Teach English in ChuanwAn Zhen - Zhuzhou Shi

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Many common issues prevail in the world of linguistics, whether between native or foreign speakers, and this can cause many inefficiencies in communication between parties. Despite these inefficiencies influencing the avoidance of these issues, the efficiency and benefits of facing these challenges often out-weigh the former. Understanding the commonality and causation of these common issues is paramount in the ability to address or overcome them. Phonetics, sentence structure, language fluidity, and lack of contextual knowledge are just a few of these common issues, but they are worth understanding. Both in listening and speaking, phonetics, if not performed properly, can change the meaning of words or phrases, off put the desire of people wishing to work together, and even affect employment. This can be a problem in the business setting when someone is unwilling to work with another person because he or she has an accent that is difficult to understand, or if extra energy must be put into double-checking and second-guessing all the things that an employee has said, just in case of misinterpretation. In an office setting, this could lead to a host of issues like poor team outcomes or mistakes if misunderstandings occur and are not checked. However, phonetics can be practiced and students can develop their communication skills to be understood by their coworkers through investment of time and practice. Eventually, a non-native Spanish speaker will learn to roll her r’s, and someone hearing English spoken quickly won’t get overwhelmed with translating the information. With many languages, sentence structures are fluid and can change the meaning of a statement entirely with only a different inflection or emphasis. Interjections, points of clarification, descriptive clauses, and prepositional phrases can really confuse the interpretation of the message, even when used in attempts to clarify. The sentence,” Have Mary, from reception, send the paperwork, about financial assets, in the accounting file, which is blue, tomorrow,” can be confusing, especially without clear separation of clauses which occurs in speech. This can cause many people to get confused, even if they don’t know they are confused, and to fail to carry out the proper tasks. One way to counter this would be to teach students the habit of clarification of what is told to them or asked of them. Obviously, only speaking practice and developing grammar knowledge can truly lead to a strong understanding of these confusing messages, but that takes a considerable time that students may not have before applying the language to business situations. All languages are fluid through time, culture, region, and even other classes. It changes in massive or minor ways. This can be a problem when attempting to learn a language based on a textbook or on the teachings of an individual from one region of many where the language is spoken. In the business world, terms change over time to align with, and shape, the culture in which it operates. These changes can be a bit overwhelming for those practicing a foreign language. Especially if the foreign speaker is relatively new to practicing the language, context may have less contribution to the development of the new word into its own idea than the hopes of translation. While a substantial knowledge of language must be acquired before being able to apply these tactics with regularity, introducing the practice of using contextual evidence as a way to generate an idea relating to a word can help build positive habits to alleviate this issue. Having a lack of contextual knowledge lessens an individual’s ability to build on knowledge using contextual clues. Context can relate to culture as well as word or idea meanings. A common example is the use of the general you rather than the personal you in English. The lack of cultural or linguistic context that comes from extensive practice and immersion in English-speaking cultures may cause the use of the general you to feel accusational or commanding at times. A lack of awareness in multiple levels of communication context can create a feedback loop of insufficient contextual understanding that makes it more difficult to efficiently learn and understand foreign ideas. In terms of teaching business students, a practice that may weaken the barriers to understanding is to also teach about business culture in the English-speaking realm. This may help the messages being sent verbally, through email, or through body-language, to be interpreted correctly and more efficiently. The importance of understanding these issues do not fall solely upon the foreign speaker. Not only is it important for a teacher of the English language to understand this, but it is also important for those who communicate with the foreign speaker to recognize and consider these common linguistic issues in order to create more efficient communication. In a business setting, this means that those who natively speak English must also anticipate the communication needs of their non-native English-speaking coworkers.