In this series, published in conjunction with the Learning English section of the Guardian Weekly, Mark Powell, author of In Company, presents a snapshot of everyday business language.
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We hope that these brief insights into business communication will encourage further debate about the very particular ways in which people interact in the world of business.
Inside Working language
Mark Powell talks about international Business English and its need for an extreme makeover, dicussing alternatives such as Globish and English as a lingua franca.
According to Wikipedia (so it must be true), a grammatical modifier is "an adjective or adverb that changes the meaning of a noun, pronoun or verb". Strange, that. Because to the vast majority of the British business community it’s a word that changes absolutely nothing at all.
We expect the gossip columns to be filled with celebrity split-ups, but who’d have thought the ELT columns would be full of the same thing? No jilted supermodels in our case, of course. It’s the native-speaker model we’re ditching for a slimmer, sexier substitute. And her name is lingua franca.
Mark Powell considers the influence of numerology in delivering an effective presentation.
Mark Powell sounds a note of caution for email correspondence.
Mark Powell takes a look at the influence of metaphor on the language of business and considers some of the key underlying metaphors embedded within different cultures.
Mark Powell helps speakers of business English to cut down on their emissions.
Mark Powell challenges the view that the art of selling is attending to the precise language your customers use and matching their sensory preferences by choosing similarly loaded language.
Mark Powell on the rise of texting as quick and convenient communication between colleagues. But is it wise to use it interculturally? Here are some tips on texting practices to avoid ...
An intercultural guide to the art of speaking on the phone in the office.
Mark Powell considers the implications of prohibiting unhelpful phrases in a tactical game of teaching taboo.
It's a dog-eat-dog world: Mark Powell makes the case for idiomatic evolution.