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Title: Negotiating the challenges of using English in business communication : listening narratives of Japanese BELF users
Author: Takino, Miyuki
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 1839
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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The unprecedented spread of the use of English in business worldwide has been accompanied by an increasing number of studies looking at the use of English as a Business Lingua Franca (BELF) (Louhiala-Salminen & Kankaanranta, 2011) among non-native English speakers, mostly in Europe but also in Asia. Research thus far has focused mainly on analysis of texts and discourses produced by BELF users, whereas in-depth research investigating users’ sense making of their use of English has been limited. In order to fill this gap, this thesis places BELF users at the centre of the research by listening to their narratives, to explore their subjective views on their experiences of language use in global business contexts. The focus of the study is on Japanese business people who had relatively low exposure to English before they started using English at work, with the aim of illustrating the ways in which they perceive and make sense of their experiences as BELF users. The participants are 34 business people who were born and educated exclusively in Japan, and have accumulated a range of experiences using English in a global business context. Thematic analysis of their narratives reveals that participants share certain challenges such as attending and contributing in multinational meetings, dealing with lower productivity and avoiding mistakes in various communicative situations. Common approaches among the participants to negotiate such challenges include continuously developing the English skills needed to perform their business goals, as well as other means such as gaining power in communication through developing the quality of information and utilising stronger economic relations. Their stories also highlight that their use of English is characterised by the coexistence of English and Japanese, owing to the ‘monolinguistic’ nature of Japanese business communication. Finally, it is revealed that they change their perception towards using English as they progress through their career. Their perceptions are influenced by various factors such as their career paths, the organisations they belong to, and the interlocutors they have dealt with. To conclude, this thesis provides insight into the emic view of non-native English users when they are trying to achieve their professional goals in business contexts. By offering an alternative angle to existing BELF studies, the thesis contributes towards a more holistic and multi-dimensional understanding of this increasingly complex phenomenon.
Supervisor: Jenkins, Jennifer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PE English ; HF Commerce