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Bottoms Up
Business English course for Russian learners - last update: 20170811 20180220
project description by D.Potter

Executive summary

  • Developing a Business English course targeting the needs of Russian entrepreneurs

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The promise

    Would you be able to argue the pros & cons of sanctions against the Russian Federation in your line of business over dinner? After this course, you will.

  • 120 academic hours (ca. 4/5 months depending on frequency)
  • Business English and lexical material satisfying Russian needs
  • use of language (grammar at upper intermediate level B2+)
  • various registers (formal, informal, colloquial, assertive, tentative...)
  • case studies with consultants' feedback on video

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Rationale

    How Russians are perceived to be doing business is controversial.

  • Bottoms up (Пей до дна / на здоровье) is meant to be an amusing reference to the way entrepreneurs would supposedly strike a deal and raise a toast to future partnership. Today's Russia, however, is quite different and many business people as well as government officials would rather conclude a negotiation without the prejudices which may accompany their country's history.
  • In this business English course book, a team of English and Russian teachers strive to provide the language and communication tools that will help Russian business people pitch their joint ventures in social and economic terms relevant to their reality (i.e. of a developing economy with a pan European-Asian mindset).
  • There are no books on the market catering for the needs of this niche featuring such degree of localisation.

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Contents relevance

    What would you say if your business counterparts enquired about the Magnitsky case or business opportunities in Crimea during a coffee break?

  • The range of topics covers aspects tackled in successful business English courses such as The Business (MacMillan) and Market Leader (Pearson & Longman) with a focus on the Russian perspective.
  • Compliance, fair trade and sustainable business development, for instance, are concepts that are often ignored by CEOs, local brand & marketing managers because the market may not be mature yet, due to the absence of government (de)regulation, or as a result of an omnipresent demand and little need for competition... Role plays encourage learners to explain in English such specifically Russian disparities and how to address them.
  • Import substitution is now a priority of the Russian Federation's government. Such policy should have a significant impact on SME (small and medium sized entreprises) and consequently is examined in detail.
  • This course aspires to a para-documentary approach to understanding & expressing the Russian identity. Presenting both sides of a conflict of interest is perceived as an opportunity to practise communication strategies such as win-win, batna, etc.

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Sources

    Russia Today, Kommersant, press releases by the Kremlin, Euronews, The Economist...
    (to be confirmed depending on costs of authors' rights)


  • Material is based on authentic interviews, articles and reports by established sources.
  • Text, audio and video material selected for the course are occasionally graded to facilitate recycling.
  • Case studies at the end of each unit may feature exclusive interviews with some prominent actors of the business & political scene.

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Release formats

    Digital book featuring innovative tools
    (from mindmaps and space repetition software to audio recording of presentations)


  • The course book is available in hardcopy as well as various e-formats to facilitate reading & navigation on a mobile device
      - pdf
      - e-pub
      (An EPUB file is a ZIP archive that contains, in effect, a website—including HTML files, images, CSS style sheets, and other assets. It also contains metadata. EPUB 3 is the latest version. By using HTML5, publications can contain video, audio, and interactivity, just like websites in web browsers - src: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPUB)
      - html5
  • Word lists (sample)
      - available per lesson in *txt and *csv formats for completing with student's personal notes, translation and/or own examples
      - compatible with leading space repetition software such as Anki (iPhone, Linux) and AnyMemo (Android, Linux)
  • Mindmaps adjectives mindmap(sample)
      - grammatical overview of the use of language on a plan to give a broader perspective and better see & understand the correlation between structures
      - riddled legend, the completion of which is designed to help remember visually and kinesthetically
  • Live GNU Linux Debian CD logo (instead of a traditional DVD - to be confirmed)
    This is a full operating system that can be run off a CD or usb stick without installation on your computer and which has been customised to feature additional software specially for the needs of language learners (reminiscent of the open source Debian Edu / Skolelinux project

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Agenda

  • Pilot project (2 units only): May - June 2018
  • Contents editing (8-10 units): September 2018 - February 2019
  • Final release (book + DVD): March 2019

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ESP - English for Special Purposes

    Some areas of business may be too marginal to justify publishing a book. These are covered in modular units to satisfy individual needs.

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