2021.06.10 Language and culture

Language and culture: Act III!

Hello everyone and thank you for being back with me for this third act on Tsedal Neeley’s “Why global success depends on separating language and culture”.

Last time I talked about how deep the discussion went thanks to our alumni. So here, let me share those interesting points with you.

When we started focusing on business, we understood that the relationship between Culture and Language remains intricate still. In the varied business world there are some departments or industries which are more unique and follow more complex rules, influencing the language/culture relationship: for instance, selling is more of an art than just business, and when negotiating with the clients, separating language and culture may be too difficult and, sometimes, perhaps even a bit dangerous for the final success of the business deal.

When thinking about the future in regards to language and culture, we reflected on how English might become the only common language used by everyone, and an alumnus added that since the geographical peculiarities deeply influence language, in the future we may have an only language but with different sub-dialects.

The discussion went even further: is it possible to have one culture for everyone?

It was brought up that the business may already have one, shared by people all around the world speaking different languages, and that very big global companies have already accomplished this unique culture across languages with every employee following the mission and a shared corporate culture.

As a side note, when talking about culture shock for English native speakers at Rakuten we were wondering what was the cause. One of the alumni shared a very interesting analogy, which I found incredibly fitting: having a common corporate language is like “opening the pandora box”, and as you may know many things were contained in that mythological container and not everything was good. The barrier between subsidiaries and HQ at Rakuten was broken and for the first time, Rakuten overseas employees experienced the full Rakuten corporate culture, with both downsides and advantages.

Maybe Neeley can use this metaphor in her next TED speech to explain why people were so culturally shocked!

I’d like to share some final thoughts on this overall experience.

I realized a thing, which may be simple, but also very underrated: we can have great knowledge about a topic, thanks to education or business background, but if you want to go deeper and explore the topic from new unexcepted perspectives you have to share your ideas with others.

On this final note, please join our alumni discussions and prepare for new mind-blowing ideas!




Veritas Coach

Cristina Raffa

Cristina was born in the hot and sunny Sicily, an island in the South of Italy. She graduated in Foreign languages and literature and her interest is currently focused on Japanese language and culture. After many study trips to the UK, she decided to move there for a period of time and improve her English. When she came back to Italy, she started to teach English and Italian to students from children to adults, wanting to put in practice what she had learned in university. Focusing on her Japanese, she did an exchange study programme at Meiji University in Japan, where she discovered Veritas and its unique programme.
Here she can follow her passion and love for teaching and grow as a person thanks to her experience as a coach, improving her skills by focusing on the students and their progress.
With the help of a strong and united team, at Veritas she has the opportunity to inspire people and guide them to become global leaders of tomorrow.