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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

By Richard Kern

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Academic Paper


Title: The Workplace, The Society and the Wider World: The Offshoring and Outsourcing Industry
Author: Liz Hamp-Lyons
Author: Jane Lockwood
Institution: Hong Kong Institute of Education
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: Workplace language assessment poses special issues for language testers, but also, when it becomes very large scale, it poses issues for language policy. This article looks at these issues, focusing on the offshore and outsourcing (O&O) industry as it is transitioning from native-speaking (NS) countries into nonnative-speaking (NNS) destinations such as India and the Philippines. This is obviously most impacted in call centers, where the ability of customer service representatives (CSRs) to communicate with ease with their native-English speaking customers is central to business success and can be key to a nation's economy. Having reviewed the (limited) research in this area, we take the Philippines as our example to explore how government, academe, and the business sector are dealing with the language proficiency and personnel-training issues caused by the exponential growth in this industry. Appropriate language assessments that are practical, while also being valid and reliable, are critical if the Philippines is to retain its position in this emerging market. Currently, call centers in Philippines complain of very poor recruitment rates due to poor language ability, and of poor quality communication outcomes measures: But how do they assess these key areas? We describe and evaluate the current situation in call center language assessment in the Philippines and discuss possible ways forward, for the Philippines and for the O&O industry more broadly.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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