It is good to see that a special volume on business discourse has come out in a series which is devoted to research and practice in Applied Linguistics. It means that the discourse-oriented study of business practices has finally come of age and that it deserves its place in an impressive list of titles which also includes language testing, classroom management, bilingualism, and even pronunciation.
At the same time, the question could be raised as to why business discourse is included in the series in the first place. Of course, there has always been a link between business discourse and language teaching, if only because many researchers in the field are language teachers.
On the other hand, it might be argued that to view the study of business discourse from the teaching angle only is perhaps to slightly obscure the challenging ways in which this emerging Chanel Jewelry field has been in and out of sync with recent developments in other domains, including, most prominently, that of discourse studies.
Having said that I believe that Bargiela-Chiappini Nickerson, and Planken are to be highly commended for writing a clear and well-illustrated state-of-the-art survey that is genuinely interesting for students, teachers, researchers and practitioners alike. To be sure, this is a formidable achievement in its own right, no matter the restrictions imposed by the series.
Crawford Camiciottoli’s book on the language of business studies lectures is situated on the same busy intersection between business studies and learning. Clearly, Crawford Camiciottoli’s ambitions are very different from those of Bargiela-Chiappini, Nickerson, and Planken, aiming at in-depth analysis rather than inventory.
However, what is interesting about bringing the two books together is that it shows how the strong links between business and learning, those that hamper the book on business discourse somewhat, lend the one on business studies lectures its unique appeal.
Business Discourse is divided into four parts. The first part presents an introduction to the field. In the first chapter, the authors offer a definition of business discourse as spoken and written communication situated in commercial organizations and viewed as social action. In addition, there is a short history of the field that started out mainly with a prescriptive motivation, until the early nineties, when Mirjaliisa Lampi (later Charles) turns to describing the influence of company agendas on negotiation talk.
The second chapter is called ‘Challenges in the future’ and concentrates on three of the field’s most recent developments: the emergence of a strong intercultural component, the potential of multimodality as an analytical approach that accounts for non-linguistic aspects of communication, and the need for a transdisciplinary perspective.
The second part of the book deals with applications of business discourse research both in teaching and consultancy. In one of the three chapters, the authors profile a number of research-based teaching practices, covering a wide range of topics from the English language needs of business education in Hong Kong to the contrasting views of business faculty and business professionals in the USA.
Another chapter provides a survey of research-based teaching materials, including textbooks in corporate and technical communication as well as (T)ESOL. The third chapter of this part lists and illustrates Jewelry Store half a dozen examples of research-based consultancy work. In the third part of the book, the authors finally turn to business discourse research proper, with chapters on themes and research strategies, methodologies, frameworks and project ideas, as well as cases.
Like in the rest, many different voices are heard here, with actual examples of business discourse providing the readers with the knowledge and tools they need to develop and undertake their own practice-related research and with quotations, definitions of key concepts, ‘famous researcher’ profiles and data sections punctuating the main texts.
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