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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


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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Mr. Zielonka submits a dissertation in the area of business education, with which he occupies a niche within the sparsely researched area of work education (Schelten). He focuses on written-language competence of employees in Business English during their work on commercial matters and examines the acquisition and use of the lingua franca of our global economy and the corresponding problems for individuals and enterprises. Mr. Zielonka models the prototypical formation of competence which leads him to a differentiated model of foreign language learning, as it has not existed so far. With his model, he reaches a level of performance that represents scientific progress exceeding the area of Business English. One aspect of his model highlights the fact that people learning (Business) English as a foreign language are subject to the phenomenon of fossilization. As opposed to native speakers, foreign language learners are almost always unable to attain the level of language mastery at which there are no observable deviations from the norm. In this respect, it is not only a matter of ideosynchrasies but also a matter of objective deviations from the standard language. This cannot possibly be desirable by companies in internal nor in external correspondence. This applies particularly in those cases, in which deviations leave room for (misleading) interpretation.

The didactic focus of this dissertation, that has been elaborated for the first time in context, is followed by a methodical one. The question of how individual performance at a high-level written-language level (in Business...

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