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It is becoming hard for international companies to keep abreast with business demands with communicative exigencies set aside. In a globalized world, economy is said to have set a foot ahead into a new generation of dealings compulsorily entailing an involvement in an international level so as to earn profits. Barely would it hold right that such giant enterprises may restrict themselves within a local dimension of productivity while aspiring to make sales stretched to every point in the planet.
It is no longer the case for multinational enterprises that economic-based proceedings might be confined against a rotating force dismissing it to go apart away from a centralized focused existence. Electronic-commerce came to occupy the scene in a form of modernized business derived out of traditional views of economy. With such a highly advancing technology along with English acting as a lingua franca, the world is said to be dwelt into a firmly woven network bearings. However, competitiveness amongst companies on an international level seems to not halt over struggling to keep paces ahead. The fact of the matter that English is an international lingua franca, for trade more specifically, is necessarily unlikely all the profit but, maybe, only most of it. As long as any multinational company's facility to communication with their clients is granted in easier ways, the best of it is, perhaps, through addressing their clientele in recourse to the language they use most; i.e. most likely the mother tongue. It is in this way how multinational companies find themselves thrown together in an exigency of utilization of a maximum enabled diversity of languages.
Multilingualism seemingly appears to be deemed an inescapable option for companies towards excellence in multinational affairs.
Background For the Study
'Economics of language' emerges as a discipline of a relatively short history back to mid-sixties (Francois Grin 2002). It has been recognized that language, in an economic context, represents more than just a medium for communication. Thereupon; a language takes on so many forms apart from being a minimal intrinsic attribute available in a social existence. Crucially, monolingual skill does have such an equally extrinsic tenet for economy. So too does multilingualism. In a valuable chapter of his book ''Language and Economy'' Coulmas Florian(year?) (Coulmas, 1992, Chapter 4) strikes attention to the bearings of multilingualism on economy, and the investments devoted by governmental systems aspiring to establish a socio-economical society with a multivariate linguistic background. On the social level, it is no doubt that being a "bilingual/multilingual" gains prestige and status. Economic expenditure over adopting a policy towards 'importing' (a) certain language(s) apart from the homeland tongue is by no means fee-free, and undoubtedly a one worth spending time and money let alone a high priority on equal terms with the other economic issues (Djite, 1990).
Canada is renowned as a representative federation of quite two rivalry languages, as it were: English and French; more or less, each with certain privileges. Formerly, French seemed to have occupied such far an extent of status to be the language most prevailing in the world, and in Canada more specifically, before sliding towards the position of defense against English; mainly due to economic reasons in principle. In favor of saving French a revered position, the church resorted to the utility of the educational system so as to keep French-speaking individuals from involvement in large-scale industry, trade and wealth, as well as corporations' codes. Rather, individuals were highly encouraged instead to confine themselves to agriculture and private enterprises (Breton, 1978). If it means something, it is merely that the church was quite conscious that having a communicative skill in the north American language, namely English, is doubtless a must so as to go about the aforementioned grand business practices. Bilingualism, as such, must be avoided at all costs to come out against the linguistic change threat; hence religious faith. French was announced to be the official mother tongue in Canada, and by the mid-nineteenth century was acknowledged by Canadians as a full-fledged language of identity. Yet, fairly steadily from then on, French seemed to deteriorate in status with more willingness for Canadians to learn and use English (Ridlers and Pons-Ridlers, 1986). Along with issues related to identity, the socio-economic force seems to have an apparent contributive impact on inviting or dismissing such and such (a) language(s) at the detriment of the other(s) (Janne Saarikivi and Heiko F. Marten, 2012).
More often than not, language in connection with economy is viewed as more than merely an asset in its own right; not only a tool for productivity or even a product per se. The issue lies in the ways how a language , say, English would come of valuable market traits as such (Heller, 2002). Added to the functional value language appears to possess a 'market value'. In this respect, an analogy could be driven between money and language: while money and language seem to be by far most prevalent above all organizational social systems, the linguistic means affords to alleviate increasingly social complexities as a certain discoursal community displays more demanding needs and exigencies. Coins serve as a give-and-take tool in following up the selling and buying activities; and so too is language, it is much like a minimum capital everyone should have so as to do the exchange of commodity, so to speak. Where language excels over money besides the functional value is in its fact being a possession owned for free while at exchange -at least at a monolingual level (Coulmas, 1992). Taking it for granted, then, if a language is an asset of valuable significance, possessing -if to avoid the term 'acquiring', a set of languages is doubtless invaluable. This is, perhaps, an individualistic approach to multilingualism in a social dimension, yet an economic approach would have been having a lot to uncover and reveal.
