회계의 국제화와 언어제국주의
Internationalization of Accounting and Linguistic Imperialism

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서울대학교 경영대학 경영연구소
경영논집, vol.38(2∙3), pp.81-114
syntagmatic relationparadigmatic relationdouble-entry bookkeepingaccounting fraudlinguistic imperialisminternational accounting standards
The conclusions reached in this paper can be summarized as follows:
(1) We should distinguish meta-language from object language. Our thoughts become
confused and lost in a maze when the ranks of the language are confused, which is the
problem that often arises when addressing linguistic significance in international accounting.
In order to think clearly, the distinction between the meta-language for control (accounting
standards) and that for description (language for standards and language for disclosure) must
be made clear. All three meta-languages mentioned above can be designed as uniform
language or as auxiliary language.
(2) There is very little chance that each of the above three meta-languages will ever be
transformed into a world-wide uniform language in accounting, as suggested by the failure of
linguistic imperialism and the delay in the popularization of Esperanto. The meta-languages
may become the international auxiliary language, at most, because language is not only a
means of communication but is also at one with the culture (values) to which the language
speakers belong.
(3) In recent years, accounting fraud has been severely punished in many developed
countries. This fact can unmistakably be attributed to intercultural conflicts, or conflicts
between the values of everyday language (benefit of the general public) and the values of
accounting language (performance of the corporation). Such conflicts arise because the
perception, thought, and behavior of the businessmen are strongly bound by the accounting
language. In other words, corporate scandals will arise as long as there is an accounting
system in the company, just as traffic accidents will occur as long as there are vehicles on the
(4) Linguistic imperialism in International Accounting Standards (IAS) arises when
companies try to seek comparability and at the same time reduce cost. We must resist such
imperialism. We cannot expect IAS to be accepted as the only accounting system in all
countries (IAS Only). Instead, IAS should be adopted as an additional accounting system (IAS
Plus). In short, listed companies should make two kinds of financial statements, i.e., one for
domestic and the other for international stakeholders, because additional costs are inevitable
when companies compete in a borderlesscapital market.
(5) Each country has its own accounting standards. The international consensus is that
there needs to be common accounting standards that can be applied to companies worldwide.
However, no company should be forced to adopt such common standards exclusively. After
all, the effort to promote the harmonisation and convergence of various accounting standards
could only benefit a selected few borderless companies. Furthermore, it is likely that such an
effort would result in the diversification of accounting standards. In other words, the
development of common standards may be equivalent to the creation of another new
language (another new culture).
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College of Business Administration/Business School (경영대학/대학원)Institute of Management Research (경영연구소)경영논집경영논집 vol.38 (2004)
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