Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Modern English Course for Foreign Students

C. E. Eckersley, " A Modern English Course for Foreign Students"
1958 | PDF | 10 MB

SOME years ago a well-known teacher of English wrote in a letter to the Educational Manager of Longmans:
" . . . Twenty-five years' experience at Continental universities has shown me that what is still lacking is a short book, with illustrations, of things English, an English house, furniture, bills of fare, theatres, racecourse, football field, golf links ; typical English scenes (not Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, Tower Bridge), advertisements, school programmes, university life, clothing and all the common things of everyday life, shopping, post office, flying, motoring, sport; briefly, everyday life in England. That is what is wanted badly on the Continent."
It is hoped that this present volume will help towards supplying that want. The student who knows no English at all can make a beginning with this book, but those students who have already a slight knowledge of English can telescope the first ten lessons into two or three and will then find, I think, material that is new to-them. The main emphasis of the book is on conversational English, and for that reason much of the teaching is in the form of question and answer. For that reason, too, a series of conversations is included in which the ordinary affairs of life, housekeeping, football, buying a suit of clothes, tennis, a visit to the doctor, looking for "digs," etc., are given not in "literary" English but exactly in the colloquial language that would be used in informal talk. It is suggested that in these and the short plays the students should take the parts of the various characters, reading or performing them as naturally as possible.

Though the book is eminently suitable for use in schools it is intended primarily for adult students, and so the vocabulary is "grown-up" rather than childish. In the first few lessons the vocabulary has necessarily been drawn from the objects found in the classroom or admitting of easy demonstration, but after that an effort has been made to gain freshness by the use of the living vocabulary of everyday speech. So there is no mention of the "pen of my aunt," but motor bikes, wireless sets, lipstickand laddered stockings, cocktails and the Stock Exchange do figure in its pages. And though those old familiar friends the Tower, Westminster Abbey, and the British Museum do not appear, the reader is taken to the Derby, an Oxford College, Wimbledon, a Law Court; he has a glimpse of the Boat Race, a motor sale-room, and the "Cheshire Cheese"; he will learn how to make a telephone call, do a crossword puzzle, or order tea at a " Corner House", how to write a business letter, or get a good seat in the train; he will discover the popular brands of cigarettes, and why English people send their sons to Eton. There is still no royal road to learning, and this book does not pretend to teach English without effort-but it has tried to teach English without boredom.

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