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Unit 11 Language and communication


    1. Janet and Betty are talking about language ability and job hunting.Janet: Betty, I heard you were looking for a job. Have you found one yet?Betty: I’m getting discouraged, and frustrated. I went to the weekly job market the

    day before yesterday. But no one was really wanting to hire an English major.Janet: I quite agree with you. I went there, too. I found that many of the companies

    there were only looking for people with more skills.

    Betty: I can't agree with you more. You went there, too? Have you had any job


    Janet: You know, I have learned computer and I know it quite well. A quite prosperous

    company would give me an interview.

    Betty: How wonderful! Tell me about it.

    Janet: You know I am familiar with Word Perfect. The first person I talked with

    showed great interests in me. When they found I. was able to speak very good

    English, they were even more impressed. You know they just want people with

    combination of skills.

    Betty: I was hoping to find a sales job with an import-export company.Janet: You'd be good at that kind of job. Your English is very good. You are interested

    in business. One of my friends has been working in an import-export company

    for many years, and now he is the personnel manager of that company. If you

    would like, I will call him and ask him to help you find a job there.Betty: I would really appreciate that. I know some of my classmates have found jobs

    in that area. Thank you for your help.

    Janet: You are welcome.


    1. Has Betty found a job?

    2. What is Betty’s major?

    3. What kind of job does she want?

    2. Joan and Martin are talking about different kinds of language.

    Joan: Martin, why are there so many different languages. In Europe, if you travel

    more than a hundred miles, you are likely to find people speaking a completely

    different language.

    Martin: Well. It’s true to say that there are hundreds and hundreds of different

    languages. Most European languages belong to the Indo-European group of


    Several hundred years ago, communication was by word of mouth. That is perhaps

    the reason why we have so many languages today.

    Joan: What do you think of the universal language like Esperanto? Do you think it

    will take the place of other languages?

    Martin: Esperanto is an artificial language. I don’t see very much chance for it. I think

    people will work towards the most convenient language to use, and they won’t

    bother to learn a new language. It seems to me that either English, Russian or

    Chinese will be the language of the future.

    Joan: Then, what is your opinion on the fact that so few British people speak a second


    Martin: The reason perhaps is that British people think that foreigners always speak

    English. There is no use for them 10 learn a second language.

    Joan: What do you think is the best way to learn a second language?

    Martin: Well, I think the best way is to live in that country. In that case, you have to

    communicate with the people there, and you have to go shopping and buying

    daily necessities. So you are just surrounded by people who speak that

    language. Then you’ll have great interest in learning that language.Joan: It’s so nice talking with you. See you.

    Martin: See you later.


    1. Will Esperanto take the place of other languages according to Martin’s opinion?2. Why do so few British people speak a second language?

    3. What does Martin think is the best way to learn a second language?Passage

    How to Read Body Language

    All of us communicate with one another nonverbally, as well as with words. Most of the time we’re not aware that we’re doing it. We gesture with eyebrows or a hand, meet someone else’s eyes and look away, shift positions in a chair. These actions we assume are random and incidental. But researchers have discovered in recent years that there is a system to them almost as consistent and comprehensible as language.

    Every culture has its own body language, and children absorb its nuances along with spoken language. A Frenchman talks and moves in French. The way an Englishman crosses his legs is nothing like the way a male American does it. In talking, Americans are apt to end a statement with a droop of the head or hand, a lowering of the eyelid. They wind up a question with a lift of the hand, a tilt of the chin or a widening of the eyes. With a future-tense verb they often gesture with a forward movement.

    There are regional idioms too: An expert can sometimes pick out a native of Wisconsin just by the way he uses his eyebrows during ? conversation. Your sex, ethnic background, social class and personal style all influence your body language. Nevertheless, you move and gesture within the American idiom.

    The person who is truly bilingual is also bilingual in body language. New York’s famous mayor, Fiorello La Guaridia, politicked in English, Italian and Yiddish. When films of his speeches are run without sound, it’s not too difficult to identify from his gestures the language he was speaking. One of the reasons English-dubbed foreign films often seem flat is that the gestures don’t match the language.

