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Data-Driven Problem-Solving in International Business Communication

Examining the Use of Bilingual Web-Based Tools for Text Production with Advanced English as a Foreign Language Professionals

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Alexander Zielonka

This study challenges the traditional approach of focusing on English as a foreign language learning in international business settings. The primary objective in such settings is to successfully create a linguistically correct document. Rather than relying on accumulated incomplete individual language knowledge, an alternative approach is to «solve a written language problem» by employing online tools to search for certain unknown technical terms. The author of this study advocates that the use of bilingual text search engines as a more viable problem-solving tool than traditional online dictionaries. Therefore, he examines how well participants are able to select correct verb-object expression using either an online dictionary or a bilingual text search engine.

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1 Object of Research

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1.1 Introduction

Communication is “…the process of people sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings with each other in commonly understandable ways” (Hamilton, 2007, p. 3) and takes place via a channel such as oral messages, telephone, email and the like (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 1999). The function of language in this vein is to “…provide verbal expression for thought and feeling and for that expression to be comprehensible to others” (Finegan, 2012, p. 5). Thus, communication is the heart of human interaction. Any activity in life involves some form of communication, whether it be between two or more persons or within oneself. Even trying not to communicate reveals something about a given individual and thus Watzlawick’s (1967) quote “one cannot not communicate” (p. 51) is certainly true. In verbal communication, language is used as a means to express thoughts and feelings. The most sophisticated form is the human language as humans are endowed with the ability to reason and abstract thinking. This enables humans to create any arbitrary amount of concepts and categories and attribute words to them. As humans learn and become more educated during their lifetime, their concepts and thus their view on reality becomes more differentiated and they are capable of perceiving reality in a finer way. For example, someone who holds only very basic knowledge of plants looks into a forest and only sees an accumulation of bushes and trees, being able to barely tell them apart. On the contrary, a botanist throwing...

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