English in the Work Place. An Analysis of the Communication Needs of Tourism and Banking Personnel

| June 29, 2005
English in the Work Place. An Analysis of the Communication Needs of Tourism and Banking Personnel

Keywords: Business English, Business communication, English for Special Purposes

Mahmoud A. Al-Khatib
Jordan University of Science & Technology

Bio Data
Mahmoud A. Al-Khatib is a professor of English and linguistics in the Department of English for Applied Studies at Jordan University of Science & Technology. He received his B.A degree from Ain Shams University in Cairo in Egypt, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Durham University in England. His major area of specialization is sociolinguistics, but he is also interested in pragmatics, bilingualism, discourse analysis, contrastive linguistics (Arabic-English), and English for specific purposes (ESP). His work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including World Englishes, Text, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, HUMOR: International Journal of humor research, Multilingua, Forum: International Journal of Interpretation and Translation. Together with other colleagues in the department, he also has published two text books on ESP for students of science and technology. He has also edited (as guest editor) two special Arab issues of Language, Culture, and Curriculum (Vol. 13:2, 2000), dedicated to Language and Cultural Issues; and International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (Vol. 8:4&5 due August 2005), dedicated to Aspects of Bilingualism in the Arab World.

This paper is an exploratory study of the use of English by tourism and banking personnel. It attempts to examine the communication needs of the personnel in the workplace by shedding light on their perceptions of needs, wants and lacks. Also it attempts to explore the workers’ attitudes toward English and the use of English in the workplace. The sample consists of thirty senior personnel who are equally distributed by type of work. The data was collected by means of a questionnaire, interviews, and analysis of authentic workplace texts. The results of this study have shown that the workers’ perceptions of their needs, wants and lacks are greatly affected by their attitudes toward English. The findings presented here bear on orientations toward the importance of studying ESP as a means of communication in relation to the group of workers using it and the workplace in which it is used.

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 7 Issue 2