the local shops in different parts of world?

From this point
of view, present study shows those conditions which are experienced by people
who work at those local shops, and the search will be carried out in the
northern side of Turkey. The main point is this kind of a search was not studied
before to learn the deficiencies which should be prevented and efficiencies
which should be developed at this area so that to help to country economy via
tourism. As interviews and searches which are made in the tourism show that the
biggest problem which was experienced by the tourists is the communication. So,
present study aims at attract attention to the conditions which include
communication problems which are experienced by sales assistants and people who
employ them.

This thesis
topic essential to contribute for sales assistants in terms of their progress
in their jobs so especially who want to work in local shops should read and use
this thesis for having an idea what they will come face to face when  they are engaged in being sales assistant at a
local shops which attract tourist attention.

 

 

1.3.
Purpose of the Study

The aim of this
study is to identify the sales assistants’ perceptions of their foreign
language proficiency by making limited participation interviews with the sales
assistants in a tourist attraction. It is important that to learn and analyze
the perceptions of sales assistants’ about their foreign language while they
are using to communicate with the customers who are from other countries. By
making deductions from the findings it is easy to understand the deficiencies
of the sales assistants about their foreign language proficiency. To understand
this helps to find solutions for problems which are experienced by the sales
assistants. And it may cause regulations about this section of tourism sector
which helps to develop the economy of a country.

1.4.
Research Questions

This study will
be investigated the following research questions:

1-     
Are
there specific foreign languages that employees value more than others?

2-     
Which
general language qualities do employees have?

3-     
Which
general language qualities do employees need most? Why?

4-     
 What are the perceptions of employees about
their foreign language competence?

1.5.
Outline and Organization of the Study 

Chapter One:
Introduction in which the aim of study is presented.

Chapter Two:
This section is about Literature Review. It includes the Lingua Franca, Which
language is Lingua Franca today, How the English became a Lingua Franca,
Trading Skills for Sales Assistants, customer service skills, which language
sale assistants use during the communication with foreign customers, and do
they find their communication skills sufficient enough?

Chapter Three:
The method of the study introduces the procedures of data collection and
analyses will be introduced.

Chapter Four:
Discussions in which the study will be summarized and findings will be
discussed.

Chapter Five:
Conclusion in which the study will be summarized in general and the results of
the structured interviews will be showed about perceptions of language
competence of sales assistants who work at local shops.

 

CHAPTER II: LITERATURE
REVIEW

2.1. Introduction

The aim of this
chapter is to review the literature and research related to employee’s
perceptions of their foreign language competence in local shops which are placed
at tourist attractions.  The results help
the progress which is implemented about tourism sector by government via
determining the deficiencies and efficiencies.

2.2. English as a Lingua Franca