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English_books / Beyond Language

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To the Teacher Xlll

group responsible for summarizing the content of particular subheadings. Alternatively, the teacher may ask students to summarize or paraphrase sections of the readings for writing assignments. The paragraphs are numbered and lettered so that instructors may refer easily to sections of the readings.

Comprehension Questions

The comprehension questions are intended to help students assess whether they have grasped main ideas and understood details from the readings. Although the reading comprehension questions precede the vocabulary exercises, the teacher may present either activity first. Inter- mediate-level students may need to review the vocabulary before doing the comprehension questions. For variety, the instructor may wish to alternate the order of presentation of the exercises. Answers to the comprehension questions are in the teacher's manual.

Vocabulary Exercises

The exercises which follow the vocabulary list incorporate all the italicized words from the passage. The letter of the paragraph is noted beside the word or sentence so that the student can easily refer back to the passage. The exercises vary from chapter to chapter and include: Synonyms, Multiple Choice, Word Forms, Matching, Definitions, Words in Sentences, Fill-in, and Definitions in Context.

Conversational Activities

The conversational activities provide a format for discussions on a wide variety of topics related to the readings. The language level and the design of the activities vary in each chapter. Therefore, instructors are encouraged to adapt or omit any exercise according to the needs of the class. Role-playing, for example, may be appropriate for some classes and not for others. The dialogue fill-in exercises may be more suitable for an intermediate class than an advanced one. There are enough conversational activities in each chapter so that the teacher may choose freely according to the learning style of the class. Some of the activities include short explanations and follow-up questions which can be used to assist the instructor in introducing and concluding the exercises. The conver-

XIV To the Teacher

sational activities, which are well-suited to small, culturally-mixed groups of students, include the following.

Multiple Students are first given the opportunity to respond to a given situation or Choice question and are then asked to choose the 'American' response(s). Gen- Questions erally one answer is correct; however two or even three answers may be correct. The ambiguity is intentional because it stimulates discussions and encourages students to discuss a variety of cultural and personal contexts where different responses would be possible. For example:

1. When someone compliments the watch you are wearing, what would you say or do?

In your country: ________________________________________________

In the United States:

a.Say "Oh this cheap thing? It's not worth much."

b.Give it to him or her.

c.Say "Thanks," and smile.

d.Say "Would you like to have it?"

In this example, the instructor would indicate that "c" is the best answer but that "a" is possible. However, the instructor should point out that "c" is a more typical response than "a." (Answers to multiple choice questions are found in the teacher's manual.)

Role-Playing Students act out situations in pairs or in small groups. Grouping the students according to nationality is an effective strategy for role-playing. Alternatively, mixed groups can illustrate cultural variations.

Problem- Students read and discuss short paragraphs in which there is a problem Solving/ or conflict that needs identification and resolution. This activity is best Case Studies accomplished when done first in small groups and then discussed with the entire class.

Surveys, Students work on exercises which include specific questions related to Questionthe readings. The instructor may wish to assign these exercises as home-

naires, Rating

work or have the students complete them individually before discussing


them with the entire class. Some students may be unfamiliar with the


design of the activities (e.g., rating scales) and the teacher should explain


the procedures for completing these exercises.


To the Teacher XV

CrossStudents discuss questions which elicit responses about intercultural


similarities and differences. They should be encouraged to choose the


questions of greatest interest to them. Answers to cross-cultural ques-

tions may also be used as subjects in written reports.

Cultural Most of the chapters end with supplementary information on customs, Notes rules, language usage, and common practices in the United States. The cultural notes may be presented immediately after the readings or as a final activity. Also included at the end of the cultural notes is a vocabulary list which can be used to supplement the vocabulary from the readings.

Excerpts The text ends with adapted excerpts from international students' com- From positions answering the question, "What are the problems and pleasures Students' of living in the United States?" These excerpts can be used in conjunction Writings with sections of any chapter in order to stimulate discussion on students'

personal experiences living in the United States.

Final Note

In discussions on culture, instructors may need to emphasize and reinforce several notions. Culture, unlike language, does not always contain set rules and patterns. Two students from one country may disagree about what is done in their culture. In addition, some students may want to discuss "rights" and "wrongs" about a particular culture. It is sometimes necessary to point out that what is considered right in one culture may be considered wrong in another. Also, there may be a tendency to assign culture as an explanation for everything. The student may have to be reminded that an individual's personality can have greater influence than culture on the individual's perceptions and behavior. Finally, some students may tend to emphasize intercultural similarities while others may want to stress the differences. It is our hope that students will conclude that universal human characteristics can contribute to successful communications between any two people.

To the Student

This text is designed so that you can improve your reading, vocabulary, and conversational skills while learning about culture in the United States and in other parts of the world. This text is divided into ten chapters, each of which has two main sections:

(1)readings, comprehension questions, and vocabulary develop ment;

(2)conversational activities and cultural notes.

The readings at the beginning of each chapter present information primarily about American culture. After each reading are comprehension questions which will test your ability to understand main ideas and important details. Following the comprehension questions are vocabulary exercises which will enable you to practice using new words from the readings. The conversational activities section will provide you with opportunities to discuss important aspects of culture.

It is our hope that this book will help you to:

(1)learn about life in the United States;

(2)develop your vocabulary and reading skills;

(3)improve your conversational ability;

(4)recognize the relationship between language and culture.

Terms and definitions used in this book include:

Intercultural Communication—communication between people from different cultures; communication which is influenced by cultural values, attitudes, and behavior.

