Episode 1: Why language matters I: setting the scene

In this first episode, we discuss how language matters for professional success and show how communication, far from just passing on information, is used for many different functions in organisations. Our guest is Michael Handford, who has taught communication skills and trained professionals in a variety of industries, and  developed training materials for professionals. We talk about communication textbooks and how working with large collections of real texts can improve them. The episode also features a short analysis of a text in which a management company seeks residence to comply with safety regulations.

In the third part of the episode we briefly analyse a text that Veronika came across in the private housing estate where she lives. Written by members of the management company to communicate with residents, the original whiteboard looked like this:

We encourage listeners to share with us the signs and notices they come across. We are very interested in how language is used for a variety of functions, for example to persuade, command or threaten the public.

Listen to the episode here

Full transcription of the episode

References and Further Reading

Cambridge and Nottingham Spoken Business English Corpus (CANBEC). https://www.cambridge.org/elt/corpus/corpora_canbec.htm

Kehoe, A. and Gee, M. (2016) The most profitable words on Ebay.

Handford, M.et al. 2019. Which “culture”? A critical analysis of intercultural communication in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education 108(2), pp. 161-177. (10.1002/jee.20254)

Handford, M. 2015. Corpus analysis. In: Hua, Z. ed. Research Methods in Intercultural Communication: A Practical Guide.. Wiley, pp. 311-326., (10.1002/9781119166283.ch21)

Handford, M. and Matous, P. 2015. Problem-solving discourse on an international construction site: Patterns and practices. English for Specific Purposes 38, pp. 85-98. (10.1016/j.esp.2014.12.002)

Handford, M. 2014. Context in spoken professional discourse: language and practice in an international business meeting. In: Flowerdew, J. ed. Discourse in Context. London: Continuum, pp. 113-132.

van der Zanden, T., Schouten, A., Mos, M., & Krahmer, E. (2019). Impression formation on online dating: The effects of language errors in profile texts on perceptions of profile owners. Paper presented at the conference Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, Nijmegen/The Netherlands, 7-8 February.


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