TEACHING BUSINESS ENGLISH: COOPERATIVE DISCURSIVE STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
1 MGIMO-University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2 Leo Tolstoy Tula State Pedagogical University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Essential requirements are imposed on English as a global language. At the present stage of globalization it is to regulate external relations, harmonize international and interpersonal business communication.
Nowadays business discourse is defined as social action in business contexts as well as a set of special skills for achieving business and professional aims. The requirement of modern labour market is that students are to acquire their professional language skills alongside the models of successful verbal behaviour. The latter is extremely important for any specialist regardless of the field of activity. In view of this teaching Business English involves introducing the basics of discourse analysis into the curriculum which may help students to assess their aims at the stage of planning, adapt rhetorical means in the course of speech realization and improve possible flaws at the stage of correction.
With this, it is necessary to point out that effective communication implies positive influence, i.e. attainment of goals coupled with the balanced relationship with the interlocutor. Cooperative strategies and tactics fulfill this task. A discursive strategy is a general theoretical plan of interaction while a discursive tactic is a particular practical tool implementing the strategy.
In this article two significant types of cooperative strategies are analyzed: cooperative discursive strategies intensifying and weakening the pragmatic impact. For example, those intensifying the pragmatic impact are represented by strategies of attracting attention, self-presentation, motivation, proof giving, goal setting. They may be actualized by a variety of tactics, e.g. tactics of persistent repetition, metaphorisation, irony, comparison, interrogative affirmation, role describing, praise, support, promise, appeal to norms/experience/authority, request, order, offer, giving opinion, brainstorming, (dis)agreement, specification etc. Cooperative discursive strategies weakening the pragmatic impact (softening, distancing, evasion) are realized by tactics of politeness, emotion control, insincere agreement, irony, doubt, concession, foretelling etc.
In particular, teaching management skills and the language of assertiveness with the help of Macmillan’s course “The Business” (2009) it is necessary to identify the discursive strategies used by the speakers in different extracts illustrating effective business communication. The students define the types of discursive strategies and tactics leading to mutual benefit. Analyzing the pragmatic components in one of the dialogues they come to conclusion that the strategy of softening implemented by the tactic of indirect request may be used to broach a delicate topic. In response the strategy of evasion actualized by the tactic of partial agreement and empathy may be applied. At the same time it has to be stressed that both parties use cooperative strategies oriented on the balance of relationship.
The abovementioned strategies and tactics reflect important tendencies peculiar to modern English business discourse: striving for regulating the pragmatic effect of speech, the choice of adequate degree of speech impact (either strong or mild one), necessity of conforming to social conventions and regulations. Students of Business English have to master these strategies for the sake of positive achievements in their future work.
Keywords: English business discourse, discursive strategies and tactics, cooperation, speech impact, functional pragmatics, discourse analysis.