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Говоріння



Говоріння

D 9

 

— Eugene, is this going to be your first trip to England?

— Oh, yes; I’m looking forward to it very much.

— Well, let me compliment you on your English. You speak it very well. Where did you learn it?

— At the polytechnic, during my studies there. You have to study a foreign language; it’s a compulsory subject.

— How much time did you spend studying English?

— Oh, if I remember correctly, in the first two years of our studies we had about... 240 hours of English.

— And why did you choose English in particular?

— Ah, to tell you the truth, I don’t really know. I suppose I chose it because I liked it. You know, I studied German at school, and after German, English isn’t very difficult. They’re very similar languages.

— Really? I’m not sure that I agree with you. I hated German at school.

— Well, maybe they’re not very similar. Anyway, I passed my exam in English quite easily. Then it was time to get a regular job. After that, I took up French, and then Spanish, as a hobby.

— Well, I think you’re very talented! I don’t know any more than ten words of Russian. And I started to prepare for my trip to Moscow a long time ago.

— What did you do?

— Oh, I did the usual things: I bought a dictionary, and a guide book and a phrase book. I spent a fortune on books!

— Did you go to any classes?

— I’m afraid not. But I joined a library where they had Russian books and tapes. I began to listen to a Russian course on tape. But it got me nowhere.

— Aaah, that’s too bad. But you did your best, didn’t you?

— I suppose so. But the best just wasn’t good enough.

— Ah, Judy, I sympathise with you, only too well. I wanted to learn English as quickly as possible. I went to my college, and asked the head of the Foreign languages department to help me.

— What did he do?

— Well, he recommended a very good teacher. This teacher was born in England and English is his native language. I started attending his classes, and we met twice a week. I took about 100 lessons, and I worked very hard.

— Did you learn much English?

— Well, my teacher was very satisfied but I wasn’t. I succeeded in learning some elementary things, that’s all. My pronunciation is still very poor and my grammar leaves much to be desired. I speak very slowly and find it difficult to understand English when people speak it very fast.

— I think you’re being a little modest. Your English sounds good to me.

— Oh, thank you, I try.

— What foreign language did you learn at school?

— Well, none really.

— How come? I thought that everyone studied a foreign language at school. Isn’t it a compulsory subject?

— Oh it certainly is. I had a German teacher. I remember her well: she was tall and thin. She had red hair and fierce blue eyes. She was very sarcastic.

— Yes, teachers are often sarcastic.

— This one was awful! She frightened us to death. She taught us the alphabet and she taught us to read aloud. But she didn’t allow us to think for ourselves. So we studied the language but we didn’t learn it.

— I understand what you mean. A foreign language is a skill. It’s not something that you learn parrot fashion.

— Yes, with a language what matters is to use it to communicate. To learn it properly you have to try and use the language you want to master
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