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Dear Michael,
I am writing this letter to you in hopes of helping you understand what is taking place in our business communications course. I do understand that as a native speaker to English, this course may be a bit difficult for you, however please don’t worry as I am always here to help you. This week we are putting our focuses on the “Word Power” conference. This conference has been set up for students to participate in a fun new way of introducing new words and phrases. These words and phrases are English culture specific and may be difficult to learn, however with my help I am hoping you will understand the definition of the word as well as understand the phrases that this word provokes.
In this conference we are discussing the word “Joe”. Joe is a simple word, yet is used in so many ways to refer to so much. The word “Joe” in its simplest form is a noun and refers to a person, place or thing. Its most common reference is to a person; “Joe” is a name or nickname. It has become an easy way to refer to other phrases that mean more than just a name. The word is very informal and is used in a casual context. The military community has also adopted the word “Joe” and it used to refer to a cup of coffee, “May I have a cup of Joe to go with my breakfast?” In addition the Armed Forces use the word to refer to a United States soldier anywhere in the world (G.I. Joe), again this is a very informal way of addressing a military personnel. The abbreviation to “G.I.” stands for Government Issued. While these are the most common use of the word there are many more.
In order for you to grasp a better understanding of the word, I have researched your home country (Spain) to see if your homeland uses the word in any familiar ways. You should be able to relate to the word, as the names Jose, Joseph, and Josephine, all derive from the word “Joe”. In addition “St. Joseph, Trinidad and Tobago is the oldest town in Trinidad and Tobago. Originally named San José de Oruña, it served as the capital of Spanish Trinidad between 1592 and 1783” (Wikipedia). Also as you may know, because you live in the State, California’s city San Jose, also derives from the word “Joe”.
I hope that this informational letter makes you feel more comfortable about approaching and participating in this week’s conference. If you are still unsure about how to participate, take my suggestion and research the above Spanish names, this will reveal the history behind them. I suggest you use Wikipedia as it is a very familiar and notable website. Can’t wait to see your contribution to the conference!
Melissa Abella
TO: Business Communications Team 394
FROM: Melissa Abella
DATE: December 3, 2006
SUBJECT: Writing Process
As you all know we have been given the assignment to create a letter explaining the terms used in our active “Word Power” conference. Because we have been given the instructions to explain these terms to a non-native speaker to English, it is important for all of us to be aware of the difficulty and frustration that our explanation may cause.
Last year I took a course in Linguistics, with a focus on ESL learners. I acquired enough useful information that helped me with this assignment and found the information useful for non-native speakers. Here is a quick look at the information I learned.
· Introduce the subject multiple times and explain the purpose for the material
· Always assume the student knows nothing about the subject
· Communicate clearly and directly
· Relate the material to students L1 (First Language)
· Make personal connections
· Review constantly
· Give resources that will help the student grasp a better understanding
As you can see my Linguistics course addressed a lot of important information that set me up for this assignment. With this said, I used the above content to compose my letter to my Spanish speaking classmate. I composed this letter as if my friend was a classmate in our business communications course 394 and I explained how to participate in the “Word Power” conference. Here is how I used the above information to compose my letter.
· In the introduction I stated the reason for my letter and included a positive encouragement for my writing “to help you”.
· I explained the subject the class was given to respond to and made note to the student that it is understandable that the material may be difficult, but not to be discouraged. This allows the student to become more comfortable with approaching the assignment.
· I explained the purpose of the material so that the student understood why the assignment was given. This gives the student a reason to want to participate.
· I explained my personal goal for the student “to be able to understand the definition as well as understand the phrases that this word provokes”.
· I started the body of the letter off assuming that the student knows nothing about what is asked from him in the conference. This eliminates negative thoughts that might be discouraging the learner.
· I explained the word in its simplest form and gave the definition of the word and its member as a class of words (noun). This allows the learner to relate the word to a person and understand that the word is not complex.
· I gave examples for the student to relate the word in the way that American society does by using phrases that contain the word. Examples always help the student grasp a better understanding of the material.
· My diction and language use in the letter is very simplistic so that my letter is not discouraging to the student. How are they supposed to learn something if they can’t read the information presented? The letter was composed clear and direct.
· In the second paragraph in the body of the letter I showed effort to relate the material to the learners first language and homeland. I came up with examples that allow the student to relate the same word to his language. This allows him to become more comfortable with the term and perhaps it may provoke words relating to the term on his own.
· By giving him examples through his own culture it opens the door for personal connections.
· I concluded the letter with encouragement and gave resources that might help him get started on his assignment. This should give the student a starting point and make the process a bit easier.