Offshore English: A Reality English is the ?trade language? of the


English is the 'trade language' of the world'used in over 135 countries to communicate business transactions and international politics. Around 1 billion people in the world speak English. As of the year 2000, 750 million people, 350 million of whom speak it daily, were said to speak English. Millions of world citizens are now using what has been coined, 'Offshore English', to conduct business with other speakers of English as a second language. It has become evident after many failed business deals that native speakers of English must adapt their language to better suit their overseas colleagues.

One example of an unsuccessful business venture due to miscommunication is found on Using English.com, in an article titled, 'What is Offshore English'' The article offers an anecdote about South Korea seeking to purchase flight simulators from overseas companies. They were considering two companies, one French, the other British. After some communications and deliberations with both companies separately, the South Koreans decided that because it was 'easier to understand the English spoken by the French than the English spoken by the British company' , that they would do business with the French company. The British have found themselves in trouble at times by saying, 'I'm not with you,' to the Japanese who take it to mean rejection. This quote was found in an article titled, 'Offshore English: Millions of Pounds are being lost in deals each year.' The title alone suggests that offshore communications are posing a very real business obstacle for British companies. Overseas companies are simply turning them down--and for what' 'Indeed, so off-putting is our speech that some foreign companies,' 'says Canning,' 'are awarding major contracts to non-British organizations simply because they speak better English.' Canning who claims to have coined the term, 'Offshore English', posted the article that was originally published by The Evening Standard Newspaper. It is no surprise then that native speakers participating in the international business community are now finding it necessary to be trained to communicate with non-natives in 'their' language, Offshore English. There are many helpful articles on the web such as, 'Offshore English In Action', found on Engineer Live.com. This brief article provides many insightful tips to navigating the nuances of Offshore English. It gives some very helpful 'don'ts' like, 'Try to avoid using colloquial idioms when talking to non- native speakers.' It also steers us away from using hard to grasp phrasal verbs. If simple tips, hints, and reminders aren't enough, further action might be necessary. Some employers have gone so far as to enroll their employees into an Offshore English course. Yes, it does seem counterproductive to re-learn one's mother tongue. However, when confronted with speaking English with people from an array of different countries and lingual backgrounds it can quickly become apparent that such a re-tuning may be appropriate. Such courses are being offered by, Canning, a company specializing in International training and development. Also, some institutes, colleges, and universities offering ESOL courses are now also including a course on Offshore English. Buckswood St. Nova Institute, accredited by The British Council, for example, offers online courses on Offshore English. ] Is this really what it has come to' Do we really need to re-learn our own language to communicate with others who perhaps haven't learned it to perfection'

'Why don't they learn English more thoroughly'' one might ask. Who should be accommodating, adjusting, and adapting' These questions have yet to be worked out and answered but there are some clues and hints as to the way of the future. First of all, it is clear that business deals have gone bad due to miscommunications. It depends on who stands to gain in the situation'in most cases it's the western country on the losing end. Secondly, it has been found that native and non-native speakers alike can understand much of the inaccurate English spoken by ESL speakers. This begs of the time old rhetorical question, 'Why fix it if its not broken'' The fact is that non-native speakers communicate effectively with each other even though their language isn't accurate. When someone says, 'I am working for my company since three years' natives speakers may snicker or laugh inside at its inaccuracy but still all the while fully understand what has been said. Non-native speakers, without the benefit of an innate sense of accurate English, might simply nod in understanding and move on in conversation. It is something hard to grasp'that native speakers may, at times, actually be at a disadvantage when communicating in their own language with foreigners. However, accepting that it is our disadvantage may be the first step to overcoming the communication woes we have with non-native speakers. It is the reality we must face moving into future as a global community.

Beare, Kenneth. 'Q. How many people learn English globally'' About: English as 2nd Language. Spring 2006. 8 October 2006

'What is Offshore English'' Using English.com. 14 September 2006. 8 October 2006

'What is Offshore English'' Using English.com. 14 September 2006. 8 October 2006

'Offshore English: Millions of Pounds are being lost each year' Canning. 21 February, 2005. 8 October 2006.

'Offshore English: Millions of Pounds are being lost each year' Canning. 21 February 2005. 8 October 2006.

'Offshore English In Action' Engineer Live.com. Fall 2006. 9 October 2006

'Offshore English In Action' Engineer Live.com. Fall 2006. 9 October 2006