terça-feira, 31 de agosto de 2010

What is Business English? Is it different from everyday English?

Dear Flabbergasting English followers,

I have been thinking about a topic for our next post. Nevertheless, I had run out of ideas and my friend Japa came up with this interesting topic: BUSINESS ENGLISH. What is it? What is it for? Should I use it? Is it mainstream English? Do people in general use it? Is the "correct" English? Those questions will help us develop this topic.

Firstly, I would very much like to introduce you, students and teachers, to a world where nothing is "correct" or "incorrect". Everything is judged by its appropriateness. There is no one correct variety of English, Portuguese, Spanish or any other languages. There are APPROPRIATE and INAPPROPRIATE terms, expressions, and idioms. That is, you should always recognize the context in which you are using language, and judge for yourself which words and expressions would best communicate your thoughts.

What is Business English? Here are some definitions:
  • Business English is English especially related to international trade. It is a part of English for Specific Purposes and can be considered a specialism within English language;
  • Language for business situations;
  • English in business usage, especially the styles and forms of business correspondence;
  • Useful language for getting a job;
  • Business English is a form of international English
Secondly, the last definition states that it is "international English". Thus, pronunciation would not be taken into consideration, as long as the communication is not affected. The point I am trying to make is that Chinese people, Brazilian people and others have different accents and ways of pronouncing words. If English is the lengua franca*, it does not make any sense to consider mispronunciation of a word.

lengua franca = The language taken as the international business language: English

People in companies use Business English, which tends to be more formal and grammatically correct because it would help people who speak English as a second language communicate to one another. The more slang terms one uses the harder the communication gets. 

1. "Yo, what it do homeboy? How's biz goin'?" = "Hi, how have you been? How is your business going?"
2. "Dude, that company where ya be workin' broke." = Believe it or not, the company where you worked has gone bankrupted. 

Those two examples help us see what APPROPRIATE and INAPPROPRIATE really is. The sentences in blue would be perfectly used in a loosen context while you are talking with you friends. However, they would be considered sloppy and inappropriate in a company.

It does not mean that in Business English there are not idioms. As a matter of fact, there are so many that sometimes, if you are not aware of what is going on, you might not understand them.

1. "John, you must solve this pending issue right off the bat." The idiom "right off the bat" means "immediately".

2. "I would like you to think about it in my shoes" The idiom "think about it in my shoes" means "put yourself in my situation"

3. "It seems to me that we have recovered from those losses, our account is in the black." The idiom "account is in the black" means "it has a positive extract"

Well, I hope it has help y'all understand what Business English is all about. See y'all on the next topic

Lil' Dawg
ESL Teacher 

sábado, 28 de agosto de 2010

Neither/ Nor and Either/ Or

What is good Flabbergasting English followers. I would very much like to thank y'all for the visits and comments. It has motivated me to sit down and write something for y'all.

The topic for today's grammar focus model is NEITHER/NOR and EITHER/OR. This is not a very difficult topic and as long as you, students of English, put it into practice, there will be plights anymore.

NEITHER/NOR - Both of the words have a negative meaning, the reason why we'll be studying them together.

Usually, they are used in order to agree with someone who had just said a negative sentence. Plus, it shows that you do as the person says. Check out the examples:

Example 1
John: I don't like eating onions.
Frank: Neither do I. And I don't like peppers either.
John: Neither do I.(Eu tb naum!)

So let's break it down. On the first sentence, John has assumed that he did not like eating onions. Frank, on the second agrees with John and affirms that he doesn't like eating onions, by saying "neither do I". Then, John continues, by saying that he does not like peppers either. The word "either" is used because in the sentence has already a negative word "don't". That is, it would be grammatically incorrect if you said "I don't like peppers neither" because there would be two negative terms on the same clause which makes it an error.

Example 2
Marcus: What do you like to eat at night: hot dog or pizza?
George: Neither(Nada disso/ nenhum desses), I like eating fruits at night.

In this case, the word "neither" is used to deny both of the cited things: hot dog and pizza.

Also, "neither" and "nor" can work together: See example 2 above. I could say that Marcus likes to eat "neither hot dog nor pizza" at night

EITHER/OR - Both of the words have neutral meaning, the reason why we'll be studying them together.

Usually, "either" is used to deny something as well as "neither". However, it is only used when the sentence has a negative term already.

Example 3
Van - Usually, I don't eat out.
Rod - I don't eat out either.(tambem)

So, as you can see in the example 3, Rod does not eat out as well as Van.

Example 4
Robert - Which pen do you prefer: the blue or the black?
Leo - Either! (Tanto faz!)

In this case "either" works as a neutral part. It means that Leo does not have a favorite pen.

Example 5
Robert - Okay, I have a ball and a baseball bat. You can choose either the ball or the bat
Leo - Alright, let me get the ball.

See example 5. Also, "either" and "or" can work together. It means you can't take both as favorites or choose both of them.

Summary 1
(I don't eat onions.) neither do I = Eu tb nao
(I can't swim.) neither can I = Eu tb nao
(I won't dance with her) neither will I = Eu tb nao
(I haven't been to school lately.) neither have I = Eu tb nao
(I shouldn't have taken that medicine.) neither should I = Eu tb nao

*It depends on which auxiliary verb has been used. For you to make it easier, all the example on the summary could be swapped for "Me neither."

