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Филологический факультет

Decheva S. V., Maguidova I. M.

Learning to Communicate in English

Издательство Московского университета 2005

УДК 802/809.1 ББК 81.2Англ-923 Д39

К 250-летию Московского университета

Печатается по постановлению Редакционно-издательского совета филологического факультета МГУ им. М. В. Ломоносова


д. ф. н., проф. Н. И. Филичева,

д. ф. н., проф. Г. Г. Ивлева,

д. ф. н., проф. Е. Б. Яковлева

Decheva S. V., Maguidova I. M.

Д39 Learning to Communicate in English: Учеб. пособие. — M.: Изд-во Моск. ун-та, 2005. — 128 с.

ISBN 5-211-05114-9

УДК 802/809.1 ББК 81.2 Англ-923

© Филологический факультет МГУ им. М. В. Ломоносова, 2005 ISBN 5-211-05114-9 © Decheva S. V., Maguidova I. M., 2005


This manual is meant for the intermediate and upper-intermediate students of English who have mastered the elements of English vocabulary and grammar and would like to improve their communicative skills by making proper use of different linguistic — and, more specifically, phonetic — means. Learning to communicate in good English is an arduous task which requires no end of time, effort, and patience on the part of anyone who is striving to improve his or her speaking image.

The idea is that communication 'by word of mouth' largely, depends for its success on the degree of the interlocutors' phonetic proficiency. Phonetics has always been and still is 'the indispensable foundation' of effective speech. That is why the better part of each section (Unit) in the manual is given to numerous aspects of phonetic knowledge.

At the same time we proceed from the premise that successful communication is not confined to the quality of pronunciation alone. Language is a multi-faceted subject: phonetics is only part of the problem. For one thing, there is the enormity of the English vocabulary, the choice and arrangement of words to be taken into account — this aspect of ELT is worked out in the manual on the basis of the texts included in each Unit. For another, the characteristic features of English grammar seem to be no less important and even worrying if our aim is to help our students to reach a higher level of communicative competence. Teaching phonetics in 'splendid isolation' from a broader linguistic context would be impossible, let alone futile.

This being the case, special attention in the manual is given to lexical-phraseological and grammatical parts of the learner's linguistic performance. Every Unit contains extended sections where some basic issues of the choice and arrangement of words (according to the fundamental principles of their lexical-phraseological and morpho — syntatic combinability) are modelled and presented in the form of specially elaborated exercises.

We believe that what educated people really need now is not just 'basic interpersonal skills', or 'minimum general intelligibility', but communication at the highest imaginable level — intellective communication in the proper sense of the word. It is, therefore, the ability to speak before the audience — the ABC of Rhetoric — that is most currently important in the present-day English language teaching.

Hence the choice of the material which is basically video — or tape-recordings of different highly competent rhetors (BBC announcers, television announcers, political leaders, scholars, university dons etc. etc) who keep speaking in public for years and whose English on the whole can be described as Standard Modem British English pronunciation. All the texts


in the manual are on the subjects of general interest (currently important, topical issues) which usually concern people deeply, irrespective of their social status or educational background. This recorded material is also of great practical value for ELT purposes, because it clearly shows how to hold one's audience in the process of intellective communication.

This kind of English is clearly understood the world over; it is both informative and impressive, and, therefore, can be regarded as a reliable model on which the foreign learner can try and shape his own linguistic performance. At the same time in these texts the unity of different aspects of language — its phonetic lexical, phraseological, grammatical etc. characteristics — comes to the fore and can be demonstrated and shown in action to the best advantage.

It follows, then, that in all our linguistic pursuits the main emphasis is being laid on the functional-communicative capacities of human speech — those elements of English phonetics, lexis, phraseology, and grammar which form the core of speech intercourse. Thus, in teaching phonetics a completely new approach to the sound-form of the English language is introduced and put into use. In contrast with the so-far existing practice in teaching phonetics, we concentrate from the very start on the 'syllable', not the 'sound' of English — and, through the phenomena of 'stress', 'rhythm' and 'prosody', we finally arrive at the fundamental peculiarities of the English Articulation Basis.

