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date: 29 February 2024

The Language of the Economy and Business in the Romance Languagesfree

The Language of the Economy and Business in the Romance Languagesfree

  • Franz RainerFranz RainerInstitute for Romance Languages, Vienna University of Economics and Business


The expression language of the economy and business refers to an extremely heterogeneous linguistic reality. For some, it denotes all text and talk produced by economic agents in the pursuit of economic activity, for others the language used to write or talk about the economy or business, that is, the language of the economic sciences and the media. Both the economy and business contain a myriad of subdomains, each with its own linguistic peculiarities. Language use also differs quite substantially between the shop floor and academic articles dealing with it. Last but not least, language is itself a highly articulate entity, composed of sounds, words, concepts, etc., which are taken care of by a considerable number of linguistic disciplines and theories. As a consequence, this research landscape offers a very varied picture.

The state of research is also highly diverse as far as the Romance languages are concerned. The bulk of relevant publications concerns French, followed at a certain distance by Spanish and Italian, while Romanian, Catalan, and Portuguese look like poor relations. As far as the dialects are concerned, only those of some Italian cities that held a central position in medieval trade, like Venice, Florence, or Genoa, have given rise to relevant studies. As far as the metalanguage used in research is concerned, the most striking feature is the overwhelming preponderance of German and the almost complete absence of English. The insignificant role of English must probably be attributed to the fact that the study of foreign business languages in the Anglo-Saxon countries is close to nonexistent. Why study foreign business languages if one own’s language is the lingua franca of today’s business world? Scholars from the Romance countries, of course, generally write in their mother tongue, but linguistic publications concerning the economic and business domain are relatively scarce there. The heterogeneity of the metalanguages used certainly hinders the constitution of a close-knit research community.


  • Applied Linguistics
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Language Families/Areas/Contact
  • Pragmatics

1. A Scattered Research Landscape

The study of the language of the economy and business in the Romance languages has a long history (Gutkind, 1931; Roepke, 1939; Gallais-Hamonno, 1982; Ihle-Schmidt, 1983).1 Nevertheless, it still shows a highly heterogeneous picture, which renders the task of providing an overview quite challenging. The reasons for this state of affairs are manifold.

First, the preposition of that occurs in the expression language of the economy and business conceals two different interpretations. The expression may refer either to all language used by economic agents while doing business or carrying out other economic activities, or to the language used to talk about the economy and business in business practice as well as in academic settings—the language of economics and business administration—or in the media. These two interpretations are, of course, intimately related, but not identical. There can be no doubt that the conceptual elaboration of the economy and business in the economic sciences started from the language developed by the practitioners of these domains over the centuries, but in the meantime the economic sciences use a highly articulate language that extends far beyond this starting point. Although the practitioners also borrow elements from the discourse of the economic sciences from time to time, this give-and-take relationship will never yield more than a modest overlap between the two interpretations. The media discourse about the economy and business borrows from both domains, practice and academia, adding its own distinctive rhetoric.

Second, economy and business are an intrinsically heterogeneous domain. This heterogeneity is already apparent from the fact that English has no means to refer to the language of the whole domain with one single word, unlike German, where Wirtschaftssprache comprises the language of both the economy and business. French, like other Romance languages, sides with English in this respect, distinguishing between langage économique and langage des affaires, which, at the level of academic disciplines, correspond to économie politique ‘economics’ and gestion ‘business administration.’ The domain, of course, is not only characterized by this major dichotomy; both the economy and business can be further subdivided into a myriad of subdomains. These subdomains roughly correspond to the many disciplines of the economic sciences, but the correspondence is far from being perfect; after World War II, the community of practice of the black market developed a jargon of its own in Italy (Menarini, 1944–1945), and probably in other places as well, but there does not seem to exist an academic discipline specifically dedicated to the study of black markets.

A third factor contributing to the heterogeneity of the topic covered by this article is the multiplicity of Romance languages. For each, the language of the economy and business must be studied on its own terms. As was to be expected, the state of research differs widely from one language to the other; it is far more advanced for Italian, French, and Spanish than for Romanian, Catalan, or Portuguese. Among the dialects, Old Venetian can boast an important scholarly literature on the language of commerce (Stussi, 1993; Formentin, 2012, 2015) due to the central place that Venice occupied in medieval trade. The dialect of Genoa (Schiaffini, 1929), Venice’s closest rival, is less well represented, probably because the Ligurian city held on to Latin (Pryor, 1996) as the official language of commerce much longer than did Venice and Florence. The dialect of this latter city eventually became the standard language of Italy and will therefore be treated together with Italian.

