Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Hello, and what is 'Business English'?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Business English
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Hannibal Jim



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Hannibal, MO

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:14 am    Post subject: Hello, and what is 'Business English'? Reply with quote

Hi folks!

I'm new to the group, but not new to Dave's ESL Cafe. I'd tell you how long ago it was that I first visited this site, but that would tell too much about my age (and Dave's too!).

It looks like 'Business English' is getting trendy in Japan, so I thought I'd better check in and see what everybody thinks it is and how it works. I go back and forth to Tokyo (spouse visa), and it's about as trendy a place as there is. Anybody with any comments on what's popular for students and employers in Japan would be greatly appreciated.

I have an M.A. in what my university called 'Literature and Writing Studies,' and my emphasis was rhetoric. I can answer questions about the cognitive side of writing and linguistics and the practice of teaching writing. I have been a newspaper reporter, a poet, a teacher of freshman English at a big public university, and a corporate communications writer. I've taught your basic Eikaiwa stuff in Japan and in the U.S.

I am all about audience. I hate it when people correct my grammar during a conversation at a bar. Prescriptive grammar is for writing, formal speeches/presentations, and for converations where people feel they need to impress each other (like business!). Identify your audience, know their expectations, tailor your communication accordingly, and say whatever you want in a bar for cryin' out loud!

I like to stir things up, not too the point where I make you angry, but to the point where you might feel a little more inclined to get involved. Fire back at me with whatever you want (but remember this is a moderated group -- thanks Lorikeet;-)

Oh, and I like to start paragraphs with the first person singular pronoun. Geez, Jim! I guess that's to be expected in an introduction.

The first thing I noticed about this discussion forum is the statistics. I've seen several topics with close to 500 views, but few with more than 2 replies. My first theory was that people might be very interested in what the business English experts are talking about but don't feel confident enough to answer. Then I noticed that some of Itasan's questions received 50 and even more than 100 replies, so there goes that theory. Maybe it's like American politics -- everybody listens to the news, even gripe and moan about it, but never go out and vote. But let me tell you this, even when I teach the subjects in which I am considered an expert, I always learn new and very interesting insights from people who are trying to make sense of it for the first time. That is what the university folks call academic dialog, but it doesn't have to be limited to lecture halls. Any time you try to make sense of a new concept and try to form questions that might lead to answers, you are creating a stimulating dialog, and it is a wonderful thing that benefits everyone involved.

Now, I truly and sincerely don't mean to stand on a pulpit and preach because I have too many faults of my own, but you can't just take and take and never give. If you find these forums useful, enough to spend your valuable time reading them, then give a little bit back. You don't have to reply to every post, but it would be nice if the posts that didn't seem to get an answer had at least 5 replies instead of 1 or 2. Even if you don't have an answer, maybe you could say something like "try looking here" or "try looking there." This discussion group could be much more beneficial for everyone, but it all depends on how much we put into it. Remember, you only get back what you put in.

OK, I'm done. If you've gotten this far, thanks for putting up with me.

How about a question -- what is business English? Is it simply a jargon used in the business world? Is there a common 'business English' in banking, genetic research, Internet technology, and say the hospitality industry? They are all businesses, aren't they? Do they all use the same business English? Please help me make sense of what the term 'business English' means.

Thanks a whole bunch. I am looking forward to a stimulating dialog with you all.

Jim
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hannibal Jim



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Hannibal, MO

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:23 am    Post subject: For all you grammar cops - 911! Reply with quote

Want to have some fun? Did you find the surface errors and questionable stylistics in my introductory post? The big whoopie prize to the first person to point them out!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Hannibal Jim



Joined: 05 Dec 2007
Posts: 5
Location: Hannibal, MO

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:17 am    Post subject: Allright, then Reply with quote

Uh . . . OK. Never mind.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lorikeet



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1366
Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess this particular forum isn't one that garners a lot of activity. I've given up trying to get Itasan to post his questions elsewhere or in one post. Every so often someone has a question about "Business English" which to me involves teaching English for use in a business setting, whatever that is Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
engteacher



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To say it simply: English is English. However, Business English means different things to different people. I think this is important to keep in mind. I will hazard to guess that a great many have the view that Business English is teaching English for use in a business setting.

"Is there a common 'business English' in banking, genetic research, Internet technology, and say the hospitality industry?" Yes there is a common "business English" and then there's the vocabulary i.e. jargon that is specific to each.

OR

Is "Business English" only a clever marketing ploy.... ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sbourque



Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 158
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I taught Business English, it involved
a) teaching industry-specific vocabulary (marketing, human resources, management, banking) along with collocations and set phrases
b) explaining American business culture (personal space, sense of time etc.)
c) working on business presentation skills in English
d) some business-related writing: memos, faxes, e-mails
and last but not least,

e) me wearing my Power Businesswoman suits left over from my days in the business world.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
grimfarmer



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Business English cynic Reply with quote

I'm rather cynical as to whether 'business English' actually exists.

Of course, there are topics which are more appropriate to Business situations, such as telephoning and negotiating, and register can be important, but in the end, if your grammar sucks and you can't understand simple spoken English it doesn't matter what flavour you're trying to master. For what it's worth!

In my experience, business people enjoy lively, interactive activities, ideally based around a 'business' situation, but not necessarily, and plenty of them just need good old normal lessons I'm afraid.

Sab
Hotch Potch English
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
rinkrat27



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:45 pm    Post subject: business english Reply with quote

I agree with sbourque, since I am teaching business English now in 3 schools.... oy.Smile It does involve a significant amount of jargon, but I also work on the grammar/spelling, writing, presentation skills, and etiquette to some extent also. Being a US citizen, there are differences between UK and US business English.

I guess business English is a combination of preparing them for the real world (how to write memos, presentations, negotiate, listen) as well as grounding them in basic English such as correct grammar usage, verb tenses etc. I don't wear my power suit to class though. ) I also have 20 years of business experience, and most of my students have some work experience, so it's interesting incorporating their experiences, as well as comparing them to the scenerios in the books.

Considering my school has a variety of business classes, maybe the specialty does exist?Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rinkrat27



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:15 pm    Post subject: BEC Reply with quote

forgot something.... the British Council has something called BEC - Business English Certificate, plus TOEIC, which is specfically business English related.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
grimfarmer



Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Paris, France

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject: Change of mind Reply with quote

I've recently re-thought my cynicism as to whether 'business English' really exists and isn't just a glorified version of normal English with some technical terms thrown in.

In fact, the term ESP seems to be finally becoming seriously valid, and a colleague who is writing a book on legal English assured me that the simple English teacher who pretends to be some sort of expert can quickly get out of their depth. Just because they have photocopied a couple of pages on 'legal English' doesn't mean they can hold up under the scrutiny of genuinely interested but unforgiving lawyers intend on getting to the heart of the matter. And the 'matter' might well be some intricate difference in the law between Britain and France, for example.

So I withdraw my previous comment and will probably enter my next business English class with shaking knees! Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1305
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that there are stylistic considerations. Students have to learn the social practices of business in English. Of course, that depends on the "English" country as well and what is seen as polite and acceptable information. There are also specific ways of communicating in memos and business reports and reading the information that is given, including charts, graphs, statistics of all sorts which some students have only done in math courses and not had to comment on. Then there are considerable oral skills to master. Of course, it rests on good basic vocabulary and skills in English that have to be remembered and used in this different situation. Dress style was a very important part of being a role model to the students in our Business English course. Finally, we had an excellent package on getting a job, going for interviews, making a resume and all that involved.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Business English All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group