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What is business English?

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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 13
Location: benton harbor MIchigan,USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 12:22 am    Post subject: What is business English? Reply with quote

I've seen a lot of posts that refer to business English...does it mean teaching English to business people or is the emphasis on teaching business classes like accounting, finance etc?
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Joined: 01 Mar 2003
Posts: 344

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Last edited by MartinK on Mon Nov 17, 2003 9:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer

Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:45 am    Post subject: It means ... Reply with quote

Dear Peakbagger03 Cool

To answer your question: it means teaching English to business people. In addition to the "same old tired crap" mentioned by MartinK above, it can also involve presenting and explaining some slightly heavier concepts and business jargon, which are not used in typical, everyday English.

At the intermediate level and above, for example, you get into topics like joint venture vs. franchise vs. licensing agreement; GDP per capita, deregulation, dumping, protectionism, quotas, tarrifs, distribution agreements, letters of credit, and so on.

In addition to learning the jargon, students of business English will often be presented with a variety of topics for discussion, which can include but are not limited to any of the following: advantages and disadvantages of globalization, the importance of cultural awareness in business, qualities of good leadership, corporate strategy, competition, ethics at work, etc...

Considering the global village we live in today, and the fact that the Korean may be communicating with the German, who may in turn be communicating with a guy in Tokyo, who then sends the final report to the CFO in London ... I'm not really convinced that teaching Business English as a separate course is absolutely imperative.

Sticking to 'the basics' of English is always my preference in the classroom, but as long as there are companies out there who want and are willing to pay for this kind of specialized training for their employees, schools will continue to offer it.


Last edited by Kent F. Kruhoeffer on Thu Mar 27, 2003 8:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 6:57 am    Post subject: ESP and Business English Reply with quote

Vested interests including publishers would like us to believe that Business English, as a branch of "English for Special Purposes", is some esoteric and difficult area. In fact it is only English with some extra vocabulary.

These "vested interests" include teachers clutching newly-printed "Certificates in Teaching Business English"

When they start trying to sell you textbooks and "integrated learning systems" watch out, it is sure to be a rip-off.

Last edited by scot47 on Wed Apr 02, 2003 5:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 31 Jan 2003
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 11:20 pm    Post subject: Thank you! Reply with quote

Those of you who DON'T know Business English make the lives of us who do - much easier!

Yes, it is a significantly different area. You, preferably, should have some business knowledge and experience. Topics for conversation classes will usually be about business. Perhaps boring to you, but probably very interesting to your students. Your lack of knowledge of the content area will quickly come to light. And you will quickly lose the respect of your students.

I've taught great classes with accountants and auditors - and because I know and understand the concepts, we could delve into areas of great interest (and thus of great motivation) for the students.

Of some humor - in Saudi we had some Business ESP texts written by English teachers who had no knowledge of the business world. There were hilarious stories about how sales managers didn't care if their staff sold anything because, " People just aren't buying right now" - the business people in the class would break up laughing knowing that the sales manager would be kicking their collective b*tts if they weren't selling stuff. Lots of great humor. Just had to tell them how the book was written by an English teacher with no knowledge of their world. But, the credibility of the book was soon lost . . .
Most experienced business English teachers will have LOTS of stories such as this one.

Anyway, get your feet wet and try to learn about the business world.
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