The different angles from which language can be studied also contribute to the fragmentation of the research landscape. Studies either focus on the history of the language of the economy and business or on its present state. Of the many linguistic disciplines, lexicology, lexicography, and genre studies have long been dominant, while more recently pragmatics, conversation and discourse analysis as well as onomastics and sociolinguistics have taken center stage.

Apart from occasional studies on mutual influences among Romance languages in the domain of the language of the economy and business, scholars—especially those who write about their mother tongue—tend not to look beyond their favorite Romance language. Only in the German-speaking area are comparative studies sometimes undertaken. In general, scholars seem more prone to take into account the research on English business language than that on other Romance languages. Consequently, there is no pan-Romance tradition in this area of research. The fact that much of the relevant literature, even in recent times (cf. Hennemann & Schlaak, 2016a; Lobin & Wochele, 2016; Winkelmann, 2016a, 2016b) was written in German also constitutes an important barrier for a closer interaction with scholars from outside the German-speaking countries.

The following overview will be divided into two large sections, dedicated to the lexicon and non-lexical matters respectively. Each of these will then be subdivided into subsections that correspond to the main areas that have been studied up to the present day. The language parameter will be subordinated to this thematic arrangement.

2. The Lexicon

The most eye-catching feature of languages for specific purposes such as the language of the economy and business is certainly terminology, the use of specialized terms that are unknown to the general language or at least occur with a distinctly higher frequency or a special meaning. It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that this feature should have been the first to attract the interest of scholars.

2.1 Etymology and Word History

The earliest articles of our subject area were concerned with etymological questions (e.g., Jordan, 1927; Schiaffini, 1930), very much in line with the general climate in the language sciences of those days. It is impossible here to enumerate all the articles that have been dedicated to the etymology or word history of single economic terms (cf., e.g., the summary in Rainer, 2005 of the lively controversy around Italian aggio ‘premium’). It should be stressed, however, that despite the fact that etymology is one of the oldest disciplines of Romance linguistics, many economic terms, like terms for specific purposes in general, still lack a satisfactory treatment in etymological and historical dictionaries (for an attempt to remedy this situation, cf. the relevant entries in the etymological online dictionary TLF-Étym, This neglect is due to the fact that Romance etymologists tended to concentrate on the core vocabulary and on the dialects, while technical terms were frowned upon as too trivial to exercise their sagacity. Although most technical terms are indeed quite transparent in their morphological makeup, they nevertheless deserve a more careful description, at least with respect to the date of first appearance and the language in which they were coined, but very often their semantic evolution as well.

Like many languages used for specific purposes, the language of the economy and business is highly uniform internationally. Many terms are so-called internationalisms. This uniformity is the result of several centuries of linguistic intercourse among the major European languages, which is why the study of borrowing must be allotted a central place in the historical study of economic terminology (Haşeganu, 1941; Haensch, 1981; Rainer, 2006, 2017). Until the end of the Renaissance, Italian was the main source language, especially with respect to the terminology of double-entry bookkeeping and the bill of exchange, two Italian innovations (cf. Rainer, 2003, 2014 for Spanish and French respectively; Wilhelm, 2013 is quite unreliable). After the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), French took the lead, though the English mercantilists of the 17th century also contributed their share (cf. Rainer, 2004 on balance du commerce < English balance of trade). During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, term formation in economy and business was a relatively polyphonic affair, with English, French, and German being the main source languages. The exact give-and-take among these languages is sometimes difficult to disentangle, since scholars at that time still commonly read publications written in all these languages, and some even those published in Italian (Rainer, 2015). The almost exclusive influence of English did not manifest itself until after World War II. Even after this date, however, French continued to exercise limited influence; when Haensch (1981, p. 139) wondered why English brain drain had been adapted to Spanish as fuga de cerebros and not *drenaje de cerebros, the answer, of course, is that the model was French fuite des cerveaux. Even in quite recent times, French has retained some importance as a source language in domains such as EU-related terminology or the terminology of supermarkets, an economic sector where French firms had a pioneering role: the shelves of supermarkets are called lineales in peninsular Spanish, after French linéaires, a term not used in Latin America (on economic Gallicisms in Italian, cf. Ansalone & Félix, 1997).