As far as the teaching of English vocabulary and phraseology is concerned, special attention is given to our student's ability to single out and use effectively in their own speech the 'ultimate syntagmatic sequences' which form the communicative basis of each of the texts in the manual. Their importance in language teaching can hardly be overestimated, because (being 'pre-fabricated' and 'ready-made' in terms of phonetic — prosodical arrangement, lexical-phraseological combinability and grammatical structure) they pave the way to connected speech proper at the best imaginable level.

The manual provides a wide range of practice activities in a variety of forms to ensure that the target material is fully assimilated in each of its aspects — phonetics (sections 2 and 3 of each Unit), lexis and phraseology (section 4 of each Unit) and grammar (section 5 of each Unit). The opening section of all the Units in the manual focuses on listening comprehension tasks and also includes a variety of challenging exercises and stimulating tasks which reinforce and extend the intermediate upper-intermediate student's communicative competence. The exercises are supplied with the models to follow as well as the notes on exploiting the corresponding rules and principles.

The emphasis in each Unit is on the student's ability to work with the explanatory English Dictionary, of which the following two are specially recommended as the most extensive and thorough educationally oriented


lexicographic sources — 'the Oxford Advanced leaner's Dictionary of Current English' and 'Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English'. The manual provides a comprehensive and systematic study of the target lexis supported by extensive contextualised exercises on translation from Russian into English.

The grammatical section of every Unit introduces and practises the grammatical issues relevant both for the student's level of knowledge and for the requirements of the target text. The exercises are also meant to consolidate and review rules introduced at earlier stages of learning. The practice tasks offer the learners the skills they need to gain a confident command of English forms, syntactic structures and their uses. Based on the living target, they also make grammar study a purposeful and exciting pursuit, full of interest and practical importance. The Units are arranged in a way that provides for the general continuity of language study: from the simpler and more straightforward linguistic activities to the more complicated and sophisticated ones. The linguistic material is very carefully graded for the learners to increase their communicative competence naturally and steadily. The target texts are getting more involved with every successive Unit which shares the same features with the preceding ones, but offers a more diversified and demanding approach to language work and a varied and practical range of communicative exercises. This methodological principle ensures that the target language of the Unit is fully and successfully assimilated, and that the learners build on what they have studied and acquired earlier.

The manual also includes two Appendices. Appendix I, written by Prof. M. V. Davydov, offers a variety of exercises which are meant to bring out some of the more frequently used 'ready-made' forms of expression, currently important in communication on philological subjects. The material of the exercises serves to support the main trend of linguistic education, worked out in the main part of the manual, and extends it in the direction of 'English for Special Purposes'. The ultimate purpose of this part of the manual consists in helping the learner to master the all-important skill of reading philological literature for the sake of 'information retrieval'. The ability to extract the general information from a text °n language and literature presupposes the learner's competence in what is usually described as 'diagonal reading' — the indispensable variety of reading at the earlier stages of language study.

Appendix 2 contains a collection of model texts, created by three generations' of students of the English Philology Department MSU — from 1999 till 2001, — which are based on the linguistic materials, presented and elaborated in the manual according to the above principles, 'his, in itself, is a novelty and at the same time a most convincing demonstration of how effective and fruitful these principles and method really are in the present-day English language teaching.


To sum up we may conclude that the materials included in the present manual provide for the four basic ELT skills-listening, speaking, writing and reading — at the intermediate and the upper-intermediate levels of language study. The regular and systematic work along these lines will in the end prepare the learner for still higher levels of communicative proficiency.

The manual being practical throughout, it naturally presupposes regular and systematic reference to the following books where the theoretical background which is essential in the new approach to the communicative English language learning is expounded in detail:

1) Практический курс английского языка / Ред. О. С. Ахманова, О. В. Александрова. М., 1989.

2) Магидова И. М. Введение в английскую филологию. М, 1985.

3) Дечева С. В. The Bases of English Philology. M., 2000.

4) Дечева С. В. English Syllabification as Part of the Learner-oriented Speechology. M., 1994.

5) Давыдов М. В., Яковлева Е. В. Основы филологического чтения. М, 1999.

6) Васильев В. В., Назарова Т. Б. The Methodology of the Learner-oriented English Language Teaching. M., 1991.


