A Study of Linguistic Features of Modern English Business Correspondence
|School||Central South University for Nationalities|
|Course||Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics|
|Keywords||English business correspondence Lexical features Syntactic features Textual features|
English business correspondence always plays an important role in international business activities. Nowadays, with the popularity of fax machine and Internet, millions of business communications which were conducted through post, cable or telex before, are now being sent by fax or e-mail, English business correspondence is therefore experiencing a rebirth.In this thesis, 140 authentic business letters, faxes and emails were analyzed from lexical, syntactic and textual level respectively through a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis and some distinctive language features of modern English business correspondence were identified.Firstly, there exist some specific lexical features of English business correspondence. As some specialized knowledge is involved in business correspondence, technical terms or specialized vocabulary are inevitable. Apart from that, common or familiar words as well as simplified forms and abbreviations are preferred. Moreover, positive words are more often used than negative words. Declarative sentences which are usually used to make statements and express ideas take a predominant place in business correspondence while exclamatory sentences are seldom found for showing personal feeling. Imperative sentences are only used to make a request or to remind, usually with the polite word "please". The study also found a high frequency of simple sentence structures. However, there are still some sentences written through the use of elaborate complex sentence structures. Moreover, some incomplete sentences are found in business emails while they are hard to find in letters and faxes.Lastly, textual features of English business correspondence are discussed in this thesis. Simple and straightforward subject headings, clear and short paragraphs as well as the use of lists and tables contribute to the clearness and conciseness of the business correspondence. Semi-formal salutations are often used for obtaining and maintaining friendly relations. One of the features of the thesis is that it involves a lot of authentic business correspondence. The author hopes that her painful work will inspire those who are also interested in business correspondence and she would discuss with them about the linguistic features and writing techniques of business correspondence.