2.2 Anglicisms

Among scholars concentrating on the recent past or on economic neologisms, the study of Anglicisms has become a favorite topic, one of the few of this area of research, by the way, that arouses interest even among the general public at certain intervals. Romance languages differ in their receptivity to Anglicisms. Italian has the reputation of being particularly receptive (Amato et al., 1990, pp. 109–200; Melzi, 1990; Rando, 1990). In Spain, linguistic purism is held in higher esteem, but Anglicisms nevertheless do occur in actual use, though more rarely in dictionaries (cf. Gómez de Enterría, 1992b and other publications of this author). The question has to be looked at separately for each country where Spanish is spoken, since these differ quite substantially with respect to the language of the economy and business (e.g., peninsular Spanish uses marketing, pronounced ['marketin], while Mexican Spanish prefers mercadotecnia and Columbian and Venezuelan Spanish mercadeo). As shown in Rainer and Schnitzer (2010), the adaptation of Anglo-American economic and business terms takes place in the different countries without coordination, which leads to a great deal of terminological variation. In France, Anglicisms have become an issue of national interest. Official terminological committees were created in the 1970s with the mission of proposing French equivalents for English terms, not only in the realm of the economy and business, but generally (Schmitt, 1977). The effectiveness of this kind of linguistic policy has repeatedly been assessed (Constantinescu & Maiorovici, 1983; Oberhauser, 2011; Eckkrammer, 2016). Invariably, a gap has been found between official publications, whose authors are obliged by law to use the terms recommended by the committees, and the media or everyday language, which often prefer the Anglicism. The debate around Anglicisms is generally concerned with unadapted words, while the thousands of calques go unnoticed.

2.3 Word Formation

If terms are not borrowed as such from another language, they must be coined with the means offered by the language itself, be it word formation or semantic change. Contrary to languages for specific purposes such as medicine or chemistry, the language of the economy and business does not make use of special means of word formation. It simply exploits the general patterns of the language. The differences among the languages of Europe with respect to the term-formation strategies used in the language of the economy and business therefore simply reflect the differences in the respective word-formation systems (Betsch et al., 2017; also Crestani, 2010; Hernando García-Cervigón, 2006; Vecchi, 2016). Within the Romance language family, the patterns employed are quite similar, essentially Noun-Prep-Noun compounds and combinations of nouns and relational adjectives. Minor differences, however, do exist, for example the tendency to reduce N-Prep-N compounds to simple N-N compounds (e.g., French directeur de marketing > directeur marketing). Spanish is decidedly less tolerant in this respect than French, though N-N compounds are not unheard of (cf. sector servicios ‘services sector,’ alongside sector de servicios). Another tendency common to the language of the economy and business of all Romance languages, or European languages in general, is the (ab)use of abbreviations and acronyms (Mazars, 1990; Fischer, 1993).

2.4 Semantic Change

The third most important means of enriching the vocabulary is semantic change. Since both economics and business administration propose theories about everyday activities like buying and selling, transportation, and collecting taxes, much of the basic vocabulary was taken from everyday language. However, in the process of theorizing, terms often suffered semantic shifts that turned the meaning away from the original use, or at least elaborated on it by making it more articulate and complex (as with the concept ‘market,’ Lejeune, 2012). The semantic history of many terms of the language of the economy and business is indeed quite varied and often not accounted for adequately in historical dictionaries (cf., e.g., Portevin, 1993 on entrepreneur and entreprise; Rainer, 1998 on capitaliste; Rainer, 2009 on balance and bilan). In the process of terminology creation, metaphor is acknowledged to have played an important role (Fischer et al., 2017).

A further fruitful alley of semantic research consists of contrastive studies of terms whose meaning does not match across languages, whether for sociological or legal reasons (Hummel, 1993; Schmitt, 1995). The linguistic intercourse among European languages mentioned in Section 2.1 has indeed brought about a far-reaching conceptual isomorphism in the realm of economic and business terminology, but many asymmetries nevertheless remain, which await detailed study.

