Image credit: Unsplash
Learning English can be tricky, more so when learners focus on more specific niches that require further knowledge and understanding of specific concepts, such as business and finance. According to a Journal of Education for Business study, English has become the dominant lingua franca of business and for the studying of business. This means that most learners pursuing a business education are learning in English.
However, technical terms within a niche can be difficult to learn, especially for English as second language learners. For English learners who are learning technical financial terms, understanding what they mean and how they apply them in real life can be difficult. Below, we’ll look at five tips for English learners to better understand financial terms:
Follow English for finance textbooks
One of the best and most straightforward ways to learn English for finance is by following the flow and structure of finance textbooks. In a previous post on choosing effective English teaching materials, we emphasised that specialised textbooks are an English learner’s first assistants in the learning process. Universal textbooks can help English learners study grammatical constructions and improve their lexical skills and pronunciation. Additionally, they have a clear lesson plan that learners can easily follow. Learning using an English for finance textbook can also provide learners with explanations and context for complex technical terms. Some other textbooks also come with special additional materials like dictionaries to help expand a learner’s vocabulary for finance beyond basic grammar skills.
Examine real life examples
If the English learner is at a more advanced stage, then it will be a good practice to not only look at real-life examples, but also follow ones that will be relevant for those looking for employment in the finance sector in the near future. A good example of this would be the updated Basel regulations that started in January of this year, and affect banks and financial institutions across the UK and Europe. Understanding Basel compliance and how they allow financial corporations to stay compliant and prevent financial losses will be hugely beneficial for those looking at pursuing a career in finance. Even just studying the latest regulations will provide English language learners with an up-to-date list of the latest financial terminology.
Listen to podcasts about finance
An increasingly popular means of learning languages, podcasts are a great way to train language learners’ listening, speaking, and pronunciation skills. Aside from expanding an English learner’s vocabulary, podcasts often provide a conversational use of finance terms and concepts. Fortunately, podcasts of various topics are easily accessible today, including podcasts about finance. Personal finance podcasts such as Planet Money Summer School comes in different seasons, with each season covering specific topics, from investing to macroeconomics. The episodes are half an hour long and will often provide history, context, and engaging explanations about the topics discussed.
Watch movies about finance
Listening to discussions on finance can be a great way to learn and understand technical financial terms, but watching videos, movies, and TV shows about finance can help learners understand technical finance concepts while being entertaining and engaging as well. In a study published in the Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media, researchers found that the use of transmedia in second-language learning has gained popularity in the past years. Thanks to the media, language learners won’t have to travel to native English-speaking countries to learn the language. Watching media such as movies or shows about finance can provide real-world examples or instances of finance concepts. English learners can also learn idiomatic and idiosyncratic expressions from finance movies that are otherwise too informal or casual for official textbooks and dictionaries.
Try artificial intelligence
Last but not least, artificial intelligence can be a great teacher for technical finance terms. Among its many uses since its release to the public, people have also been experimenting with using ChatGPT for language learning. Formatted like a chatbot, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is a language model that was trained on massive amounts of data. Apart from conversations in English, ChatGPT is also trained in other languages, such as Spanish, French, and German. This makes it easier for English as second language learners to understand finance terms by having the AI explain it to them in their native language. Another advantage of trying ChatGPT for learning technical finance is that it provides a personalised learning experience where learners can approach new topics or concepts at their own pace. ChatGPT can also provide additional resources for further reading when prompted to do so.
English is the international language of business and finance. If you are trying to improve your English financial terms, either as a beginner or as someone looking for a career in finance, we hope the above tips prove useful.
Article written by Rose Jennings