Business English as a ‘Lingua Franca’ – BELF – has been getting more and more international attention recently in the field of TESOL because global business has become common and normal by now. The presentation will focus on English business e-mail as it is the cornerstone of international business communication. It is often assumed that writing English e-mail messages is in the first place a question of vocabulary and grammar, but experience is pointing to a much more important aspect that Japanese students and teachers tend to overlook: paragraph writing. The presentation will offer insights into the reasons why paragraph writing is so important for Japanese students. Among others it will be pointed out that the different styles of logical thinking that are pervasive in various cultures ("cultural thought patterns") influence how arguments are built up in each language. In order to be able to write an understandable English business e-mail message, Japanese students need to realize this and learn how to apply English logic. The presentation will draw on examples of e-mail messages to illustrate the problem and on excerpts of textbooks to point to effective and non-effective ways of introducing this topic to Japanese students. The presentation will further introduce experience related to the levels of skills that are needed to write understandable English business e-mail messages and on the focus that is needed to motivate students.
Masako Nishikawa-Van Eester, Nishogakusha University, Japan
Stream: Language and Communication
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