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1.3. Why do we learn english?

Activity 1. Match the following English words with their Russian/Ukrainian equivalents:

1) tospeakfluentlya) делать ошибки/робити помилки

2) toenjoymostb) достигать успехов/досягати успіхів

3) tolistentorecordsc) говорить бегло/говорити вільно

4) to do welld) слушать записи/слухати записи

5) secondaftere) любить больше всего/любити більш за все

6) tomakemistakesf) учить наизусть/вчити напам'ять

7) tolearnbyheartg) второй по численности/другий за чисельністю

8) to pass exams h) уменьшаться/ зменшуватися

9) to get smaller i) быть сложным/ бути складним

10) to be sophisticated j) сдать экзамены/ скласти іспити

Activity 2. Think why you are learning English. Choose at least three different reasons and then compare your reasons with other students. You may make sentences like in example:

I’m learning English because I want (would like)……

I would like to know English better for……..

to pass exams

to improve knowledge of smth (American or English culture)

for social reasons because I want to meet people

for interest

for my future job (career)

because I need it in my studies

because I want to travel

because my parents want me to learn it

because I often go to international conferences

because it's sophisticated

because it's an international language

to listen to English songs and understand the words

to watch video films in the original

to be competitive on the labour market

Activity 3. Brighton Language School

Step 1. Read about the language school students in Brighton and find out if they share any of your reasons for studying English.

Mario from Colombia said, “I learn English for my school exams. I like being in England but I hate studying. It's difficult. I have to write everything down twenty times or I forget.”

His friend Patricia didn't agree: “I love studying English, but I like speaking best. I try to have lots of conversations with people - that way I get real practice.”

Johann, from Austria, said he used tapes. “Listening is most important. It means I hear the sounds and can repeat them. I listen to the radio too. I don't understand it all, but I get a feeling for the sounds. I study English mainly because of music. I like rock music and I listen to American and English bands. I write songs, too, and sometimes in English.”

We interviewed other students in the same group. Some of them said English would help them in their work in the future, while others said they studied because their parents wanted them to do it. Did they enjoy it? Most said they liked games and role playing but they hated grammar. However, Fatima, a young woman from Morocco, said that grammar was very important. ”Most students say they hate grammar, but you can't really learn English if you don't understand the parts it's made of. We need to practise grammar and vocabulary, too. You see how the language is constructed and you can work out how to make new sentences. I don’t like grammar best. Actually, I like reading! That’s my favourite activity! I study English because I want to study Business Administration.”

Step 2. Now look at this chart, read the article again and complete the chart according to what you read.

Reason for studying

How does he/she learn?




Other students


Activity 4. Now think about your own learning! What do you need to study? Do you need all of the 'four skills' shown below or just one or two? How do you learn? Make a few notes and then compare 'how you learn' with other students in your group.

THE FOUR SKILLS: Speaking Reading Listening Writing

Listening to the radio and records Writing out sentences and phrases

Listening to English speakers Repeating phrases after a tape/ teacher

Recording my own voice Speaking English with friends

Learning dialogues Writing to a pen friend

Learning lists of words Looking up words in a dictionary

Writing down new words/ phrases Reading articles/ books/ magazines

Learning grammar rules Doing grammar exercises

Activity 5. Write three paragraphs about your own learning. Use this guide to help you:

Paragraph one: Your personal background

Include how long you have studied English and where you have studied (mention visits abroad or contacts with English-speaking people).

Example: I studied English for four years in my secondary school in Dnepropetrovsk and then, in 2007, I did a course at an adult institution in the same city. The classes were one evening each week for two hours. I haven't been to Britain but: I have met a lot of visitors from the USA to Dnepropetrovsk and I have some pen-friends from Great Britain.

Paragraph two: What skills you need in English and how you learn

Example: I mainly need to practise speaking and reading. I need 'speaking' for my job and 'reading' for interest. I find it is very difficult to remember words, so I try to keep a notebook for vocabulary. I like reading and talking about things but I don't like doing exercises. I think it is useful to listen to the teacher talking but I also like to listen to cassettes because then it is possible to play them again.

Paragraph three: The reasons why you are studying English

Example: I study English for many different reasons. First, because it was part of my general education at school. Then, because I want to read books and magazines in English, so it is important to study more, and finally because it will help me in my job as a specialist in management.

Activity 6. Read and translate the following text.

Some time ago a newspaper reporter called the modern Earth “a world-village”. It really means that year by year the Earth is getting smaller with the development of communication and increase in international trade. People of different countries and nations have to get along well with the progress in world trade and technology as well as with each other.

Learning foreign languages is especially important nowadays. Some people learn foreign languages because they need them in their work, others travel abroad, for the third studying languages is a hobby. A modern engineer or even a worker cannot work with an imported instrument or a machine if he is not able to read the instruction how to do it. Ordinary people need language to translate the instruction or a manual to a washing-machine or a vacuum-cleaner, medicine or even food-products.

It is only in the course of the last hundred years that English has become a number one world language. In the year of 1600, in Shakespeare’s time, English was spoken only by 6 million people and was a “provincial” language, while French was the leading foreign language of that century. First the English language became widely spoken in the world with the rise of the British Empire. Then success of American industry and the growth of exports in technologies caused increase in circulation of the language. And the third factor of the last decades is remarkable boom in computer-related equipment and technologies as well as influence of British and American pop culture and films.

English is spoken by more than 600 million people today. Geographically it is the most widespread language on Earth. English nowadays is second only to Chinese. It is the official language of the UK, the USA, of Australia and New Zealand. English is used as one of the official languages in Canada and in the South Africa. Throughout the world many people use English as an international language. It is the language of modern science and technology, trade and cultural relations, commerce and business. Half of the world’s scientific literature is written in English. It is the universal language of international aviation, shipping and sports. It is also the major language of diplomacy. Hundreds and hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers are printed in English, most of the world’s mail and telephone calls are in English.

Fortunately, I began learning English even before I could understand the importance of speaking and understanding it. Now I know that it is very useful for a XXI century professional no matter what field you are in. The international connections are getting tighter. One cannot do well without one of the common European languages. As for me I like reading in English and I would like to read Alan Milne, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll in their native language. Besides, I can watch satellite TV programs, travel abroad and make friends with people from different countries. I have a lot of pen-friends all over the world. They cannot speak Russian, which is more difficult to learn than English. I hope some day I shall meet these people face to face and we shall have a good time together.

Activity 7. Complete the sentences according to the information from the text.

  1. The modern earth is getting smaller with the development of communication and increase in ... ...

  2. The third factor of the last decades is remarkable boom in ... ... and technologies.

  3. Geographically, it is the most ... ... on Earth, second after Chinese.

  4. The international connections are getting ..........

  5. They cannot speak Russian, which is ... ... to learn than English.

Activity 8.

Step 1. Answer the following questions using the information from the text.

  1. What did the reporter call “a world-village”?

  2. How do modern people have to live in the “a world-village”?

  3. What is the most widespread language in the world?

  4. What factors made English a widespread language all over the world?

  5. In which countries is English considered to be the official language?

  6. In what fields of human activity is English used as an international language?

  7. Can you name any book written by Alan Milne, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and other English writers?

Step 2. Using the information you have received prove the importance of studying English

Activity 9. Fill in the blanks with one suitable word from the box and find out some interesting information about English spelling. Bear in mind that more than one variant is sometimes possible.

because; English; changes; press; century; system; Conquest; contained\ had; using/with; spelling; among, words, language, schoolchildren