Well, I hope you enjoy this post and I bet it is an interesting topic. Check your grammar notes and don't stop practicing. See you on the next post.

Summary 2
Neither...nor... = Nem um nem outro! (I neither eat pizza nor hot dog at night!)
Either...or...= Um ou outro! (Either I eat fruit or drink juice at night!)

Lil' Dawg
ESL Teacher

Ebonics Translators Needed - Practice now and get the job!

Wot y'all up 2? Damn it! I been lookin' fo' dat jawb fo' a long tahme. Whatcha think we shoo b doin' 'bout dat shit? Wot I can letcha kno' bah now is dat I applied fo' it. I ain't no snitch but I'mma keep on stackin' da dough, ya knowmsayin? I finna jet cuz ya kno' I gotta flip a bird 2nite so I finna git da slab ready, nahImean? Damn peep dis shit out nigga, a car fulla white girls to be taken to dat 'hood where ya smoked dat fuckin' punk. Whattama tell ya is dat ain't nobody gon' put da hands on mah shit, ya heard? I'mma bus da goddamn cap on dey ass if dey fuckin' move aaight. Lemme head out cuz five-oh 'bout to show up!

Oh, befo' I git mah ass up outta hea I just wanted 2 letchy'all kno' dat nuttin' make me happier dan be chillin' 'round wit mah gal. Van, mah baybay, I luv ya fo' real, ya dig. Ain't nobody gon' take ya away from me cuz we belong 2gether, ya feel me?

Holla atcha homies l8er on wen. bah da way, y'all gotta check mah new music out. Damn sho' it gon' be one mo' hit. It be called "U Bettah Be Prepared".

This is basically how Ebonics is used by gangsters. I didn't mean to make any sense above. Check how grammatical features are presented in the chart below.



SE Meaning / Notes

He workin'.

Simple progressive

He is working [right now].

He be workin'.

Habitual/continuative aspect

He works frequently or habitually. Better illustrated with "He be workin' Tuesdays all month."

He be steady workin'.

Intensified continuative

He is working steadily.

He been workin'.

Perfect progressive

He has been working.

He been had that job.

Remote phase

He has had that job for a long time and still has it.

He done worked.

Emphasized perfective

He has worked. Syntactically, "He worked" is valid, but "done" is used to emphasize the completed nature of the action.

He finna or He's fittin' to go to work.

Immediate future

He's about to go to work. Finna is a contraction of "fixin' to"; though is also believed to show residual influence of late 16th century archaism "would fain (to)", that persisted until later in some rural dialects spoken in the Carolinas

I was walkin' home, and I had worked all day.

Preterite narration.

"Had" is used to begin a preterite narration. Usually it occurs in the first clause of the narration, and nowhere else.

Lil' Dawg
ESL Teacher

terça-feira, 24 de agosto de 2010

The Real Texas Accent

Howdy y'all? Jeet yet? Nah. Yant to?

Most people think that Texans have much of an accent and criticize them because of that. Firstly, you all have to understand that every other state has an accent as well. If you were born and raised in New York City, you can tell from which borough the person is from: Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, or Staten Island. People tend to exaggerate when they are talking about Texans' accent and this is due to TV commercials, movies, Chuck Norris and George W. Bush.

The point I am trying to make is that apparently Texans have been stereotyped by the media. When it comes to Texans, movies show a number of racist and ignorant cowboys usually addressed to as Rednecks. Yet, this is not the high majority of the Texans. Stop looking down on people who act, speak, or dress differently. Stereotyping has been the ignition of racism and prejudice in general.

Well, I found this video on youtube.com and thought it is perfect to illustrate what I mean. Check it out and comment on this topic

Lil' Dawg
ESL Teacher

segunda-feira, 23 de agosto de 2010


Before you get at her, usually something takes place like an email, a letter, a note or a phone call. Girls, now you can experience the making of the texts we send to you.

Lil' Dawg
ESL Teacher

Say NO to prejudice!


How is it going with y'all? I hope everybody is doing okay. It's been a long time I have not posted here due to my lack of spare time. However, I am back with this topic about prejudice, bias, racism and discrimination against.

I have been through some situations that made me rethink about what has gone down throughout the world in terms of discrimination. As a black man, even though black slavery has been "extinguished" from the world, some people still practice racial slur in much of it, I feel deeply sorry for those who discriminate against blacks and other ethnicities. As a matter of fact, I feel pity for them.

Here in Brazil, prejudice is hidden. Brazil is a melting pot of colors, races, ethnicities, customs, dances, rhythms, and cultures. Nevertheless, being black in Brazil is as tough as being black in any part of the world. People look down on us, police officers think we are all thugs, we are usually stopped or pulled over by them for a pat-down search and usually there are a very few black men who are company directors, judges, teachers, professors. These positions are usually occupied by the white Brazilian people who, in the USA, are considered to be Latino or "spic", the racist and derrogatory term used to insult Hispanics. Can you see it is people discriminating against other people that discriminate other people over and over? Say NO to racism. What makes you better than Caucasians? What makes you better than Latinos? What makes you better than Africans? What makes you better than Afghanis? What makes you better than Asians? Nothing makes you better than anybody. You are just different.

The point I'm trying to get across with is that racism is for those who have not realized that life has the same end for everybody: death! It does not matter what color, sexual orientation, political affiliation or anything else. Try to live friendly!

Racism needs to stop!

Lil' Dawg
ESL Teacher