Business English: Critical Tool for Workplace Advancement

Speakers of the ten official South African languages other than English compete at a disadvantage in the workplace because English remains South Africa’s language of power. Learning business English levels the playing field for South African workers who want to advance up the corporate ladder to supervisor and management positions. Neither as complicated nor as simple as old-fashioned British schoolboy English, business English emphasizes simple, direct communication. Business English stresses getting directly to the point and making the point forcefully. It is the language of training manuals, instructions, work lists, and messages; not the language of contracts and legal documents. Business English focuses on clear communication of who does what, how and why. Moreover, developing their command of business English, determined South Africans can rise above their histories of disadvantage to important and powerful positions in their companies.