    Usually, the wordless communication acts to qualify the words. What the nonverbal elements express very often, and very efficiently, is the emotional side of the message. When a person feels liked or disliked, often it’s a case of “not what he said but the way he said it.” Psychologist Albert Mehrabian has devised this formula: total impact of a message =7 percent verbal +38 percent vocal +55 percent facial. The importance of the voice can be seen when you consider that even the words “I hate you” can be made to sound sexy.

    Experts in kinesics-the study of communication through body movement-are not prepared to spell out a precise vocabulary of gestures. When an American rubs his nose, it may mean he is disagreeing with someone or rejecting something. But there are other possible interpretations, too.

    One of the most potent elements in body language is eye behavior. Americans are careful about how and when they meet one another’s eyes. In our normal conversation, each eye contact lasts only about a second before one or both individuals look away. When two Americans look searchingly into each other’s eyes,

    emotions are heightened and the relationship becomes more intimate. Therefore, we can carefully avoid this, except in appropriate circumstances.

    Americans abroad sometimes find local eye behavior hard to interpret. “People stared right at me on the street, they looked me up and down. I kept wondering if I was uncombed or unzipped.” Finally, a friend explained that Israelis think nothing of staring at others on the street.

    Proper street behavior in the United States requires a nice balance of attention and inattention. You are supposed to look at a passerby just enough to show that you’re aware of his presence. If you look too little, you appear haughty or secretive; too much, and you’re inquisitive. Usually what happens is that people eye each other until they are about eight feet apart, at which point both cast down their eyes. In parts of the Far East it is impolite to look at the other person at all during conversation: In England the polite listener stares at the speaker attentively and blinks his eyes occasionally as a sign of interest. That eye-blink says nothing to Americans, who expect the listener to nod or to murmur something-such as “mm-hmm”.

    There are times when what a person says with his body gives the lie 10 what he is saying with his tongue. Thus, a man may successfully control his face, and appear calm, self-controlled unaware that signs of tension and anxiety are leaking out, that his foot is beating the floor constantly, restlessly, as if it had a life of its own. Rage is another emotion feet and legs may reveal. During arguments the feet often become tense. Fear sometimes produces barely perceptible running motions, a kind of nervous leg jiggle. Then there are the subtle, provocative leg gestures that women use, consciously and unconsciously.

    Recent studies by psychologists suggest that posture often reflect a person’s attitude toward people he is with. One experiment indicates that when men are with other men they dislike, they relax either very little or very much -- depending on whether they see the other man as threatening. Women in this experiment always signaled dislike with very relaxed posture. And men, paired with women they disliked were never tense enough about it to sit rigidly.

    While children learn spoken and body language-proper postures, eye behaviors, etc. they also learn a subtle thing: how to react to space around them. Man walks around inside a kind of private bubble, which represents the amount of airspace he feels he must have between himself and other people. As adults, however, we hide our feelings behind a screen of polite words.

    Anthropologist Dr. Edward T Hall points out that, for two unacquainted adult male North Americans, the comfortable distance to stand for private conversation is from arm’s length to about four feet apart. The South American likes 10 stand much closer, which creates problems when the two meet face to face. For, as the South American moves in, the North American feels he’s being pushy; and as the North American backs off the South American thinks he’s being standoffish.

    The American and the Arab are even less compatible in their space habits. Arabs like close contact. In some instances, they stand very close together to talk, staring intently into each other’s eyes and breathing into each other’s face. These are actions the American may associate with sexual intimacy and he may find it disturbing to be subjected to them in a nonsexual context.

    The amount of space a man needs is also influenced by his personality -- introverts, for example, seem to need more elbowroom than extroverts.

    George du Maurier once wrote: “Language is a poor thing. You fill your lungs with wind and shake a little slit in your throat and make mouths, and that shakes

the air; and the air shakes a pair of little drums in my head… and my brain seizes your

    meaning in the rough. What a roundabout way and what a waste of time?”

