Radio: Forretningsfolk fornærmer utlendinger

Norgesglasset / NRK: Dårlig engelsk skaper problemer for norske bedrifter.

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Video: Vocational Education in Germany

Germany has a reputation for providing some of the best vocational training in Europe. This programme follows three young people in Bremen at various stages in their education.

English at Work

Copyright: Getty Images


We hope you agree that English is a useful language to know. After all, a quarter of all the people in the world speak it!

But did you know that English may be important in your job, too? More and more companies do business with other countries. Norwegians go abroad and foreigners come here to work. All this is part of something called globalisation.

Many people think Norwegians are really good at English. But is this really true? A new report shows something different. 664 companies were asked about problems with English, and here are the results:


          Almost one third had not presented their products outside Norway

          Nearly 40 per cent did not get to sign contracts

          Four out of ten had been unable to keep a normal conversation going

          Nine in twenty had got something other than what they ordered

          55 per cent had insulted customers

This report shows two things:

  • First, Norwegians don’t know enough vocational English.
  • Second, this special type of English is not enough; you must know how to talk about everyday things, too.



a quarter en fjerdedel / ein fjerdedel

company firma

to go abroad å reise utenlands / å reise utanlands

foreigner utlending

to sign å underskrive

conversation samtale

to insult å fornærme

vocational yrkesfaglig/yrkesfagleg

Shortcut activity

a          How many people in the world speak English: 20%? 25%? 50%?
b          Give at least one reason why English may be important in your job.
c          Retell in Norwegian at least two of the findings in the report.
d          Why is vocational English not enough?

Now go to pages 244-246 and read what some Norwegian vocational students think about English.
Then do activity 2 on page 247.


Web resource

Poor English bad for business (Aftenposten)

You speak English? Yes, I am! (BT)