A couple of weeks ago, I attended the online version of the Dubrovnik BESIG conference. I started a text-chat discussion in one of the less informative talks, which I thought you might like to comment on.
The talk had a CD excerpt from a new Business English textbook of Native Speaker actors. Of course, these recordings being non-authentic were without stutters, false-starts, slips etc. As per usual, the accents were mostly Received Pronunciation.
The discussion point was that the majority of meeting transactions are between NNS, littered with errors and discourse problems, but actually successful pieces of communication. So, there was a suggestion to urge/encourage publishers to move towards authentic delivery….And NOT using RP actors! This was backed up by Anne Hodgson…hmmm yes, there were quite a few BE teachers there based in Germany, come to think of it! 🙂
But Nathan Keeves commented that the move towards authentic language in textbooks took a very long time and therefore we can expect to wait a long time for authentic delivery.
Re the possibility of authentic recordings, a commentor from India said that companies wouldn’t authorise recordings being used. However, the textbook being advertised was using genuine transcripts from business meetings and then re-recorded by actors, so essentially authorisation had been given.
It was also commented that many meetings take place by video conferencing so it would be technically (and easy) possible to record and use. Nathan also stated that despite companies SAYING that they didn’t want recordings being made, in practice (and his experience) nobody minds recordings being made.
So, Three Questions that I’d very much like to hear your opinions on, please…
- Don’t you agree that it would be much more useful for students to have the opportunity to hear non-RP accents in textbook listening exercises?
- Even better, wouldn’t it be preferable for CD listenings to consist of genuine business meeting recordings with mostly or entirely non-native speakers?
- Finally, how long do you think it will be before this happens?