Academic writing, Business English

Steve K   Monday, September 27, 2004, 14:12 GMT
There are courses taught on these subjects. In my view, there is just English. Most people who study these special English disciplines still cannot make clear and natural sentences. They would be better off concentrating on English, period. Once they are in control of their English, picking up the conventions of how to organize a term paper or business report is relatively easy.

The basic need to read and listen, to work on words and phrases, and to write and speak, remains. It is easy enough to find content that is relevant to a particular area of interest, whether academic or business.

It seems that these specialty courses are popular becaues the learners think there are shortcuts to competence in the language. The teachers like these special subjects because it gives them another product to sell. Any comments?
Mxsmanic   Monday, September 27, 2004, 18:20 GMT
There are shortcuts as long as a student doesn't want full fluency in all situations. It's possible to teach a student well enough that he can communicate in certain specific environments even though he may not be able to get by in any other situations. It's essentially English for Lazy People, but I suppose it wouldn't sell as well if it were called that. Most instructors and schools market it as though it were some sort of specialized but equal English tailored to business, but in fact it's an incomplete form of English that just barely works in the situations for which it is intended and doesn't work at all in any other situations. For students who only need English in those specific situations, though, it gets the job done. There's a limit to how much you can cut out, anyway, no matter how much you constrain the situations in which the language will be used (it's hard to skip past and future tenses, for example).
Jim   Wednesday, September 29, 2004, 02:10 GMT
I'm sure that there'd be some market for a course called "English For Lazy People". But Mxsmanic's right: "Academic Writing" and "Business English" sell better. Calling a spade a spade is all well and good but if it's more profitable to market it as a shovel you'll soon be out of business.