3 recommended websites for learning English

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People ask me for advice on where to go to improve their language skills. I understand that there are a lot of websites out there. Here are 3 websites I always recommend:

1. British Council

http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/

This site covers a lot of ground, from vocabulary to business English. Spend some time here.

2. BBC Learning English

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish

This site has good videos and articles on current affairs. Great place to improve your grammar and vocabulary.

3. About Education

http://grammar.about.com/

This site is by Richard Nordquist, an American professor. He does an excellent job explaining language points. One of my favorite sites!

Indianisms: We are like that only!

Indianisms is one of my favourite topics. It comprises of expressions that are specific to the country. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with them. However, if one is communicating with people from other countries, it would be a good idea to not use them. After all, the purpose of communication is to be understood by the other person.

Here are some Indianisms which you should be aware of:

1.Do the needful

This is a classic Indianism. Try to re-phrase it. Perhaps: Please take care of it.

2. Kindly

Another classic. Instead of kindly note… go for: please note

3. Concerned department

Ah, if only departments were truly concerned about our problems. You could try: relevant department.

 

Now you know how to convert this sentence into international English:

Kindly do the needful and send the documents to the concerned department.

 

 

 

 

English Vinglish in corporate India

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In urban India, English is everywhere. There is an explosion of books being published in the language. Shop signs, newspapers, and even many traffic warnings are written in a language which originated on an island, far from these shores.

And yes, corporate communication is in English. In New Delhi, when two Hindi-speaking people meet for business, there is a strong probability that they will negotiating in a second language: English.

Given the dominance of the language in education and business, I expected that people in the corporate sector would be (reasonably) proficient in the language. My experience of 4 years of delivering training has proved otherwise.

Many young executives (and some senior ones as well) are not content with their level of English. They are not comfortable with the language and often find it difficult to express their opinions and ideas. Indian communication tends to be very formal and at times, cumbersome. This is in stark contrast with the friendlier, semi-formal business style which is used in the United States and many other English-speaking countries.

English Vinglish in Indian offices can be simpler, clearer, and friendlier.