Update 2016-12-30: Updated ESLPod links to Lizhi.fm. See ESL Pod Links Broken for more info.
Update 2016-11-18: Fixed Culips #1 link. Added Culips #164.
Update 2015-12-11: Added Business English Pod 134.
Whether we call it a coffee shop, coffee house or café, a place where we can buy and drink some coffee is a part of many people's everyday lives, be it just for the coffee, or somewhere to hang out with friends, go on a date or even take your laptop and do some work.
More info on coffee shops / coffee houses / cafés:
Here are some podcasts on coffee and coffee shops.
Update 2017-02-16: Added ESL Podcasts #360, 508, 660, 668, 688 & 752, with vocab links.
2017-01-05: Updated ESLPod links to Lizhi.fm. Added ESL Podcast 282, 320, 392, 412, 524. Added more vocab links. 2016-07-03: Added ESLPod 25, 328, 716, 820. Updated a few vocab links. 2013-09-24: Added "ESL Podcast 139 - Job Layoffs". Added more descriptions for other podcasts. Fixed link For "English at Work" Introduction.
We have a couple of classes on Workplace Problems, mostly about people problems and difficult people at work: bad bosses, bullies, gossip, demanding bosses, harassment, losing your job in a bad economy etc.
Here are some useful ESL podcasts you can listen to about these kinds of problems in office life: conversations, stories and advice.
I've added the audio series "English at Work" (from BBC Learning English) to the Business English > "Business Audio" section of ESL Links.
It's a story of people working in an SME (small or medium-sized enterprise) and they talk about a lot of typical business problems and use typical business English vocabulary.
It deals with topics like getting customers, disagreements between coworkers, pleasing the boss, business ethics, competing for promotion, holding meetings, making phone calls, and idioms often used in business.
Each episode is quite short (usually just a couple of minutes). And you can download the MP3 files (so that you can listen to them on your phone or media player) and PDF files with the script of the episode, so that you can also read what they say.
I've also linked to the version for China, which gives extra commentary, vocabulary & explanation in Chinese.
I feel it's a great way to get some practice listening to business English in a way that's interesting and funny (because it's series of stories with actors, not just someone reading business news). It also provides some insight into British business culture.
The BBC is doing a series of articles on doing business in China & how culture affects such business, and today has an article by a key director of car company Jaguar Land Rover, giving his thoughts on the differences in ways of doing business: negotiating, meetings, decision-making etc.
I recently saw a short article with advice for foreigners on doing business in China. It's on Bloomberg Businessweek, and was written by Juan Antonio Fernández, a professor at CEIBS, a highly ranked b-school in Shanghai.
Below I'll give the link to the article, and some notes on the words & ideas in the article.
Most of these tips are short and simple, so the sentences start with imperative forms, e.g "Get...", "Know...", "Use...", "choose". Meaning: "You should get...", "You should know...", "You should use...", "you should choose...".
Other vocabulary & ideas:
Communication difficulties between English-speakers & Chinese-speakers is about more than just language...
Recently I was reading an interview with an American linguist who has written a book about her time living in Beijing and studying Mandarin Chinese.
culture affects what words we use and what things we choose to talk about.
From the point of view of a Westerner: "How can you suddenly leave off the 'please's when you have lived a life where 'please' and 'thank you' are drummed into you from the get-go? Or how can you not be taken aback when asked about your earnings, your rent, your age, or asked which of your children you like best?"
Westerners meeting someone for the first time (or even the second or third time) would never ask such questions. And as children, English-speakers are taught to always make requests with 'softeners' like "please" or "could you...?" And to say "thank you" when receiving something. A native English-speaker might feel a person is being rude to them if these 'softeners' are not used.
And from the point of view of a Chinese person: "One Chinese woman told me an involved story about her childhood experience with a western missionary couple. The couple took her and some school friends on a picnic, [during which] the husband asked his wife to “please” pass the water. The schoolgirls were shocked – horrified – that this husband would ask his wife for something in such a formal way."
So remember: when communicating with people from another country, consider their language AND their culture to avoid unwanted offence or confusion.
2013-10-31: Updated to replace broken links to Bing online dictionary.
Deference or Confidence... or both?
When researching for a class about the career ladder, I found an interesting blog post by Susan Adams on Forbes (a major US business magazine) about Asian-Americans in business titled: New York magazine titled:
These articles reminded me of another article I saw recently:
Children raised according to the principles of East Asian cultures (like China, Korea, Japan etc) will do very well in school grades and exams but they are at a disadvantage in the business world and later life in America (it might not be a problem if living in Asia), compared to those children raised according to the principles of American culture.
He says that East Asian cultures value things like extensive academic learning and deference, while American culture values things like confidence, independence and socialization (Socialization is the process by which people, especially children, learn to how behave with others and become social and able to interact and socialize well with others).
Why does that affect becoming a business leader in the US? Because in business you have to be able to network and sell yourself. Sometimes Asian-Americans are not as comfortable with that as non-Asian-Americans; sometimes non-Asian-Americans simply assume that Asian-Americans are not confident or independent or comfortable socializing. And so Asian-Americans, for whatever reason, miss out on opportunities to rise up the corporate ladder in America.
Yang "cites one study showing that while Asian-Americans comprise about 5% of the U.S. population, they make up only 0.3% of corporate officers, fewer than 1% of board members and 2% of college presidents. There are just nine CEOs of Asian descent among the top 500 publicly traded companies."
What do you think?
Or all these ideas simply wrong?
Your comments appreciated.
I know that at least one of my students is in the alcoholic drinks import business, distributing foreign wines & liquors in China.
British newspaper the Daily Telegraph has an article describing UK-based drinks conglomerate Diageo's efforts to crack the Chinese market.
The article author refers to the homegrown drink as "a fiery grain spirit called baijiu (which literally translates 'white spirit’ and to a foreigner can taste pretty much the same)".
The last part is a joke: in English, white spirit is a form of strong alcohol used in painting, not for drinking. The author means that for some foreigners, baijiu can be too strong.
Yesterday I gave a class called "What is Attraction?", discussing what physical & personality traits people in different cultures find attractive.
Today I found a photo-article about this exact idea, on the website of Newsweek, a major international news magazine:
Botox injections to leg-lengthening surgery.
G.A.L.E.S.L. / joe3
Some tips and links on learning English.