Communication strategies in BELF: From users’ perception, corpus and textbook analysis to pedagogical implications


English as Business Lingua Franca (BELF) has become an important domain of study within ELF research, where strategic competence, in addition to business know-how and multicultural awareness (Louhiala-Salminen, Kankaanranta 2011), is extremely important due to the high-stakes nature of many business interactions. Meaning negotiation through Communication Strategies (CSs) has been shown to contribute to clarity and accuracy as well as to preventing and solving comprehension problems in both oral (Franceschi 2019) and digital (Brunner, Diemer 2019; Caleffi 2019; Ren 2018) interactions. BELF users’ own perceptions confirm the importance of an effective use of strategies in addition to knowledge of relevant business practices and of specialized register Franceschi forthcoming). However, their importance is not reflected in Business English coursebooks, where attention to CSs and their functions is scarce both in terms of raising awareness of the relevance of these strategies and of practicing their use in BELF communication (Franceschi 2018; Vettorel 2019). This paper combines reflection on the state-of-the-art of communication strategies in BELF, their presence – or lack thereof – in current teaching materials and the actions that may be undertaken in order to integrate CSs in Business English training. Exemplifications on how to foster reflection and implement guided and freer activities involving the use of common communication strategies, including clarification, multilingualism and paraphrasing/interpretative summary, are also provided.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v38p219


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