2.5 Broad Accounts

No Romance language can boast a comprehensive history of the vocabulary of the language of the economy and business, or even only of one of the subbranches. All studies are more or less limited in scope, and the lacunae in general by far exceed the areas covered. For Italian, there are Sosnowski (2006) and Finoli (1947, 1948), as well as the indispensable glossary by Edler (1934), compiled by a historian. In Gallo-Romance, there is Bautier (1955–1960) for Occitan, while for French, apart from Kuhn’s (1931) study on the commercial terminology of the 17th century and Heidel’s (1936) study on the fiscal terminology in the 15th century, scholars must still rely on the respective chapters of Brunot et al. (1966–1972). The Spanish studies (cf. Hoyos, 2016) are all also rather limited in scope: on Medieval Spanish, there are Gual Camarena (1968), Sesma and Líbano (1983), and Sánchez González de Herrero (2016); on the 16th century, Díez Calleja (1998) and Quirós García (2012); and on the 18th century, Gómez de Enterría (1996) and Garriga Escribano (1996). Historical lexicological studies on the 19th and 20th centuries, when the terminology of economics and business administration entered a stage of exponential growth, are few and far between. Hänchen (2002) is a diachronic analysis of some 500 French marketing terms; Elgert (2004) is dedicated to the terminology of neo-Keynesian macroeconomic theory in English, German, and French, limiting itself, however, to 12 concepts only; Schnitzer (2008) focuses on the vertical layering of stock-exchange terminology in the Argentinean press, distinguishing three levels of expertise of the intended readership; and Leo (2016) provides an overview of French stock-exchange terminology and jargon. Large-scale studies on different areas of the economy or the business world (banking, insurance, logistics, etc.) or functional areas of firms (production, marketing, distribution, etc.), ideally from a historical perspective, are among the most glaring desiderata of research on the language of the economy and business. Such studies would be highly welcome both to practitioners and scholars of the respective fields of the economy and business and to lexicographers.

2.6 Lexicography

As a consequence of the lack of in-depth analyses of most domains of economic and business terminology, the lexicographic landscape is rather bleak. For a historical dictionary of the language of the economy and business to become possible, much fundamental research must still be carried out (Rainer, 2004). For Italian, apart from Edler’s (1934) glossary, Schirmer (1911) and Bruijn-Van der Helm (1992) should also be taken into account, since the Italianisms contained in these works often allow precious inferences with respect to Italian itself. As far as synchrony is concerned, the profusion of dictionaries available for the main Romance languages might easily lead to the conclusion that business lexicography is a burgeoning field, but in reality the quality of most products on the market is rather low (Gromann & Schnitzer, 2017), both in coverage and depth of analysis. Single-language dictionaries are generally lexica written by practitioners of the respective fields, who lack linguistic and lexicographic expertise, while most bilingual dictionaries fail to keep up with the rapid pace at which terminology is created and abandoned in the economy and business, among other shortcomings. Serious, linguistically informed work in this area is very rare (Verlinde, 1995; Schneider, 1998; Fuertes Olivera & Tarp, 2008).

2.7 Onomastic Studies

One very special kind of word is proper names. They play an important role in the domain of the economy and business, especially as names of companies or products (brands). Both these types of names are subject to special legal requirements that specify the permissible form of a name as well as the circumstances under which it may be used. While such aspects of company and product names are taken care of by lawyers, and marketing experts measure the impact and value of brands, linguists concentrate on their linguistic makeup, naming strategies, and cross-linguistic and intercultural differences, but also discourse-analytic aspects (Kuhn, 2015). An early comprehensive study is Platen (1997), while recent overviews of the field of business onomastics can be found in Lobin (2016) and Fischer et al. (2017), with references to the by now abundant Romance literature on the subject.

3. Genres, Discourse, and Communication

Apart from terminology, the existence of specific genres is the second eye-catching characteristic of languages for specific purposes. Already in the Middle Ages, the ledger, the bill of exchange, and the business letter had reached highly conventionalized formats in Italian, which were then taken over by other European languages. With the growing complexity of the business world, especially since the Industrial Revolution, the number of genres in the business world also soared. Few of them have so far received the in-depth treatment they deserve (Thörle, 2016).

3.1 Business Correspondence

The favorite among business genres has long been the business letter, probably because of the central place that it formerly occupied in teaching foreign business language. Koch (1988) analyzed an Italian business letter from the 13th century and concluded that it was not inspired by the medieval ars dictaminis, the art of writing letters in Latin, but followed the model of the list. Over the centuries, however, the business letter suffered many changes, which remain to be studied for the different Romance languages. In recent times, the business letter is again subject to important changes due to the media revolution, but also as a consequence of changes in society. So it has been found that the wording of the beginning and the end of French business letters, once famous for their baroque formulae, is tending to become simpler (Meisnitzer, 2016). A comprehensive analysis of the Spanish business letter on the basis of Prague School functionalism can be found in Dubsky (1975), who highlighted the antagonistic effects of politeness and precision. Other studies concentrated on vocabulary, looking for words with a frequency above average and preferred collocations (Lyne, 1985; Clijsters, 1990). The profound transformation of business correspondence in the ongoing media revolution remains to be studied in detail.

