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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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2 Native Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Learning

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2.1 Terminology and Definitions

In order to be able to create effective means to foster language problem-solving activities in international business settings, it is crucial to understand the underlying mechanisms. Since problem-solving and language learning are closely intertwined, the author considers it beneficial to dive into the peculiarities of language learning in a first step and to elaborate on the factors that are most relevant for adult foreign language learning. Using a prominent model of problem-solving, the author will then create a model of foreign language problem-solving, depicting the function of each of the factors and how they relate to one another. Since this study focuses on adults with a native language other than English and working knowledge of English acquired as their non-native language, German native-level speakers learning English as adults are going to be examined. In order to agree on predefined terms also used in corresponding linguistic literature, the following paragraph outlines the most significant recurring terms in this study.

A comprehensive outline of the terms “native language”, “second language acquisition” and “foreign language learning” is provided by Gass and Selinker (2008). In this context, the native language usually referred to as L1 or NL, also known as first language or mother tongue, is the first language learned by human beings whereas second language acquisition refers to the general process of learning an additional language after the native language has been acquired. This term is also used for learning a third, fourth,...

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