Culture—shared background (e.g., national, ethnic, religious) reflecting a common language and communication style, and shared customs, beliefs, attitudes, and values. (Note: "Culture" in this text does not


To the Student XV11

refer to art, music, literature, food, dress, and so on, but is used in a much broader sense.)

Communication—the process of shared meaning through verbal and nonverbal behavior.

Americans—people born and raised in the United States; citizens of the United States. (Note: There is, unfortunately, no adequate adjective to label people from the United States. "American" also refers to Canadians, Mexicans, and people from countries in Central and South America. For lack of a better word and because "United Statesian" is awkward, the authors have decided to use "American.")



PROFESSOR. Mr. Lustig, I would like to introduce you to Dr. Johns, director of the language institute. Dr. Johns, this is Mr. Lustig, the academic adviser from Barnum College.

MR. LUSTIG. How do you do, Dr. Johns?

DR. JOHNS. It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lustig. I'm glad that we finally have the occasion to meet.

* * *

FRIEND. I'd like you to meet my friend, Nancy Pipkin. Nancy, this is my brother, Jack.

NANCY. Hi, Jack. Nice to meet you.

JACK. Hi, Nancy.

* * *

FRIEND. Hi, George, have you met Bill? GEORGE. No, I haven't. Hi, Bill.

BILL. Hi! How ya doing?

Varieties of Introductions

[A]What do you notice about the above three introductions? Why is the style of language in all three different? These introductions exemplify typical American introductions which range from formal to informal. Although Americans tend to use informal language as illustrated in the

5 second and third introductions, there are situations where formal introductions are appropriate. When meeting a president of a university, it is advisable to say, "How do you do?" rather than "How ya doing?" Like-

wise, someone, who is your age or younger would probably say, "It's nice to meet you" rather than "How do you do?"

[B]In the first introduction the speakers use longer sentences, titles (Dr., Mr.), and formal words and phrases ("I would like to introduce you to . . . ," "How do you do?" and "It's a pleasure to meet you"). The

'relationship between the speakers in the first introduction is a formal 5 one. The next two introductions, which are more informal, use reduced. words and sentences and simpler language. "It's nice to meet you" becomes "Nice to meet you." "How are you doing?" becomes "How ya

doing?" A very informal introduction does not use titles or last names.

4 Introductions

Use of Titles in Introductions

[C] Often when there is a difference in status or age between two individuals, formal titles and last names are used unless the person of lower status is told to use the first name. For example:

ACCOUNTANT (age 50). Hello, my name is Bob Thomas.

STUDENT (age 20). It's nice to meet you, Mr. Thomas.

ACCOUNTANT. Please, just call me Bob.

In informal introductions there is a tendency to reduce status differences 5 by using first names. In more formal situations, the title along with the last name is appropriate. For example, when a student introduces herself to a university professor, she might say:

SUSAN (student). Hello, Dr. McCarrick. My name is Susan Hall and I would like to ask you about your course.

Susan used her professor's title (Dr.) and his last name, whereas when she introduced herself, she used her first name and last name and no 10

title. (Some professors prefer an informal rapport with students and allow them to use first names both in and out of the classroom.)

Eye Contact and Handshaking in Introductions

[D] Direct eye contact and firm handshakes during introductions are customary in the United States. In introductions as well as in general

conversations, speakers maintain frequent eye contact. Most people become nervous if frequent eye contact turns into staring. When shaking 5 hands, people shake firmly and briefly. The expression, "He shakes hands like a dead fish" refers to a limp handshake, a sign in the American culture of a weak character. Prolonged handshaking is not usual.

[E]Problems can arise when these customs are unfamiliar to foreign visitors. One foreign student remarked, "I'm beginning to think that there's something wrong with me. I have the impression that people in the United States don't like me. When I shake hands with them, they

5 always pull their hands away quickly." Is his impression correct or is he misinterpreting a cultural ritual? American visitors sometimes pull their hands away too quickly in countries where prolonged handshaking is common.

'Small Talk" After Introductions

[F] Immediately after introductions are made, there is usually a period of time in which impersonal or trivial subjects are discussed. This type of conversation, called "small talk," is important because it often helps to maintain conversations and it can lead into interesting discussions.

5 Usually speakers initiate small talk with such questions as: "Do you live in this area?", "How do you like living here?" or "What are you study- - ing?" It is also common for people to ask, "What do you do?" which means "What is your job?" but it is uncommon and considered impolite to ask, "How much money do you make?" or "How much does your

10 house cost?" Other questions such as: "Are you married?" or "How old are you?" (to an adult) are generally considered too personal for initial meetings.

[G] In an introductory meeting, maintaining a conversation is easier when two people find that they have something in common. In the following dialogue, small talk takes place until the speakers discover that they share the same experience.


SUE. It's nice to meet you. My friend told me about you. Have you lived in Seattle long?

MARK. No, only three months. How about you? SUE. I moved here three years ago from California.

MARK. Oh really! I'm from California too. Where did you live in California? SUE. In Gilroy, not far from San Jose.

MARK. This is really coincidence. I'm from Gilroy, too! I like telling people I'm from the garlic capital of the world. Did you usually go to the summer garlic festival?

SUE. I used to go every summer. How about you?

MARK. I went to most of them. I thought the one in 1980 was great. Did you go to that one?

In this conversation, Sue and Mark asked each other small talk questions before they found that they had a common background. Once they discovered this, the conversation flowed easily.

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