Review English for diplomatic purposes (a review)

original work by PATRICIA FRIEDRICH (ED.) reviewed by BARRY TOMALIN

At first sight the title of the book seems a bit of a misnomer. It sounds like an English teaching manual for diplomatic staff. In fact, it is far more than that, it is more a series of academic research essays on using language diplomatically and is useful for business people, teachers of general English and, yes, teachers of diplomats and members of international organisations. In doing so it discusses important issues in language use, such as ‘non-killing linguistics’, ‘peace linguistics’, negotiations and how to combine ‘force and grace’ in making your intentions clear, ‘the iron fist in the velvet glove’ as one author, Bilyana Scott, memorably describes it. As well as offering her own contributions, editor Patricia Friedrich, has brought together the research and experience of a group of academics from around the world, including Professor Emeritus Gomes de Matos, a leader in the international peace movement. The eight essays in the book contain discussions of applied linguistics theory but also practical activities that can be used in language and communication classes with adult learners. It is a thoughtful and practical commentary on the language all of us probably use from time to time and how to humanise our use of language and make it more compassionate.

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