by Tom Kral and Shannon Smith
There has been a lot of talk about Global English in recent years. The British Council has been leading the discussion, funding research and commissioning reports on the topic. In the Business English classroom, however, the British Council has given far less thought to the issue in the material it produces.
In Sri Lanka, the British Council’s Professional Training Centre offers popular training courses in writing emails, letters and reports. But the material is dogmatically prescriptive about the rules of writing, giving no consideration to local cultural expectations. For example, the Effective Writing Skills course gives learners the following rule: “When the greeting is Dear Sir or Madam the closing must be Yours faithfully. These are only used if the writer does not know the reader.” The problem is that in Sri Lanka, the hierarchical system demands that bosses and anyone more senior than ...