Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

English as a corporate language for Swedish engineers

13.09.2010
The process of globalisation has led to many Swedish companies being sold to owners in other countries. A licentiate thesis in English from the University of Gothenburg shows that this often forces employees to change their working language from Swedish to English.

’My results confirm previous findings pointing to increased anglicisation in the workplace and that companies tend to take for granted that their employees are proficient in both written and spoken English,’ says the author of the thesis Vivianne Apelman, who is also involved in language education at Chalmers University of Technology.

Apelman has explored how Swedish engineers at one small and ten large companies in western Sweden use English in the workplace, with a focus on written English. Her results are based on a survey completed by 89 participants, ten interviews and an analysis of various types of documents written in English.

’I wanted to find out what types of texts engineers write and then look at what strategies they use to develop a text and what level of proficiency they need. Knowing these things may help improve the way we teach English to engineering students,’ says Apelman.

The results show that more than half of all survey respondents and all interviewees write in English on a daily basis. E-mails were indicated to be the text type that requires the lowest level of English proficiency, whereas instructions and reports were considered to require a very high level of proficiency. Apelman also looked at the role of gender, but found that the writing tasks were linked to position in the organisation and not to gender.

Most interviewees prefer to write for example a report in English rather than in Swedish since they feel that certain words and expressions are easier to identify in English than in Swedish. Apelman concludes that this indicates that Swedish is in a process of losing its usefulness in technical writing. This phenomenon, called a domain loss, has been observed in other areas as well.

Although containing a relatively large number of grammatical errors, the analysed documents seem to be communicatively effective, most likely as a result of the authors’ ability to apply discourse conventions such as expected thematic structures.

‘The great diversity observed in the writing tasks and documents suggests that authentic texts and writing tasks from selected workplaces should be used in teaching in order to prepare students for the diversity awaiting them in their future workplaces,’ says Apelman.

The thesis has been successfully defended.

Title of the thesis: English at Work. The communicative situation of engineers
Author: Vivianne Apelman, tel: +46(0)31 772 27 24 (work), +46 (0)736 76 79 89 (mobile)

E-mail: apelman@chalmers.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se/

Further reports about: English Swedish Swedish companies language education

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>