LEARNING & TEACHING BUSINESS ENGLISH
An essay for teachers of Chinese-speaking students
I. Defining the field, Establishing the Background
II. Writing: The American Interlocutor and Pedagogical Approaches
Composition as unique linguistic form
V. Identifying some specific problems for Chinese students
LEARNING AND TEACHING BUSINESS ENGLISH WRITING
An Essay for Teachers of Chinese-speaking Students
Defining the Field, Establishing the Background
English Business Writing is a sub-field of ESP (English for Special Purposes), a branch of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) or ESL (English as a Second Language). Business Writing embodies three sets of skills and knowledge, viz.: (1) Writing as a visuo-spatio-kinesthetic scripting skill (calligraphy, handwriting); (2) writing as a compositional skill (creative writing); and (3) Business Writing as a specialized sub-skill of compositional writing (occupational writing).
For the student whose first-language script style is other than Roman, such as for the Chinese, the first obstacle in learning English writing is the acquisition of the Roman scripting skill (calligraphy). Whereas English readers may resort to romanization of ideographs (as through the Wade-Giles or Pinyin transliterating systems), Chinese readers cannot represent the sounds or graphemes of English ideographically. For the Chinese reader and writer, therefore, the first problem is to associate Roman script and phonemes with morphemes and sounds. Even if the aim is exclusively to learn how to read and write, the association of graphic forms with phonic forms is deemed to be important by most scholars if morphemes, syntax, and meaning are to be adequately apprehended and connected. Hence, a great many teachers believe that speech should be taught simultaneously with reading and writing--whatever the ultimate objective.
The great phonemic distance that separates English from Mandarin (Can...