_ 1.1. Listening Comprehension ————

      1. See Video-Target 1

Answer the following questions:

1. What is the text about? Formulate the main idea of the text in a few words.

2. What is meant by 'stage-presence'?

3. Why did the director of the play have to take off Richard Burton after the first few performances?

4. Do you agree that 'a great actor has to be, not do' or that 'doing' should come out of'being'?

1.1.2. See Video-Target 1 once more with the help of the text below:

As soon as I saw him on the stage I knew he had that incredible stage-presence which you either have or don't have. It doesn't matter how clever you are if you don't have it — you can't hold the audience.

The great test of that I remember was in an Old Vic production of 'King John' where he played the Bastard. And the director had the idea (since the Bastard is a commentator on the action very often) to put him on the side of the stage, and let him watch the action, and then get in when his part came. They did it for about two or three performances and then they had to take him off. He wasn't doing anything. He was just there. But everybody's eyes were on him, not on the action.

He had incredible stage presence. I always taught him that a great actor has to be, not do, that 'doing' should come out of 'being'.

1.1.2. Listen to the pragmaphonetic variant of Target 1 where some of the most important aspects of English speech are specially brought out and pragmalinguistically modelled:

') the energetic articulation of stressed syllables (especially the closed ones); 2) the intensification of consonants as part of English syllabification; ->) the exaggerated stress-timed rhythmical pattern;

4) the greater clarity of pitch-movement within the Descending Scale contour and before pauses (against the general background of slowed down tempo);

5) the greater resonance of enunciation.


1.2. Syllables, Stress, Rhythm, Prosody

1.2.1. Divide the words of the text into fully-meaningful and syn-categorematic ones.

— Mark off the fully meaningful words by underscoring them in the printed text.

— Which of the words of either group is going to be stressed and why?

1.2.2. Listen to the text and comment on the pronunciation of the stressed syllables in the following word:








— What are the basic principles that have to be followed here?

1.2.3. Transcribe these words, dividing them into syllables (use the English Pronouncing Dictionary for that purpose).

1.2.4. How is the text divided into parts by means of pauses?

— Which of the pauses are shorter and which are longer and why?

1.2.5. Which of the words in the text are stressed and which are accented?

— Study the words below and divide them into two groups — the stressed words and the accented words:

saw, incredible, presence, have, clever, can't, stage, hold, audience, test, Old, production, King, John, played, director, commentator, idea, often, action, put, watch, part, get, did, two, then, performances, wasn't, anything, just, eyes, not, always, taught.

1.2.6. Study the cases of 'have' ('had') that occur in the text, as well as those of 'him' and 'that' in terms of stress.

— Give other examples to support the basic differences between those cases.


1 2.7. Study the rhythm within every part of the text singled out by pauses.

a) Analyze the simple rhythm-units into three groups — monobeats (M), trochees (T) and dactyls (D). Use the following analysis as a model:

'As soon as I saw him on the stage, I knew he had that incredible stage-presence, which you either have, or don't have.'

As soon as I saw him on the stage

D D+l M

I knew he had that incredible stage-presence


which you either have

D+l M

or don't have.

M M M__________________________

b) Explain the rule of English rhythm that is observed in the case of 'had that incredible'. Why is 'that' phonetically degraded? Find other cases of that kind in the text.

1.2.8. Study each of the prosodic contours in the text. Use the following analysis as a model:

The first sentence of the text consists of 5 contours. The first one is:

'As soon as I saw him on the stage'

a) There are no accents here.

b) The contour is a typical case of the non-interrupted Descending Scale which relies on the two level tones on the stressed syllables 'soon1 and 'saw' and a low-rising tone on 'stage'.

1.2.9. What prosodic means are used in different cases of accent in the text?

1.2.10. Comment on the use of

— Low-Falling tones in the text;

— Low-Rising tones in the text;

— Mid-Falling tones in the text;

— High-Falling tones in the text.


1.2.11. Comment on the modifications of tempo, loudness and pitch in the following parts of the text:

"since the Bastard is a commentator on the action very often",

"he wasn't doing anything. He was just there. But everybody's eyes

were on him, not on the action".

"...a great actor has to be, not do, that 'doing' should come out of


What is the function of these modifications in each of these cases?

1.3. The English Articulation Basis Sounds

1.3.1. Listen to the way the following words are said by the speaker on the tape.

Transcribe them with the help of the 'English Pronouncing Dictionary':

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