Europe, A Field to Plow

Gabrielle Guichard

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According to The Wall Street Journal, Brian Murray, a partner of New York's Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP, said: “If you want to enter new markets, you have to go outside the United States". People other than lawyers can enlarge their practice by turning their attention to Europe.

Laws and rules tend to be unified inside the European Community. It is still not true for everything in every domain, but true and already active enough to allow you to consider Europe as a field to plow. You may also consider that a unique currency makes exchanges easier. Nobody can tell the future, that is to say: nobody knows what Europe and euro will be tomorrow; but anybody can tell the present: there are nearly 500 millions of Europeans who, in comparison with Americans, have no debt.

To reach so huge a market, there is a price to pay: to learn a foreign language. Great Britain? Even the smallest industries are already there. Which language to choose? Of course, I have a little weakness for French, but there are other languages to consider. I will not advise you to learn Spanish because, as I always tell my students, any of your neighbors is fluent in Spanish; you are just going to enlarge the circle of your competitors.

Let's examine the languages that open the largest future prospects.

  • Portuguese is spoken by 10 millions people only. . .in Europe! They speak Portuguese in Brazil, a country with about 180 millions inhabitants.
  • There are 58 millions of Italian speaking people
  • 83 millions of Europeans speak German ( and 16 millions of Dutch understand it)
  • We are 60 millions French speakers in Europe, and about 130 millions in the world.

Of course, many other languages are spoken in Europe and from a cultural point of view, each and all are interesting; but if your goal is to make money, you will choose between Portuguese (if your business is already strong enough to build a commercial triangle), Italian, German and French.

Whatever your choice, do not switch back and forth. Success is also a matter of stubbornness.

Gabrielle Guichard
is a French teacher who reads novels and comments linguistic issues on French Reading.


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