The English listening and speaking expertise of software engineers in IT outsourcing companies in China: problems and solutions

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

The emergence and rapid progress of the service off-shoring and outsourcing industry worldwide is widely seen as the cutting edge of a shift in global economic activities. Alongside professional skills, English language skills are considered as core skills in assessing the labour pool of service supplier
countries. The Chinese government believes that developing service trade provides a tremendous opportunity for the country to transition from a traditional manufacturing economy to one relying on services and higher-end production. However, the problem of English proficiency has been universally pointed out as a huge barrier preventing China from performing to its full potential in this burgeoning industry. This paper examines the use of English as a lingua franca in communicating with offshore clients by software engineers (SEs) employed in IT outsourcing companies in China. Through an ethnographic approach, it investigates the challenges that SEs believe they confront in regard to listening comprehension and spoken communicative expertise, and reveals the responses of company management and SEs to those challenges, including the strategies that individual SEs adopt. The paper also identifies sociocultural and contextual factors that are having an impact on SEs’ English language development at work. Possible ways to improve SEs’ spoken communicative performance at work will be suggested, and the implications for English education in China will be considered in terms of preparing a future workforce for more effective use of English as a lingua franca.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventApplied Linguistics Associations of Australia and NZ (ALAA & ALANZ) Conference: Learning in a multilingual world, Adelaide, Australia - Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 30 Nov 20152 Dec 2015

Conference

ConferenceApplied Linguistics Associations of Australia and NZ (ALAA & ALANZ) Conference: Learning in a multilingual world, Adelaide, Australia
CountryAustralia
CityAdelaide
Period30/11/152/12/15

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