While adequately covered in linguistics and its related interdisciplinary branches, rather a little, indeed, is thoroughly unraveled as regards language in connection to economy. This is , perhaps, partly because the interdisciplinary nature of economics and language is less apparent and was only recently acknowledged on one hand; and on the other, for there are no solid foundations for the discipline to stand as one looks to its fresh historical review, particularly in the heydays of a globalized new economy. Likewise, while against 'expectations' on the ways of how English exquisitely gained a position to come up as a lingua franca especially in trade, linguistic diversity and multilingualism appear to offer sound grounds to come of a vital consideration (Heller, 2005).
Advocates of assimilating bilingualism in education frequently argue for their case resorting to supportive economic arguments in belief that arguments based on cultural or emotional factors can just do a little for their cause (Coulmas 1992). Fishman Joshua (1985a) goes so far as maintaining that the biggest revenues in sectors as civil service, business and industry, and military go for individuals being multi-linguals at the first place (Fishman, 1985 a).
On an excellent article, Monica Heller (2005) in a fieldwork study surveyed, from several perspectives, the multilateral roles of language, and most importantly she notices the necessity of using more than a language at certain occasions. After setting a description to the scene and identifying significant roles of linguistic communication via its absence in a noisy workplace in Montreal, Heller proceeds on commenting :
'' Among themselves, when workers and foremen could talk, the language was French, with a significant portion of technical vocabulary in the English in which it arrived either from the (mainly British and American) sources of industrial production or from the anglophone management. Communication with management was mediated through a team of three bilingual superintendents, all of Irish origin, that is, from the Catholic working-class background which allowed them to learn French from their francophone Catholic working-class neighbors. Management was English-speaking, including those few francophones who found themselves up one rung of the ladder, inhabited the upper floors of the building or the building across the street, working in quiet, carpeted offices.''
Heller (2005: 2).
While in the flourishing days of linguistics founded as a scientific autonomous field of research, Ferdinand de Saussure (1916) the father of linguistics, metaphorically on an abstract level, talked of the 'linguistic value' emerging out of the combination of the signifier/signified dichotomy (Saussure, 1972). In effect, language, now, came to be viewed not merely as a valuable mental asset, but as an entity of an 'economic value'. Languages of the world appear to be commodities exposed in a 'linguistic market'. What determinants of such an economic value of language is obviously a wide range of intricate, yet definitely sometimes unclear and hidden, factors.
Remarkably, whether learning an additional language is a gain and, aspirations to be a bilingual/multilingual are all what saves the day, should multilingualism enjoy an equivalent 'market value' in a newly globalized economy? It is in this light where our study gears an endeavor towards unveiling what relational bonds multilingualism constitutes with business contexts; namely within multinational companies.
Aims of the Study
Building upon a strong conviction that multilingualism is most likely a fact compulsorily imposed upon multinational companies, the present study above all is essentially intent upon endeavoring to come up with significant findings with respect to the value of multilingualism as related to multinational companies. While much remains far from comprehensively disclosed in an explicit mode by previously existent literature, the study aims at demonstrating whether multilingual multinational companies earn gains in light of the impact exerted by such a requirement of involving a number of languages, thoughtfully possessing a 'market value' per se, not to mention their own being as merely a tool for production.
Additionally, along with trying out to come close of discerning out what effect such a value multilingualism practices upon the socio-economic status, one far oriented objective would be to come up with significant contributive findings as to how multilingual backgrounds work on creating a 'market value' within business contexts, namely multinational companies as a by far yet inadequately explored arena in this respect.
Most of all as such the study in question is exploratory  in perspective. The fact that added to the obvious lack of literature relating to linguistic-economic interconnection that seems to offer no far-determined comprehensiveness, language as an economic factor of a market value stands a distance far from unfolded; this latter appears to have been cautionary laid out merely as a metaphor rather than a significant topic for research. our position is a one of striving against making overt yet uncovered facts lurking behind mutually socio-economic and linguistic exercised effects, and the secret practiced exertions upon linguistic diversity in business contexts in a manner of more than just meets the eye.
