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Pragmatic Patterns for Business: Professional Language Competencies

The project researched and created resources to support the teaching of Canadian pragmatic communication patterns.  For many internationally educated professionals (IEPs) with documented credentials and experience in their countries of origin, one of the barriers to retention and promotion is their “soft skills” including their professional communication skills, their ability to work effectively with others, and their ability to learn continuously.   In a Canadian workplace context, an IEP may find the communication skills and workplace behaviors familiar to them do not produce the results they intend in Canada, and others may perceive them as not contributing positively to team or company goals.

The project website includes resources for English as an Additional Language (EAL)  instructors to teach speech acts (apologies, feedback and complaints) including lesson plans, downloadable learner handouts, audio files and transcripts of audio clips.  For compliments and requests, instructors can find audio files and transcipts to develop their own lesson plans.  For EAL learners, self-study listening activities including audio clips of Canadian business leaders talking about communication skills in the workplace, a listening activity and answer key can be downloaded.   A game to practice adapting pragmatic communication patterns can be downloaded.  A breakdown of the patterns for each of these speech acts is included as well as an annotate literature review for the project.   


Resources on the website have been reviewed by a cross-Canada panel and were pilot tested in classrooms with over 100 immigrant adult learners.   The applied research project that created these resources collected audio recordings of Canadian pragmatic speech patterns as they occur in Canadian workplaces.  

Resource Details

Alberta Initiatives Gallery: No
Areas of Focus: Teaching
Instructional Level: CLB Stage II (5-8)
Language Focus: Workplace Skills
Format: Websites/Links
Produced by:NorQuest College Center for Intercultural Education
Funded by:Citizenship and Immigration Canada; Alberta Human Services
Author:Erin Waugh, Yuji Abe, Kerry Louw, Cheryl Whitelaw
Publication year:2014
Keywords:CLB 6; pragmatics; workplace language; lesson plans; audio clips; speech acts; culture; English in the workplace
Contact:Cheryl Whitelaw
Added:July 17, 2014, 2:16 p.m.
Updated:July 17, 2014, 2:16 p.m.