Thursday, October 25, 2012

Native English Is Not the Same as Intelligible Globetrotter English

Browsing through the readers' comments to this The Economist article on English skills across countries I could observe, once again, an interesting phenomenon: that many native English speakers don't realize, from their point of view, that international (globetrotter) English is a language variation in itself, spontaneously developing and adapting according to practical rules of intelligibility. Somebody that speaks Texan or Scottish English, for example, may be well understood in Amarillo or Kirkcaldy, but may also have a significant handicap as a globetrotter English speaker.

Business schools in the US and the UK have not yet, at least to my knowledge, considered international English intelligibility to be a skill that needs to be mastered. In advanced non-English speaking countries, on the other hand, the schools are somewhat aware of the problem, and have been tweaking their globetrotter English training programs accordingly.

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