    Communication between human beings would be just that dull if it were all

    done with words. But actually, words are often the smallest part of it.


    1. What is the main idea of the passage?2. What is the main idea of Paragraphs 2, 3 and 4?

    3. What does kinesics of study?4. What is one of the most potent elements in body language?

    5. What influences the amount of space a man needs?

    Words and Expressions







    absorb ,


    be apt to

































    leak out















    Section I Listening Comprehension

    Part A

    For Questions I -5, you will hear a passage about Mark Twain. While you listen, fill out the table with the information you have heard. Some of the information has been given to you in the table. Write only 1 word in each numbered box.

    Information about Mark Twain

    Mark Twain was born in the year of (1.)

    His father died when he was about (2.)

    He worked on newspapers as a (3.)

    He travelled around the country giving lectures and earning enough money to go to (4.)

    He didn’t travel much the last 10 (5.)

    Mark Twain, who wrote the story we are going to read, travelled quite a lot, often because circumstances, usually financial circumstances, forced him to. He was born in Florida, Missouri, in 1835, and moved to Hannibal, Missouri, with his family when he was about four years old. Most people think he was born in Hannibal, but that isn’t true. After his father died when he was about 12, Twain worked in Hannibal for a while and then left so that he could earn more money. He worked for a while as a typesetter on various newspapers and then got a job as a river pilot on the Mississippi. Twain loved this job and many of his books show it. The river job didn’t last however, because of the outbreak of the Civil War. Twain was in the Confederate army for just two weeks, and then he and his whole company went west to get away from the war and the army.

    In Nevada and California, Twain prospected for silver and gold without much luck, but did succeed as a writer. When that happened, Twain travelled around the country giving lectures and earning enough money to go to Europe. Twain didn’t' travel much the last 10 years of his life and he didn’t publish much either. Somehow his travel, even when forced, inspired his writings. Like many other popular writers, Twain derived much of the materials for his writing from the wealth and diversity of his own personal experiences.

Part B

    For Questions 6 -10, you will hear a passage about Gesture. While you listen, complete the sentences and answer the question. Use not more than 3 words for each answer.

    Over the years, more nonsense has been written about gesturing than about any other aspects of (6.)

    There is nothing to the popular notion that public speakers must have a vast repertoire of (7.)

    Whatever gestures you make should not draw attention to themselves and distract from (8.)

    At this stage of your speaking career, you have many more important things to concentrate on than (9.)

    In the meantime, make sure your hands do not upstage (10.


    Over the year, more nonsense has been written about gesturing than about

    other aspects of speech delivery. Adroit gestures can add to the impact of a speech: but there is nothing to the popular notion that public speakers must have a vast repertoire of graceful gestures. Some accomplished speakers gesture frequently; others hardly at all. The primary rule is this. Whatever gestures you make should not draw attention to themselves and distract from your message. They should appear natural and spontaneous, help to clarify your ideas, and be suited to the audience and occasion.

    At this stage of your speaking career, you have many more important things to concentrate on than how to gesture. Gesturing tends to work itself out as you acquire experience and confidence. In the meantime, make sure your hands do not upstage your idea. Avoid flailing them about, wringing them together, cracking your knuckles, or toying with your rings. Once you have eliminated these distractions,

    forget about your hands. Think about communicating with your listeners, and your gestures will probably take care of themselves - just as they do in conversation.Part C

    You will hear one passage and one dialogue. Before listening to each one, read the questions related to it. While listening, answer each question by choosing A, B, C or D. You will hear each piece ONLY ONCE.

    11. What is the main idea of the passage?

    [A] Introducing expressions with “soap”.

    [B] Introducing expressions with “opera”.

    [C] Introducing most popular American expressions.

    [D] Introducing popular political expressions.

    12. What are the “soap” expressions mentioned in the passage?

    [A] Soap operas. [B] Soap boxes.

    [C] To soft-soap a person. [D] All of the above.