Statement of the Problem
While at the workplace in one company, we started to come close of so many insightful ideas. the staff of the employees over there seemed to have a common denominator nominated in a acute desire to learning foreign languages -English is definitely to the fore.
roughly wholly, the personnel in a nearly general consensus were remarkably much inclined towards the view that success in business for the company is admittedly bound to success in communication skills; strictly speaking linguistic competency. Out of it emerged an insistent readiness -on the part of the employees, to express the fact of how communicative problems lead more often than not to undesirable disastrous inconveniencies. Though the setting was to admit English as a language of mediation amongst the workers nearly at all respects, a liking towards being more than a monolingual or even a bilingual poses itself at a highest level. '' If you like to have a respectable position over the company, or if your wish is to earn much or enhance your wage do then strenuously strive after learning more languages than you already did '', comments one trilingual. The value of languages was reckoned crucially exceeding that of the very business the company is all about making. Multilingualism jointly with company interests is what brings profits around in market.
In effect, that such an overlap between a multilingual background and an economic context is apparent leads towards an assumption of an undeniable inherent effect. There seem to be two central variables insofar as our study would exclusively make allowances for, and upon which it is most likely meant to cast light. These are economic variables along with multilingual variables.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Given that the study will be restrictively meant to investigate the value of multilingualism within an economic context while at multinational companies, the query then goes as:
Should multilingual variables link to economic variables?
A set of no less significant sub-questions emerge:
to what extent can such a link (if any) relate these variables?
Does multilingualism have a value in an economic sense?
To what extent can multilingualism affect economic success?
To what extent can business context affect linguistic diversity?
As tentative answers to the above raised question and sub-questions, a body of hypotheses accordingly emerge, and which range as follows:
There is a critical link relating multilingual variables to economy.
If there is an overlap between economy and linguistic diversity, then the choice of what languages be used depends on economic factors.
If there is an overlap between economy and linguistic diversity, then success in economy is dependent on multilingualism.
The economic context is what determines the value of the language; hence, of multilingualism.
Our motivation toward the present study, indeed, stems out of a variety of reasons. Having been an undergraduate of Translation, a keen desire of economics as a science kept growing up within our perspective. The incentive behind this, perhaps, was to come first out of how important is to know about a certain field so as to successfully provide a relevant translated format of some text. In this way we came to feel, tacitly somewhat though, how a targeted piece of writing for translation requires specific linguistic skills shaped and guided primarily by the field of interest (i.e. the domain to which the text in the source language belongs).
Parallel to that started to emerge a belief so far as how language is so influential once used in special contexts. And this likewise was to grow in strength just as one was endowed a chance to be an undergraduate of English by the same time proceeding on doing Translation stream. As to translation, amongst all other fields at immediate disposal for picking up literary texts to transfer either from French/English into Arabic or vice versa, economy seemed to unimaginably possess an incomparable fascination above all others.
In our case English, French and Arabic are the threefold objective in obtaining Translation degree. A mastery of these means making up trilingual individuals, rather multilingual graduates. Added to linguistic competency, students would have to partially be equipped with other competence sorts of the subject knowledge: natural sciences, journalism, literature, history politics , and so on and so forth through a very long list indeed; economics is perhaps at the forefront. It is our belief that economy, in fact, is behind shaping all these and the policies ruling them. Apparently, Governmental systems as well as educational reforms and the like are taking steps following the lead of capital owners; decision-makers put a firm hold of the stick and most commonly are men of wealth and economy giants.
Having gone of space in both streams English and Translation, mutually influential insights were gradually manifesting themselves at a theoretical level. Linguistic means seemed to afford to owe much for economy pursuits; and out of it sprang a curiosity to match these on the practical dimension. Yet, so convinced that doing some investigation of this seemingly interconnectivity between economy and language is far from thoughtfully awarded or acknowledged, especially for an undergraduate. Doing readings and, while at the same time drawing balances between these two variables was to quench the thirst of inquisitiveness at the first place.