3.2 Books of Account, Annual Report

Useful information on Romance books of account can be found in text editions and in books on the history of accounting, but they still await an in-depth historical study from the genre perspective (Peter, 1961; Olivier & Rivière, 1997). A related topic that of late seems to attract quite some attention is the annual report (Schnitzer, 2017), a composite document that combines accounting texts with texts pertaining to the area of public relations, such as the letter to shareholders (Rocco, 2013; Bannier & Schrader-Kniffki, 2016). From a terminological perspective, the annual report represents a particularly interesting object of research these days due to the ongoing process of international harmonization: many texts oscillate between the traditional national terminology and the terminology prescribed by international accounting standards (Edelmann, 2010; Leibbrand, 2018). In his contrastive analysis of German and French annual reports, Schlierer (2004) has shown that important stylistic differences exist that, for the most part, can be explained on the basis of differences in the educational and career systems as well as general culture-specific stylistic preferences.

3.3 Business Media

Since the press has long been the only window for many Romanists into the world of economy and business, it is no wonder that newspaper articles were the privileged genre used in many studies on the language of the economy and business. This has often been criticized, and rightly so, given that newspaper articles are first and foremost journalistic genres and that the way journalists talk about the economy and business may be quite different from how economic agents talk with and write to each other in the real business world. The analyses of newspaper articles (Dardano, 1998; Hernando García-Cervigón, 2006; Martínez Egido, 2009, 2010; Miecznikowski et al., 2012) should therefore better be treated in an overview on media discourse, although they also occasionally contain results of interest for the study of the language of the economy and business, depending on the focus of the analysis.2

3.4 Advertising

The situation is somewhat murkier with respect to another genre, advertising. Ads are generally placed in newspapers or audiovisual media, and as such could be considered as a special kind of media genre. At the same time, however, it is clear that advertising is an activity that is carried out with an economic goal in mind, namely boosting sales or polishing a firm’s image. The language of advertising is therefore clearly relevant if the definition of the language of the economy and business is taken as the sum of talk and text used by economic agents while doing business or carrying out other economic activities. It is not, however, a kind of language used to talk about the economy and business. The peculiar, and sometimes extravagant, use of language in advertising attracted the interest of linguists early on (Galliot, 1955). Due to the considerable number of publications on this topic, especially with respect to French, only some of the more important recent publications can be mentioned here, which can be consulted for retrieving the older literature. Two important collective volumes from France are Adam and Bonhomme (2000) and Bonhomme (2013). The topics addressed in the recent literature include the mutual relationship of text and images (Lehmann, 1998; Rentel, 2005), intercultural aspects of this form of communication (Hahn, 2000; Gau, 2007; Hennemann & Schlaak, 2016b), and specificities of advertising in the new media (Lühken, 2010), as well as more narrow topics such as the imperative (Kaeppel, 1987), style (Eichholz, 1995), or genericity and intertextuality (Lugrin, 2006). The history of advertising genres, though certainly a rewarding topic, seems to have attracted little attention (Rocher-Tanugi, 1972).

An important genre that arose with the advent of the Internet is the company website, which has become a central element of marketing and public relations activities. Its hypertextual nature poses challenges of a new kind to linguistic analysis (Sánchez Prieto, 2011; Schröder, 2013). In his comparative analysis of German, French, Spanish, British, and American websites of airlines, Schröder found that traditional national styles of communication continue to be reflected even in this recent genre (e.g., German emphasis on information vs. French emphasis on emotion).

3.5 Spoken Discourse

Until quite recently, research focused almost exclusively on written genres. This restriction was certainly due to the fact that, for reasons of confidentiality, spoken business discourse is difficult to observe or, even more so, record, and that the transcription of spoken discourse is an extremely time-consuming exercise. These two factors explain why the empirical basis of analyses of this kind is generally quite limited, which leaves doubts about the generalizability of the results. Nevertheless, it is obvious that some of the spoken genres, notably negotiations and meetings, are of central importance in the business world. Most of the information on language-specific peculiarities in oral business communication comes from the self-help literature for managers (Rainer, 2007), whose empirical basis normally remains in the dark. If consulted with the right dose of skepticism, this kind of literature can certainly be useful for practitioners. It will continue to be used as long as more scientifically sound treatments written by linguists are unavailable.

