Developing the Conference Theme and Tracks

By Charles, Mirjaliisa | Business Communication Quarterly, December 1999 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Developing the Conference Theme and Tracks

Charles, Mirjaliisa, Business Communication Quarterly

AS A MEMBER OF THE PROGRAM COMMITTEE, I want to review the conference from the point of view of the organizers. Anyone who has ever been involved with organizing an event like this knows that certain organizational matters are inseparable from the actual academic content. First we had to develop a theme, and then we had to name the tracks for which papers were invited. I'll review both of these activities.

Theme: "Business through Language and Communication"

We wanted the theme of the conference to focus on the vital role of communication in the process of doing business. The wording, however, separates "language" from "communication." That is not to say that language is actually separable from communication--indeed, it most certainly is not; rather, the wording emphasizes that language is so significant that it should be studied in its own right and as a roleplayer in communication.

In multilingual Europe we are painfully aware of the importance of language--in fact, I should say languages--for communication. For anyone doing international business, foreign languages are crucial. This means that the teaching of foreign languages for international business is in the forefront of European business communication training and research. It thus befits the first ABC European Convention to have attracted papers focusing on the teaching of foreign languages for business communication. We wanted to encourage the participation of teachers of business English (i.e. English as a foreign language), business German, business French, business Swedish, business Russian. . . . We got these papers--and we are happy about it.

Another benefit that we are happy about is that we managed to bring together teachers and trainers of foreign languages with teachers and trainers of native speakers. We feel that by sharing their experiences and expertise, these two groups can learn from each other: "mainstream" business communication teachers and trainers benefit from being privy to the problems that non-native speakers have, as well as the influence of various mother tongues on international business communication; likewise, non-native speakers benefit from learning about research on the nature of various genres as used by native speakers.

Foreign language teachers and trainers still sometimes feel that learners cannot start using their newly acquired (though still deficient) language skills for any real business communication purposes until they have reached a certain level of "system knowledge" of the foreign language they want to operate in; that communication problems in international business are due to insufficient language skills of the non-native speaker; and that learning the language system--mainly grammar and vocabulary--underpins the communication process. Of course, it is true that if one communicator lacks even rudimentary grammar and vocabulary in the language (s)he is attempting to use, communication can, to say the least, be laborious. However, as we know, there is more to communication than grammar and vocabulary, and this awareness was forcibly brought to the forefront in many paper sessions.

Particularly interesting in this respect were the papers dealing with error interference.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Developing the Conference Theme and Tracks


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?