The end of undergraduate studies loomed near, and the burning desire to further explore about language and economy was kept in mind. As a postgraduate as yet, right in the beginning curiosity seemed to move from strong toward much stronger in favor of making the abstract tangible; much of the notions of the current topic of our study were already shaped. English for Business Purposes puts itself forward not as a choice but the ever best chance in this respect.
Research Methodology and Tools
7.1. The Setting and Population
The study is supposed to take place in Sahara Well Construction Services (SWCS), a semi-foreign petroleum company in Hassi Messaoud -Ouargla. The company is a combinational base made up on partnership basis, jointly between two giant international companies in the field of petroleum extraction, refinement and reproduction; namely Schlumberger (French) and Enafor (Algerian).
At a first enabled access to the company we were given permission for only three days. The chance allowed a space for surveying the different parts comprising the company in question from administration to the rigs of the fieldwork. Starting out from the fact that linguistic communications are extensively common in the administrative division compared to those in the rigs (where the communicative medium more often than not is basically gestural due to noisy environment and a few other reasons) our choice was to fall upon selecting the administrative staff as a targeted population of study.
Needless to say, administration, as must be expected, should be in continuous connection with the different rigs of oil extraction and the like; this is mainly via satellite network and telephone, i.e., communication is roughly purely linguistic when it comes to proceed on with how things keep up in the workplace.
As mentioned beforehand in the problem statement, the company seemed to crucially involve a multilingual context at so many respects. For one reason or another the company entailed employees of different linguistic backgrounds, including a great many of foreigners. In such circumstances for the company, a multiple linguistic context was counted a must not a choice. Whether detrimental or beneficial as far as the company is concerned, communicative difficulties appeared to have an incomparable commonality amongst certain members at certain levels and occasions; this is strictly speaking when it comes to talking of monolinguals or even, though less frequently and sharply, some bilinguals.
As the allocated period of three days came to the end, our seemingly conceived problematic situation tricking the employees most was primarily communicative. The relatively short period of time was but highly inspirational; it was an area for knowing what to do next: to organize and administer a small-scale questionnaire anyhow. Worth pointing out to, seventeen more days had been given as a further chance for going into the company afterwards and where more highlighted perspectives were brought around. While then, the already prepared questionnaire was undertaken. More about it is to come later in due course.
The target population selected for the study is primarily made up of male and female adults (22 to 67 years old), and most of which have obtained a university degree -either graduates or post-graduates as well as engineers, except a few with a variety of different curricular scholarship levels, varying mostly through undergraduates of high school degree bachelors to few-and-far-between university undergraduate dropouts.
As for the mode of research the study will rely on , it is seemingly a fixed-design research to a large extent. Having already pre-specified the area and the topic for research pursuit, fixed research design is appropriately the common attribute for the study to be accomplished. This is actually meant to go about investigating our assumptions and hypothetical views as to find out new facts; it entails working with aggregates apart from an individually-based study. Fairly small groups are the characteristic feature comprising the population intended; generally between two to eight members per group.
Thus, a quantitative discipline appears to be the procedural ground for the study to land. the qualitative touch would tend to be roughly marginalized but a little.
The population chosen for the study is a mixture of a variety of different individuals from different respects: origin, gender, age, linguistic background, culture to mention only few. Sampling procedures attempted to take comprehensive considerations of these; therefore, the overall target population is taken to comprise the sample. Pointed out beforehand, the administrative staff represent our intended sample study.
The company is a one with an organizational system for work days and hours. It affords successive periodical based layout of work; employees mostly seem to occupy their position in the company on the basis of four-week work at stretch. In the workplace, they are meant to stay 12 hours per day. The company nominated a body of employees consisting of around 70 individuals as far as the target division of our study is concerned. These are divided into two sets of roughly 35 members each. Once the monthly assigned time allotment for one set comes to an end, the other substitutive crew shows up to fill the same position. And thus it goes on regularly. This system adopted is termed by the company 'Back-to-Back'.
Two equal groups of members occupying the same posts in succession offers us to select one whole set as a representative sample of research; and with this we administered our initial designed questionnaire.
7.3. Methods of Data Collection
As an exploratory study, cautiously chosen, various techniques and multimethod means of research will have to be used so as to collect the thoroughly crucial data necessary for the study. Known to researchers of social and human sciences, questionnaires and observation are at best easier and most accessible tools gaining prevalence. In addition to matters of validity and reliability as well as favorable enabling means towards discernable outcomes of research , these afford to save much effort and time. Along with this couple of tools we relied equally on further techniques embodied in direct interviews and video recording. We are to highlight each in turn within the following paragraphs.
