If native speakers of English are not to become international
corporate pariahs, they will need to learn how to speak global English – in other words, to communicate with non-native speakers.
at the complexity
of native speakers' English is widespread
in international business. During a study carried out at Kone Elevators of Finland, one Finnish manager blurted
out: “The British are the worst . . . It is much more difficult to understand their English than that of other nationalities
. When we non-native speakers of English talk, it is much easier to understand. We have the same limited vocabulary.”
How can native speakers of English make themselves more comprehensible
and more likeable
? The most obvious way is to learn someone else's language. The great benefit of learning other languages is that you have some idea of what non-native speakers are up against. However, news this week that fewer than half of English schoolchildren are learning a foreign language suggests that this is not going to be a profitable
route for many.
So what should native English-speakers do to make themselves better understood? First, slow down, but not to the point where members of your audience think you are patronising
them. Second, avoid idiomatic
expressions: that's the way the cookie crumbles
, people in glass houses, and the like.
那么英语母语人士应该怎样做，使自己能够更好地被别人所理解呢？首先，放慢语速，但是不要慢到使你的听众觉得你是在迁就他们。第二，避免使用成语和比喻的表达方式：例如“饼干就是那么碎的”（that's the way the cookie crumbles，意指无可避免）、“玻璃屋中人”（people in glass houses，意指自身有问题和身处险境的人）等表达方式。
Jokes are a difficult area. You will not forget the silence that follows one that is found baffling
. On the other hand, when jokes work, they can be a huge success with a non-native speaking audience. If you have learnt other languages, you will know that very few achievements are as satisfying as understanding your first foreign joke. Try a few out with your non-native speaking audience; you will soon learn which ones are worth repeating.
It is often unnecessary to avoid longer words such as “association” and “nationality”, which are common to the Romance languages and will be widely understood in Europe and Latin America.
通常没有必要去避免较长的单词，例如“association”（协会、联合） 和 “nationality”（国家、民族），这些词在拉丁语系中很常见，在欧洲和拉丁美洲都能被广泛理解。
Listen to verbal responses for signs of whether you have been understood or not. Make sure your non-native speaking colleagues have the chance to talk; they will often be paraphrasing your words in an attempt to satisfy themselves that they have grasped what you said.
Always remember that the greatest friend of the non-native speaker is repetition
. Find more than one way of getting your point across and summarise