‘Business English’ is the wide-embracing term that is used to describe the type of English that is used by people to do business. ‘English for Business focuses on the English language skills necessary to communicate in an increasingly global business environment.’
The range of different subject areas included under the umbrella term ‘Business English’ is wide. The Oxford Business English Dictionaryincludes the following areas : accounting, commerce, e-commerce, economics, finance, HR, insurance, IT, law, manufacturing, marketing, production, property, the stock exchange, (international) trade, transport. Does this mean that everything which is not considered to be General English is in fact Business English? The answer is no.
There is a wider term for English which is not considered to be general: ESP (English for Specific Purposes). This acronym includes all the different areas of ‘Business English’ and more (English for hotels and catering, English for Science, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), etc).
What is generally associated with a ‘Business English’ course are the skills that most people need to be able to do their jobs well: writing e-mails and reports, making presentations, doing negotiations, using the telephone, attending and participating actively in meetings or telephone conferences, receiving visitors, etc.
The big difference, therefore, is that Business English focuses on the delegate’s job whereas the aim of General English is to improve all the four skills, regardless of the language content.
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