04 February 2017

BBC Capital: “Native English speakers are the world’s worst communicators”

The non-native speakers, it turns out, speak more purposefully and carefully, typical of someone speaking a second or third language. Anglophones, on the other hand, often talk too fast for others to follow, and use jokes, slang and references specific to their own culture, says Chong. In emails, they use baffling abbreviations such as ‘OOO’, instead of simply saying that they will be out of the office.

The native English speaker… is the only one who might not feel the need to accommodate or adapt to the others, she adds.

Non-native speakers generally use more limited vocabulary and simpler expressions, without flowery language or slang. Because of that, they understand one another at face value. Jenkins found, for instance, that international students at a British university understood each other well in English and swiftly adapted to helping the least fluent members in any group.

Lennox Morrison

Working in a multinational, I am very familiar with the overuse of abbreviations, more often than not with obscure meaning. On top of that, each multinational develops its own set of abbreviations for similar concepts, further clouding communication. Another practice that annoys me is how Americans like to quote movie dialog as if anyone would automatically know the context.

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