Business English as a Lingua Franca - BELF in the Swedish Pharmaceutical Sector : A study of the needs of the Business English speakers when used as a Lingua Franca.
Abstract: Abstract Multinational corporations operating in Sweden often use English as their official corporate language. The employees are expected to communicate using English both internally and with external business contacts. English used for communication between people with different mother tongues is commonly referred to as ELF, English as a Lingua Franca, and when used in business contexts it is referred to as BELF, Business English as a Lingua Franca. This study was conducted to explore how BELF is used in the pharmaceutical sector in Sweden and what elements of BELF are challenging or necessary for successful communication. In the study five informants were interviewed about their experiences. The study showed that the informants use BELF for all types of communication and are comfortable with English as a lingua franca yet often switch over to Swedish if there are only Swedish speakers present. It was also found that clear, somewhat simplified English with focus on content and getting business done was preferred over grammatically correct and native sounding English. The respondents viewed an industry specific vocabulary as highly important bordering to a pre-requisite. The findings of this study support previous research in the field indicating that there is little difference when it comes to BELF for the pharmaceutical industry compared to other industries.
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