Learning to Speak English (Again).
Is Business English some kind of alien language? Why don’t we just call it English? What makes it so special that the inability to converse in it contributes to unemployment? The answer is simple. English is a universal language. It also happens to be the Number 1 language of choice for business and commerce (among other things). Can you survive in the world without knowing a word of English? Yes, you can. However, if you want to work for a multinational company and be successful in your career, then there is no escaping English. Why is speaking it such a challenge? We learn English for 12 years in our education system yet some still struggle to deliver a sentence.
Let’s explore some reasons:
1st Reason: Stigma
This is the sensitive one. For some, English is the language of the colonialist. It conjures some pretty dark memories from our nation’s history. Speaking it and prioritizing it over other native languages is considered taboo. The good news is that this belief is slowly changing. Hopefully from the understanding that language is just a tool.
2nd Reason: Usage
This one extrapolates from the first. We learn English in school, yes. When we go home, we forget about it. This is because we converse with our immediate circle of family and friends in our native tongue. So, is speaking our native language bad? Of course not! Unfortunately, there is no denying that your mastery of the English language will certainly wane if you do not find opportunities to practise what you’ve learned outside of school. We tend to do word-for-word literal translations from our native language to English which can sound weird. There is also the issue of accent which if too pronounced, can affect understanding.
The fact is that you need to learn how to speak English first before you can speak Business English.
Business English is simply a more polished and precise version of the normal English we speak on a day-to-day basis. Taking the “pasar” out of the “bahasa” so to speak. It’s not an impossible task. It does however require some serious effort.
To learn any language, you need to listen to it attentively first. ‘Who’ and ‘what’ you’re listening to matters, so make sure you listen from the right source. Then seek to understand the meaning behind the words and structure (this is the hard part). After that, attempt to replicate their usage in your speech.
Finally, learning is complete when put things in writing. If you need further guidance, you are welcome to enrol in our Business English 101 program.
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