Transferring Results of Intercultural Communication Research to Business English Classroom: Structure and Register Fluctuation in Business Emails from British, Polish, and Spanish Companies


Emails are the most common communication means in the present business world. A broad range of email studies focused on cultural variations in business email writing, but very few approached intercultural business communication in Europe. In one of them, Gómez-Moreno and Skorczynska (2013) described variations concerning the prototypical move structure and register in a corpus of 100 emails of response to business requests written in English by employees from companies based in the UK, Spain and Poland. The study revealed that the move structure in this type of intercultural communication is more complex than current templates and existing published materials show, and that register variations detected should be transferred to the business English instruction in the European context, which typically uses native speaker writing samples. As the awareness and adaptation to different writing styles in the intercultural business communication within Europe is absent in the published textbooks and related materials, I will propose a number of activities, based on authentic email messages taken from the above mentioned corpus in order to use them in the business English classroom. Students will identify the prototypical move structure in examples of British, Spanish and Polish emails of the formal and informal types, and discuss the variations detected. The activities will also focus on the language features, which are characteristic for formal and informal business email writing, and on how the use of these features fluctuates across the three cultures. Business English students can certainly benefit from working with authentic texts, especially in case of both language and cultural awareness raising activities, which would greatly help improve their communication skills for today’s globalized world.

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Hanna Skorczynska, Universitat Politécnica de València, Spain

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2020
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

This paper is part of the ACEID2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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