I. Read the text paying careful attention to the words and word combinations in bold type. Give their Russian equivalents. Get ready to discuss the problem:
THE ART OF TALKING
Last night was a bore. Several people came to my place for a chat hoping to enjoy themselves. But what an awful evening it was!
One young man talked to us for a full hour on every subject un-der the sun. None of us could get in a word, not even me, though I'm supposed to know how to do it - I've been a journalist for many years now. So what should have been a pleasant social get-together became an awful bore.
Our speaker, for I cannot call him less, was as exciting as a reading of last week's laundry list. He is eighteen, and that, I think, excuses him, for he hasn't been practising the art of talking for too many years.
He will learn, I hope, that a good conversationalist is a man who has something interesting to say, and at the same time he tries to make his audience feel comfortable. He is also a good listener and shows by his interest that he wants to hear what others have to say. He enjoys talking but realizes that everyone will get more pleasure from the conversation if all get a chance to take part. He speaks clearly enough for all to hear comfortably; he is never monotonous, and his speech is full of interesting things; and, by the way, unlike some people, he looks his listeners in the eye, and not into space.
Unfortunately all too often we suffer from bad conversationalists. They are all the same - they are always boring; and yet they differ. You can even talk of several types. To begin with, there is the so-called "monopolizer", for instance. This type of conversationalist wants to do all the talking.
The "show off" type is not very different from the "monopolizer". He is the person who wants to attract attention to himself, even if he has nothing to offer.
And the "repeater" is a well-familiar type. Hasn't this kind bored us from time immemorial?
There is also the type that I call the "detail man".
And now I almost want to say thank God for the "interrupter". The good thing about this type of conversationalist is that you can depend upon him to interrupt the "monopolizer" or the "detail man".
And of course there is the "silent one". This speaker has nothing to say. It may be that he has no information to offer or it may be that he is afraid to say something because he is too shy. Or perhaps he is the one who remembers that silence is golden, speech is silvery.
Not always, I must say. I, for one, believe that most communication is good. I'm sure that to achieve progress we must discuss things.
I'm all for discussing things. But the talker must remember that conversation must serve a purpose. What he says must always be to the point. For life is short, and nobody wants to spend hours listening to people who talk and talk and never think.
II. Read the text and retell it in the form of a story. Enlarge on the story giving additional details and using words and word combinations from the active vocabulary and from the previous additional text:
Harry: Oh, Nora, here's a letter from old Bartle. He wants to come and stay for a week from Friday.
Nora: That will be nice, won't it? He's such a nice old dear.
H: He's a fussy old man.
N: Now, which room can he have? Oh, yes, he shall sleep in Robert's room, and Robert shall share with Peter! Peter, you will let Robert sleep in your room just for a few nights, won't you?
Peter: Oh, Mother, I don't want to share with Robert: he won't like it either.
N: Just while Mr. Bartle is here, you shall have your room to yourself as soon as he goes.
H: How about Rex - you know old Bartle hates dogs. I'll ask the Howards to take him. I'm sure they will - they're such obliging people.
N: And shall he have his breakfast in bed every day? I suppose I. must do that for him. (Door bell) Will you see who that is at the door, Peter?
P.: Yes, Mother, I will. H: Shall I hang up that terrible picture he gave us for a wedding present? He won't like our keeping it in a cupboard.
N: Oh, yes, you must. And we'll have to have dinner at seven instead of tea at six as he likes dinner better.
H: In fact the whole house will be turned upside down, we won't have any peace, and old Bartle is an old fusspot, just as I said.
P: It's a telegram, Mum!
N: Now who's this from? Oh! Well, you can both breathe a sigh of relief. Mr. Bartle won't be coming after all: he's got a cold.
(From "Meet the Parkers" by David Hicks)
III. Comment on the following statements concerning visiting, tact, manners (use facts from the texts to prove, illustrate or refute them):
1. Visits always give pleasure, if not coming, then going ((Portu-. guese proverb). 2. We don't get to know people when they come to us; we must go to them to find out what they are like (Goethe). 3. A perfect guest makes his host feel at home. 4. Good manners is the technique of expressing consideration for the feelings of others.
IV. Topics for discussion:
1. What is your idea of hospitality? How would you describe a perfect host?
2. Would you say there's an art in being a charming guest? Which is more difficult, to be a perfect host or a perfect guest?