    13. What are soap operas?

    [A] Soap operas are about unreal people with serious emotional problems.[B] Soap operas are about real people with serious emotional problems.[C] Soap operas are about unreal people without any emotional problems.[D] Soap operas are about real people without any emotional problems.14. Today who is said to be on a soap box'!

    [A] Anyone who sells soap.[B] Anyone who talks

    endlessly about a cause.

[C] Anyone who stands on a soap box.[D] None of the above.

    15. What does “to soft-soap a person” mean?

    [A] To try every means to gain a person's support.

    [B] To try to influence a person.

    [C] To use kind words to get the person to do what you want.

    [D] To send soft soap to people.

    Every culture has its own way of saying things, its own special expressions.

    These are the living speech of a people. The" soap" expressions in English are just

    one example.

    Soap operas are radio and television plays about the problems and emotions in human relationships.

    They are called soap operas, because the first programs-years ago-were paid for by soap-making companies. Like musical operas, soap operas are not about real people. And critics charge that they do not represent a balanced picture of real life. They note that almost everyone in a soap opera has a serious emotional problem, or is guilty of a crime. And there are several crises in every program.

    Yet, soap opera fans do not care about what the critics say. They love the programs and watch them every day. Such loyalty has made soap operas very popular in the United States. In fact, A few programs are so popular that they have been produced with the same actors for many years.

    Another expression that uses the word soap is “soap box”. There was a time when soap and other products were shipped in wooden boxes. The boxes were small, but strong. You could stand on one to see over the heads in a crowd. Soap boxes were a simple, easy way to make yourself taller if you wanted to give a public speech. Such soapbox speeches usually were political. The speakers shouted their ideas to anyone who walked by. Many talked for hours.

    Today, you don’t need a wooden box to make a soapbox speech. Anyone, anywhere, who talks endlessly about a cause is said to be on a soap box, another, quieter way to win support or gain influence is to “soft-soap” a person. This means to use praise or other kind words to get the person to do what you want.16. How long has Sarah been learning English?

    [A] Six years. [B] Six months.

    [C] Sixteen years.[D] Sixteen months.

    17. According to 8i1l, who aim at an ideal pronunciation in English?[A] Those who want to be teachers. [B] Those who want to be


    [C] Those who want to be secretaries. [D] Both A and 8.

    18. What does Sarah want to be in the future?

    [A] A teacher.[B] An interpreter.

    [C] An editor. [D] A doctor.

    19. According to Bill, why don’t children want to speak English with a native-speaker pronunciation?

    [A] They want 10 be different from native-speakers.

    [B] They can’t speak so well.

    [C] They want to be the same as their friends.

    [D] They aren’t I taught to speak so.

    20. What is the main reason given by Bill why adults find pronunciation difficult?[A] They are very shy. [B] They want to keep their national


    [C] They are very anxious.[D] They are affected by their own language habits.

    Sarah: I have been learning English for about six years. I still find pronunciation very

    hard. Do you think I should aim to speak English with a native-speaker


    Bill: I think, in learning English, the most important thing is to be understood easily.

    For most learners, it is not necessary to speak like a native-speaker.

    Sarah: But I want to be an interpreter after graduation. I think pronunciation is quite

    important for me.

    Bill: That’s true. For those who want to be teachers or interpreters, an ideal

    pronunciation is the ultimate goal.

    Sarah: I find some children do not want to speak English with a native-speaker


    Bill: In general, children can imitate strange sounds very easily well. However, it is

    true that most children do not want to sound “English” when they are speaking


    Sarah: Yes. I found that too, I just wonder why they don’t want to sound “English”.Bill: I think the main reason is that most of them want to belong to a group. Even if a

    child can speak English like a native-speaker, he or she will usually choose not

    to -unless the rest of the group speak with a native-speak pronunciation.Sarah: Adults usually find pronunciation very difficult, though they try very hard to

    imitate the native-speaker pronunciation.

