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Production English

Last night I heard of production English for the first time and am quite fascinated with it.

New country, new language

When many people arrive in Australia, they learn English to be able to communicate with other people who live here. English classes teach them things like ‘hello, how are you?’, ‘can I please buy…?’ and ‘where is the library?’

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I assume the same thing happens for most people who move to a country with a language different to their own.

welcome into a pit - an unexpected sign

How would you interpret this situation if you couldn’t read much English? Safety can be jeopardised if people can’t read or understand notices.

What about less generic language?

The challenge really starts when people need more specific language – the words and phrases you don’t get in beginner classes.

For instance, trying to follow a procedure or read instructions on machinery can be quite difficult if you only have basic English.

Especially once you consider grammar and similar words (that is, homonyms and other potentially confusing words that I define in Monday Meanings) can make it even harder to understand – just like pilots can have trouble if English is not their native tongue.

The story I heard last night was about a group of people who work well at their jobs but are sometimes limited or put at risk by the fact that they don’t have ‘production English’ to help them at work.

Obviously, ensuring that procedures and instructions are written as simply and clearly as possible is one aspect – and still a very important task.

Yet it is also critical to help such people learn relevant words in English. And there are programs in Melbourne now that are working on solving this issue, at least for some groups of immigrants.

Does your business have procedures or instructions that would be challenging for someone with only basic English?


* Image courtesy of 123RF

2 Responses to Production English

  • Benjamin says:

    English is now a becoming a language required by everyone to understand and here in my native country, the Philippines, people from all walks of life can understand, and communicate with, the English language (although proficiency level varies). This is because it would be very difficult to work anywhere without a fundamental understanding of English since most company technology and manuals are all written in English. It is also observed that people who have mastered the English language live a better life and become successful in various fields of work. It is now becoming a second language everywhere and even mainstream media are paving the way for English to be the medium of choice in written and oral communication. However, just like the author mentioned, Production English is not the focus of learning in most cases because a non-English person only learn conversational english. And I also agree that educational institutions should go the extra mile in teaching Production English which is essential in understanding more work-related terminologies.

  • sonu says:

    As we all know that English is an international language. I from Pakistan and our national language is Urdu but our office language is English. Our educational courses are in English. lmportance of English language is increasing day by day and from my point of view its quite good. If you need a visa for countries like UK, USA and Australia, the first requirement is familiar with English language. Every person should have a good command on English language for studies and career both.

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