3. What do we mean when we say that a person is a "good mixer"? What personal qualities make a "good mixer"?
V. Read the text and retell it:
THE TRANSATLANTIC CONNECTION
Do Americans and Englishmen really speak the same language? It isn't only a question of accents. Spelling and vocabulary are different on either side of the Atlantic, too. Some people would say that the differences are getting fewer. The new 'language' we call 'Transatlantic English' is helping to bridge the gap between our two countries. It's a mixture of British and American characteristics in accent and vocabulary, invented by the increasing number of tourists and businessmen who cross the Atlantic frequently.
The differences in spelling are well known - for instance words like 'colour', humour', and 'neighbour' are spelt without the ‘u’ in the United States. While the British have kept the original spell-
ings of many foreign words now used in the English language, Americans have made a point of simplifying spellings and often change them in ways that seem curious to their more conservative British cousins. 'Catalogue' becomes 'catalog', and even 'cigaret' has been seen for 'cigarette'.
Some of the differences in vocabulary could lead to amusing situations. Did you know that American buildings have no ground floor? This does not mean you have to jump up ten feet to get into them, simply that what the British call the 'ground floor' is what Americans call the 'first floor' and so on - useful to remember in a department store.
If an American says, he is wearing his new 'pants' and 'vest' to a party - do not be alarmed. He is not going in his underwear, but 'pants' and 'vest' are the American words for 'trousers' and 'waistcoat'. On the other hand, if a British person wears his 'mackintosh' and 'Wellingtons' on a rainy day, he will have to explain to his American cousin that these are his 'raincoat' and 'galoshes' or 'rubbers'. In the USA a raincoat is even called a' London fog', something which no longer exists in London.
When an Englishman goes on his 'holidays', an American will go on 'vacation'. Arid whereas an Englishman will be 'ill in hospital', an American will be 'sick in the hospital'.
Americans are more ready to accept new ideas and new customs than their British cousins, and the same goes for new words.
In some cases the British seem more modern in their use of English than the Americans - some American English dates back to the language of the Pilgrim Fathers and hasn't been used in Britain since the seventeeth century. The word 'fall' is considered archaic in Britain, where we use 'autumn' instead. In the USA people use the old-fashioned past participle of 'get' and say 'he has gotten thin' or 'I could have gotten here sooner' when in Britain we would always use 'got'.
How American or English is either of our languages anyway? We both owe a lot to languages from other countries and words that have been absorbed into English tell us much about the histories of Britain and America. Many 'English' words used in Britain actually come from countries of the British Empire, such as 'dinghy' (a small boat) and 'bungalow' (a house on one level), both from India. American English has words taken from all the different nations which have contributed to the formation of North America: 'hooch' meaning 'whisky', is an American Indian word; 'cockroach' (the insect) and 'stampede' (when a herd of cattle runs in panic) come from the original Spanish; the Dutch contributed words such as 'dumb' (stupid) and 'boss' (chief); and it is to the Germans that Americans owe that vital word 'hamburger'.
(From "Moscow News", April, 1978)
VI. Give a talk on the difference between BE and AE, Make up a written outline to guide you.
VII. Read the poem. Try to trace the similarity in the views of the author of the poem and the main character of the story "Liberty Hall". Could you accept this attitude towards life?
IT'S NEVER FAIR WEATHER
By O. Nash (1902-1971)
| I do not like the winter wind
That whistles from the North.
My upper teeth and those beneath,
They jitter back and forth.
Oh, some are hanged, and some are skinned
And others face the winter wind.
I do not like the summer sun
That scorches the horizon.
Though some delight in Fahrenheit,
To me it's deadly prizen.
I think life would be more fun
Without the summering summer Sun.
I do not like the signs of spring,
The fever and the chills,
The icy mud, the puny bud,
The frozen daffodils.
Let other poets gaily sing;
I do not like the signs of spring.
I do not like the foggy fall
That strips the maples bare;
The_radiator's mating call,
The dank, rheumatic air.
I fear that taken all in all,
I do not like the foggy fall.
The winter sun, of course, is kind,
And summer wind's a savior,
And I'll merrily sing of fall and spring
When they're on their good behaviour.
But otherwise I see no reason
To speak in praise of any season.