Sunday, January 13, 2013

Business English?


What's the most surprising thing I learned during my first semester of graduate school?  My grasp of the English language isn't nearly as refined as I had hoped.

Here are a list of terms which I've had to look up while reading through the course material for my lectures. Many of these I've seen before, and even had a vague idea of their meaning, but they were often used in new - and sometimes bizarre - contexts.


Some of these are quite common words which were actually misused in the case studies and articles.  I had to look them up to make sure there wasn't some unfamiliar nuance or context which justified their use.

And some of them are stellar words which were used quite correctly by researchers and academics who are non-native English speakers (and thus chose the most scarcely used synonym for an otherwise common concept). Most of these words have synonyms which are more commonly used in the U.S.

How many of these do you know?

> cooptation: A co-option or more often co-optation is an election in which members of a committee (or similar group) vote in order to fill a vacancy on that committee or group.> syndicate: The word "syndicate" is used as a business term to describe a group of persons who have pooled their resources for some common purpose. Notwithstanding the widespread use of the term, in law there is no such entity as a syndicate. The group of persons pursuing the common interest may constitute a partnership.> > fecund: Producing or capable of producing an abundance of offspring or new growth; fertilearmchair consultant: these consultants pride themselves in writing thick reports in which they show that they know at least 42 theoretical variants that could apply. No sound advice though for your specific situation (more truly researchers).> obsequious: Obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree.> anodyne: Not likely to provoke dissent or offense; uncontentious or inoffensive, often deliberately so: "anodyne New Age music".> non-sequitur: A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.> to collect proxies: If your governing documents do not prohibit proxies, anyone who is a member of the association can be a proxyholder for any other member of the association and cast ballots on their behalf at the meeting. So members of a board of directors can "collect proxies" to create backing for a vote they want to push through. This means they solicit other board members (who might not really care, etc) to obtain their proxy votes that can be used to support a certain initiative.> paucity: The presence of something only in small or insufficient quantities or amounts; scarcity.> parity: a method of allocating a budget for promotional activities that depends on what competitors are spending for similar activities. Competitive parity spending is a defensive strategy that can help a business protect its brand or product's competitive position in the marketplace without overspending. Also called defensive budgeting.> receivership: The state of being dealt with by an official receiver: "the company went into receivership last week".> harbinger: 1. A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another. 2. A forerunner of something.> candor: The quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.> hinterland: An area surrounding a town or port and served by it.> entrepôt economy: one which funnels exports out of and imports into a surrounding area> critical mass: A very important or crucial stage in a company's development, where the business activity acquires self-sustaining viability. When a company reaches critical mass, it is thought that they can remain viable without having to add any more investment.> bifurcated: Divide into two branches or forks: "just below Cairo the river bifurcates"; "the trail was bifurcated by a mountain stream".> hubris: Excessive pride or self-confidence.> desultory: Lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm> returns to scale: same as economies of scale> counterpart: a person or thing having the same function or characteristics as another.> prima facie: Based on the first impression; accepted as correct until proved otherwise.> ontology: The branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.> tendering: 1. Offer or present (something) formally: "he tendered his resignation as leader". 2. Offer (money) as payment: "she tendered her fare".> procurement: 1. The action of obtaining or procuring something. 2. The action or occupation of acquiring military equipment and supplies.> typology: A classification according to general type, esp. in archaeology, psychology, or the social sciences.> lexeme: A basic lexical unit of a language, consisting of one word or several words, considered as an abstract unit, and applied to a family of words related by form or meaning> sacrosanct: (esp. of a principle, place, or routine) Regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with> idiosyncrasy: A mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual: "one of his idiosyncrasies was always to be first". A distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing: "the idiosyncrasies of the prison system". > incommensurate: Out of keeping or proportion with (man's influence on the earth's surface seems incommensurate with his scale)

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