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Business Englishand, more widely, business communication are relatively new areas of injury for Russian learners of English. Both subjects have become increasingly interesting over past fifteen years with the advent of marker economy and the changes in the Russian view of the world outside. More and more frequently people from different walks of life would like to get a better idea of the business world and the English used for business purposes.

English as a Global Language

English is a natural language: it is a means of human communication in speech and writing; it is also a living and constantly changing entity. Over the past several decades, English has acquired a global presence. Currently, over 1,5 billion people around the world use English as their first, second, or foreign language. English is the dominant or official language in over 60 countries. It is a preferred and increasingly accepted means of international and intercultural communication. It is the language of politics and diplomacy, the language of science and technology, and the language used in business contexts.

The World of Business

The term businessin the phrase the world of business calls for an explanation. It seems reasonable in this connection to quote the relevant definition in English and then supply its Russian equivalent. Both definitions are borrowed from The Dictionary of General Business English Terminology:

Businessmeans a person, firm, company or other organization which makes or produces a product, buys and sells goods or provide some kind of service for the purpose of making a profit; trading generally; the practice of commerce (бизнес, дело, предпринимательская деятельность, компания, предприятие; коммерция означает лицо, фирму или организацию, которая производит, покупает или продает товары или услуги с целью извлечения прибыли; торговая деятельность; коммерческая деятельность).

In the former Soviet Union, the word business invariably carried a tingle of negative. It was undeniably westernized concept and was treated accordingly - kept on the periphery of standard usage and restricted to a limited number of language users. The same was true of concepts like income (доход), profit (прибыль), capital (капитал), share (акция), shareholder (акционер) and many others. Gradually, however, the command-and-control reality with its restrictions and limitations gave way to the market economy. Along with the changing reality, usage gave in and opened up for numerous changes. In present-day Standard Russian, nothing is wrong with word-combinations and short utterances like открыть свое дело, капитал фирмы, вести цивилизованный бизнес etc. The former negativities have subsided under pressure from the new realities and priorities. In president Putin Annual Address on April 18, 2002 (Ежегодное послание президента Российской федерации Федеральному Собранию РФ), several terms testified to the spread of market economy in Russia: капитализация (capitalization), рынок (market), инвестиционный портфель (portfolio), кредитный рынок (credit rating) etc. These, and many other terms sound fairly new to the native speakers of Russian; their English counterparts, however, have been part and parcel of standard business usage for a long time and have rightfully been included in core business vocabulary. It should be mentioned also that the word business itself is frequently used in both spoken and written discourse.


14. Read and translate the following broadcast text. Let’s discuss it from the positions of business and linguistics:




English is a common language for business, but communication is not just about language. Business is the most popular subject for international students in the United States. At last count, twenty-one percent of foreign students at American colleges and universities were studying business and management. The Institute of International Education in New York says engineering is the second most popular field, in case you were wondering. Thomas Cossé is a professor of marketing and business at the University of Richmond in Virginia. He says international students who want to study business need to have good English skills - and not just to study at his school. THOMAS COSSÉ: "At least among business schools, more and more worldwide are requiring that their students take English, and they are teaching more in English."

But the world has more non-native speakers of English than native speakers. As a result, Americans working with foreign companies may need to learn some new English skills themselves. At the University of Richmond, teams of graduate students work with companies seeking to enter the American market. The students learn about writing market entry studies. The reports are written in English. But Professor Cossé tells his students to consider who will read them. THOMAS COSSÉ: "My students have to write the report in such a way that it can be understood by someone who is an English speaker but not a native English speaker."

For example, he tells his students to avoid jargon and other specialized terms that people might not know in their own language. This can be good advice even when writing for other native speakers. But effective communication involves more than just words. Kay Westerfield is director of the international business communication program at the University of Oregon. KAY WESTERFIELD: "If you just have the language awareness or the skills without culture, you can easily be a fluent fool."

Cultural intelligence means the need to consider local behaviors in everything from simple handshakes to speaking to large groups. Still, Kay Westerfield says the ability of local workers to speak English is becoming more important to companies looking to move operations to other countries. Or, as she puts it, to "off-source." KAY WESTERFIELD: "While cost remains a major factor in decisions about where to off-source, the quality of the labor pool is gaining importance, and this includes English language skills."

Also, she says English skills often provide a competitive edge for business students when they seek jobs. KAY WESTERFIELD: "As one business student in West Africa put it, 'English is a lifeline.'"


15. Prepare your own version of the theme. Be ready for the business game “Round table discussion”.*



*С дополнительными материалами для изучения и закрепления пройденной темы Вы можете ознакомиться в разделе Приложения (Chapter VIII “REFERENCE SOURCES”; APPENDIX I).


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