For the purpose of collecting initial data to build a ground for the topic of our pursuit in the present study the questionnaire was the most used of others. It was a small-scale designed questionnaire of multiple-choice and a couple of devised open-ended questions. Comprising nearly two full pages, the questions vary between interrogatives with five suggested choices at the maximum, and a pair of open questions provided with a space for freely expressive suggestions and interests have to do with the topic chosen for the study. Made this way is bound to the fact that the modeled mode of research is fixed design; a one that fairly much tends to be quantitative rather than qualitative.
While thoughtfully only so much a piloted questionnaire, it is meant to be further elaborated into a more thorough formulated large-scale questionnaire while future study in progress.
This is our second tool resorted to in gathering data and facts, and most used of all. The fact that observation for research intentions can take on a couple of few forms, the adopted perspective at most in our study was to show right from the outset our position as in an assigned academic task of research. The adaptive roles in choosing a type of observational procedures entails conditioning to circumstances and surroundings of investigation, not to mention the criteria of certain favored sort of research mode. Though methodologists alert to cautious considerations of observation techniques and a need to make a friendly environment with participants, our initially surveyed individuals seem to be of enthusiastic preparedness of assistance and cooperation as for facts provision. This is, perhaps, due to the understanding nature of our participants in favor of social and human sciences research, especially that a majority happened to have formerly conducted types of research based on being aware how important factual data is for a researcher. To this effect, most of the sample participants seem to act, behave, and respond really so naturally (except of course rare recognizable subjects indeed).
7.3.3 Video Recording
Though really just so numbered and not so freely gone, videos recording was additionally integrated as a crucial step at certain occasions. It had been initially used to accompany a given participant's explanatory speech with a vivid illustrative picture. It exceptionally, compared to all other methods, helps putting in a certain described situation crawling with an abundance of material and data, and that is highly difficult to catch up with if using note taking procedure for instance.
Needless to say, interviews contribute much in the same way to offer incomparable advantageous data. Interviewing primarily excel over other techniques in the fact that it is a chance towards provoking certain relevant points by the researcher so as to drive the participant in a spontaneous mood of facts revealing. The interviewer, whether with previously structured or spontaneously unstructured componential ingredients of an interview, is the stakeholder and director of the stage combining him to interviewee(s). He stands in a position where he is enabled to raise yet detached facts he believes outstanding and critical for the study undertaken. We, therefore, highly assigned a good many amount of space for interviewing the participants composing the sample.
Generally speaking, all methods have strengths and weaknesses. A variety of these in effect however might highly help save the situation much better off if a single method is being used.
While, after all, only very generally have we come to run the methodological concerns of our study so partially and limitedly regarding the number of participants we so far had taken in, the future perspective seems to ambitiously provide an aspiring chance for elaborating the already used research methods, and widening study: future carried out investigation of the study in question will conveniently yield out more suitable considerations to extend the questionnaire's format, and possibly more enhanced interviews and observations will come into play, as well as more video records will be gained.
After having set up a ground as to how and which techniques and methods be used regarding how data will be collected, a word as far as data analysis is concerned is equally important.
In addition to the data we have already possessed, the amount of it needs be further extended. Once then a move towards the next step is required: data analysis.
As preceded and shown above, the research mode chosen for the study is fixed design. The analysis, then, is to take place only at a delayed stage after all data will have been safely gathered in. Quantitative procedures for so doing are welcomed over qualitative.
Obviously, the study in hand is about being conducted in a context involving particularly humans. Ethical vetting as such is placed at the core.
For the company, privacy must be guarded at all costs; thus the study is meant to disregard dubious facts of proper confidentiality no matter how they will serve the research from near or far. That this is being said, the company seems to offer no welcoming atmosphere for research framework as to 'intruders' or 'outsiders' but really a few indeed; those who are particularly not an integrative part of the company community are seen out of the loop. The company, in effect, is set up upon partnership agreements, and a violation of these would bring it over its doom. There is no question that lest of coming under light of competitors the company should keep out of vulnerability. Our role as researchers is to try out finding out what is behind certain intricate situations once we are approaching a problem, while at the same time no need to come of these working out findings should we go against ethical issues.