Linguistic studies on the subject are indeed very rare. Helmolt (1997) looked at the communicative behavior of German and French teams during meetings on the basis of video recordings, which allowed including nonverbal communication. This researcher found that French participants in business meetings were more prone than Germans to establish “complicity” by means of gazes, jokes, allusions, and the like. Müller (2006) is a thoroughgoing comparative ethnolinguistic study of verbal interaction in a Spanish, French, and German factory, based on participant observation and interviews. Thörle (2005) analyzed identity work during meetings of workers and employees at a French production site. Kadenbach (2015) studied communicative interactions, both oral and via e-mail, of Germans and Frenchmen in the context of trade fairs. Among other things, she found that signs of openness placed at an early stage of the interaction help build up trust, which is an essential ingredient of success in business. The analytic tools most often resorted to in this kind of analysis are conversation analysis and pragmatics.

3.6 Discourse Analysis

While conversation analysis and pragmatics tend to focus on phenomena such as turn-taking or politeness, discourse analysis targets the relationship between language, power, and ideology, especially from a societal perspective. Most such studies therefore have a decidedly political, almost invariably leftist, touch. They start from the premise that we construe social reality essentially through language, and that the way we frame a phenomenon linguistically therefore has a great influence on how it is perceived. This influence, however, is hardly ever measured empirically; it often remains an article of faith whether a certain effect can really be attributed to language and not to some other cause. Although it is true that we are easily influenced by words, as rhetoric already taught two thousand years ago, we are not prisoners of our language.

Two topics that have been approached from this perspective with respect to the Romance languages are neoliberalism (Guilbert, 2011) and the recent economic crisis (Göke, 2016; Pietrini & Wenz, 2016), often based on journalistic texts. In this kind of publication, the analysis of tropes, especially metaphor, but also metonymy and euphemism, plays an important role (Fischer et al., 2017). An early forerunner of this kind of analysis was Devoto (1939), who observed that economic and financial communications tended to have recourse to euphemisms when talking about negative developments such as a fall in the price of shares or the rise of inflation.

3.7 Sociolinguistic Issues

Language choice is another much discussed topic of the last years. In multilingual societies or in international companies, the question arises which of the several languages spoken by citizens or employees should be used on which occasion. In societies where a minority language faces a majority language, such as Catalonia or Quebec (Villers, 1994), political measures are often implemented to enhance the use of the minority language in the business context (Betsch, 2017). The terminology committees mentioned in Section 2.2 that were set up in France from the 1970s onwards are another example of this kind (French is considered to be an endangered language in a globalized world dominated by English). Companies have recourse to a wide range of policies to cope with the Babylonian confusion of tongues. Such policies may be explicit or implicit (Lesk et al., 2017), but should always be based on a previous assessment of language needs (Lavric et al., 2017). In many large companies, even in France, English has been decreed to be the only official corporate language. However, the linguistic reality inside these companies normally continues to be much more complex, especially at the levels below top management. Lüdi (2016) makes a case for considering multilingualism in the workplace as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Further Reading

As stated in Section 1, the research landscape concerning the language of the economy and business in the Romance languages is highly fragmented. Furthermore, there is no introductory book or article on the subject. Readers should start with one of the two international handbooks on the subject, Bargiela-Chiappini (2009) and Mautner and Rainer (2017), and then follow the bibliographical references of the present article according to the specific topics they are interested in. Many of the references contain further references to publications that could not be cited here for reasons of space. Of the two handbooks, the latter contains a certain amount of information on Romance languages, while the first is more heavily Anglocentric. However, it contains two overview articles on research carried out in French-speaking countries (Filliettaz & Saint-Georges, 2009) and in Spain (Mantolio & Ramallo, 2009) which may also be useful.


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  • 1. I would like to thank Regina Göke, Miriam Leibbrand, and Hannes Schnitzer for helpful comments on a first draft.

  • 2. A similar question arises with respect to the genres of textbook (Kaehlbrandt, 1989) and scientific article, the latter of which does not yet seem to have been analyzed with respect to the Romance languages. From a genre perspective, they essentially pertain to the domain of scientific writing, even though their subject is the economy or business.