Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Eszter Sándor: What business students really need: Pragmatic strategies used by young business professionals in a multilingual environment


DOI 10.51313/Freeside-2022-06

When fresh business graduates enter the world of business, they often work in a multicultural and multilingual environment where the shared language is English, that is, they use Business English as a lingua franca (BELF). In such work environments they are expected to function as professionals in English as well as in their mother tongue. However, being able to collaborate with other non-native speakers (NNS) of English and to work effectively with them requires the use of pragmatic strategies that help achieve mutual understanding. The aim of the present paper is to report on the findings of a qualitative piece of research which pursued the goal of exploring how young business professionals communicate in English at work, the pragmatic strategies they employ and the challenges they face when they communicate with people from all over the world. The findings of the interview study confirm research findings reported in literature that language users in BELF contexts use several pragmatic strategies to overcome linguacultural differences, such as paraphrasing, repetition and striving to use clear and simple language. The research has also shown that learning to communicate in an appropriate way is a gradual process that novice members of the international business community go through, and that the more experienced members are more aware of the need to develop their pragmatic competence. The paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of what Business English (BE) courses need to focus on to help future business professionals cope with BELF communicative situations at work.

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ISSN 1786-7967

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