Event review of HELTA workshop with Evan Frendo

Written by Vincent Wongaiham-Petersen

As is usually the case when we’ve had a speaker coming in from afar the past few months, we’ve greeted them with typical Hamburg rain. Probably by design if you ask us. Then it does give a stark and very memorable contrast to the radiantly cheerful greetings and exceptionally warm applause we give them. 

And so it was when Evan Frendo came to fill us in on what BELF (Business English as a Lingua Franca) research has done for us.

This follows up on his talk in 2016 at the Besig Munich conference when he delved into where we were with BELF. 

And typically Evan, we had back-to-back sessions chock-full of what’s new in BELF.

He started off by going through what we have to be mindful of when teaching ESP (English for Special Purposes) with examples from the maritime industry. Then he segued naturally into what ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) is, what its elements are, and its three phases since the 90s.

Then on to BELF, its competencies, and how BELF communication is intrinsically intercultural. Another intriguing detail was how BELF has evolved into English as a Business Lingua Franca and what that entails.

He gave us wonderful authentic examples of emails and text messages that mash up formal and informal expressions, personal and business content, standard and non-standard expressions – all just the normal day-to-day of the reality of doing business in English.

He then showed us some recent studies on BELF and an internet page where a group of BELF-enthusiasts and authors of papers regularly hold conversations on BELF: https://communicationlights.de/conversations-about-belf/

This was the perfect time to have a lively exchange with Evan and other colleagues on our personal experiences and where we see BELF headed.

All in all an exemplary contrast to the dreary gray outside. Needless to say, we ended the day with warm applause and a headful of things to reflect on.

If this is now how things are going to be every time we have speakers coming from afar, then let the gentle, misty, light, soft, steady, clammy, heavy, pouring, or pounding rain come. We’re ready to provide the contrast!

You can contact HELTA on the contact page.