    Bill: Many reasons have been offered for the difficulties which many adults find with

    pronunciation. But if an adult really wants to achieve a native-speaker

    pronunciation, he or she can.

    Sarah: Really. This encourage me greatly. But I still find it’s hard for adults. I don’t

    know why.

    Bill: I think the main reason is that adult students have a strong sense of national


    Sarah: A sense of national identity. I don't quite understand it.

    Bill: They want to be identified as a German or Brazilian speaking English. In my

    opinion, this sense of national identity is more important than other

    explanations, such as the greater anxiety of adults or the effect of their own

    language habits.

    Sarah: Maybe you are right. Anyway, I will try to perfect my English pronunciation.Supplementary Reading

    The Art of Conversation

    In San Francisco once I belonged to a small group which met weekly for the purpose of reviving the lost art of conversation. We realized that there is a fundamental principle underlying good talk. This principle -- the basis of all good manners-Is the avoidance of friction in social contacts, emotional friction caused by irritation, boredom, envy, egotism or ridicule. Here are some of the rules we finally adopted to guide our conversation and make it a delightful game.

    1. Avoid all purely subjective talk. Don’t debate on your health, troubles, domestic matters and never discuss your wife or husband. Streams of personal gossip and egotism destroy all objective discussions of art, science, history, the day’s news, sport or whatever. Such chatter bores the listener, and the talker, repeating what he already knows, nothing learned from others.

    2. Don’t monopolize the conversation. One of my friends was a laughing, attractive person, who told stories well -- but too many of them. You roared with laughter, but after a while you grew restless and yearned for more quiet, comfortable talk with plenty of give and take. You could not help remembering what John Dryden sold about those “who think too little, and who talk too much” Or what Sydney Smith wrote of Macaulay, “he has occasional flashes of silence, that makes his conversation perfectly delightful.”

    3. Don’t contradict. You may say “don’t quite agree with that”, but flat contradiction is a conversation-stopper. One should seek to find points of agreement. In that way the subject develops in interest with each one’s contribution.” That is the happiest conversation,” said Samuel Johnson, “where there is no competition, but a calm quiet interchange of sentiments.”

    4. Don’t interrupt. Of course when you throw a few grace notes into the talk, such as “How wonderful!” or “You mean she didn’t know?”, it doesn’t put the train of conversation off the track. But to interpolate views of your own often leaves the speaker hanging uncomfortably in midsentence.

    5. Don’t abruptly change the subject. Some people after patiently-and painfully-waiting for a talker to pause a moment, jump into the conversation with a totally new subject. In our Conversation Club it was an unwritten rule that after a person stopped talking there should be a brief silence in which to reflect digest and appreciate what had been said. It is the proper tribute to anyone who has offered an idea for consideration.

    6. Show an active Interest in what is said. This brings out the best in a speaker. You need not only your ears to listen well, but your eyes, hands and even pasture. I have often tested an article I have written by reading it aloud to friends. What they said about it never helped much since one often liked what another didn’t. But if their eyes went to a picture on the wall, if their fingers fiddle, I knew the

    manuscript wasn’t holding their interest and 1 marked the dull spot for revision.

    7. After a diversion, bring back the subject. Often while a subject is not yet fully considered, it is lost in same conversational detour. There is no surer test of being able to converse well than reintroduce this forgotten topic. This is not only polite and gracious, but it is the best evidence of real interest.

    8. Don’t make dogmatic statements of opinion. If is considered vulgar to make any definite, decisive statement. One may speak of anything, but never with an expression of finality. The remark is left up in the air for the next guest to enlarge upon, so that no one is guilty of forcing any personal opinion upon others.

    9. Speak distinctly. Those who spoke slowly and clearly dominated our meeting. High, hurried voices simply couldn’t compete with Ellis Parker Butler’s deliberate words, and his voice maintained his leadership for years. If you observe a group talking, you will find that the one with a low, controlled voice always gets the most respect.

    The secret is simple. To talk well one must think well. You must think underneath the subject, above it and all around it.

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