Considered the engine of the company, workforce staff of employees at best represent the dynamic agents in dealing with their company's information and data. On the personal level, these individuals possess certain confines to considerations like not wishing to be harassed over providing factual data that seems either classified in the eyes of the company or as a unnecessary step for them towards their release from the position in the company. Not only are such considerations essential in this respect, but along other private stuff the thing is quite an ethical one above all.
To make a long story short, our research is our concern that should be undertaken meticulously, whereas ethical considerations are above every consideration even if it means a flaw for the research in question.
Summary and Significance of the Study:
Language amid an economic context would prove doubtless crucial. As a matter of fact, business dealings, in a way, are all about communication. The linguistic medium would at best serve the purpose. In effect, multilingualism appears to hint much more than just a tool for correspondence at an abstract level; yet, added to being an intrinsic attribute of functional value, language diversity in business imply another dimension as being an essence of a market value; in a manner of speaking a commodity for sale and buy.
Viewed in this light, linguistic facilities and economy prove inseparable. Enterprises such as multinational companies take adventure in going ahead and indulge in bearings on an international level. This, indeed, brings multifaceted decisive factors into play. Whether broad the list or limited, all these factors seem to rely on multilingual means in this respect. Within themselves, multinational companies realize the necessity of the linguistic diversity catering for its needs. What contributes to favoring (a) certain language(s) over another or others, and what brings such and such languages to be deemed more important than their peers is all the matter. The concern of the study is primarily making allowances to such considerations in attempt to find out the facts making it be so. Apart from investigating the issues hitherto raised, the aspired findings would be of utility to uncover essential tenets benefiting linguistic sciences as a whole, and particularly disciplinary applied investigation around languages and their being. The significance of the study, perhaps, lies in its pursuit after striving against tracking down how multilingualism within multinational companies would gain considerations, and how it actually would have to be viewed under the light of a market value on equal terms with other economic cargo.
Limitations of the Study
Though so ambitious it would appear, the study is undoubtedly so prone to be subject to several prospective impediments.
Most of all, the haunting shortage of resources grounding our topic of study is undeniably the foremost hindrance facing the research. It follows that landing the study on a pillar of ambitions to bring up new insightful findings is the challenge that apparently will keep up embarrassing the situation. Our position from this, however, is to try likewise put up in coping with it and attempting to raise defiance against these compulsory circumstances.
So far as the study is concerned, noticeably, apart from purely economic and linguistic determinants, others might implicitly (or explicitly) interfere in such a way that may imprint respectable impact upon the overall far-oriented goal of the study.
More anticipated limitations come into play as to specially human factors. While so much a fieldwork-dependent enquiry, unexpectedly popping events, say, a change of the co-workers staff looms inconveniently vague. This alerts of unconditioned circumstances of study at such a level of likely inconsistently diverting obstacles. It is just to point out that by the time an outlined approach to the aims and an already set-up aspiring setting in order for the meant study to go upright, a slight alteration or change of these is bound to bring undesired ends into the open.
Likewise, in this regard, crucial data, say, from documentary resources are sometimes kept from revealing, and considered to be classified. Accessibility to such confidentialities is regarded as abuse to privacy. For that matter the study in hand would undergo shortage of essential data, and that is likely to effect the future resultant reported findings. This is probably how research in human sciences should be.
Dissertation Structure and Organization
Apparently, the dissertation will comprise four chapters; two introductory descriptive chapters immediately followed up by a pair of analytical chapters. As for the theoretical part of the dissertation, the two chapters are meant to elaborate, separately in turn, significant issues and background content for 'multilingualism as a market attribute', and economic force as a determinant of the 'multilingual value' from the business perspective. The practical part of the dissertation combines the two last chapters. The first of these will be primarily concerned with methodological framework for the study, as well as other issues have to do with ethical considerations and the like. Comes as a second chapter of the practical part, chapter four -and the last actually, is assigned to data analysis, interpretations of results and finally findings reporting. The last chapter of the dissertation will be equally nominated to such considerations as recommendations, study implications, study limitations, and prospective dimensions of the study.
As a necessary integrative segment of the overall dissertation, a general conclusion will be provided most likely in an evaluative format of the study and its outstanding merits.
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