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Writing Business Emails in English as a Lingua Franca - how informal can you be?: An analysis of formality in BELF emails
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

As a result of globalisation, the number of companies working globally is increasing at an unprecedented pace. Consequently, the need to communicate with people from other countries is getting bigger. In such intercultural communication, a common language must be used to interact. The language of choice is most often English, which is the business lingua franca (BELF) today. Furthermore, email has become the obvious choice of medium when interacting with foreign business associates. The present study was conducted through intensive and extensive analyses, investigating BELF emails written by 21 individuals with 14 different native languages. The data consists of 209 emails. The study follows Bjørge’s (2007) work on formality in emails written in academic settings. The aim of the study was to determine how formal the participants were in greetings and closings and whether they accommodated their language to the respondent. The results suggest that the level of formality mainly depends on the purpose of the email and, to some extent, how formal the correspondent is. The accommodation to the correspondent seems to be individual. The present study wishes to extend knowledge on email communication in BELF settings. The results are likely to be relevant for teachers and students of Business Communication and English as a Second or Foreign Language along with managers in internationally functioning companies, especially as regards what should be considered in BELF communication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 27 p.
Keyword [en]
Business English as a Lingua Franca (BELF), formality, business email communication, greetings, closings
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-118100OAI: diva2:820243
Available from: 2015-06-16 Created: 2015-06-11 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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