Learning foreign languages

Learning foreign languages is very important, in today's so­ciety. Progress in science and technology has led to an explo­sion of knowledge and has contributed to an overflow of infor­mation. The total knowledge of mankind is known to double every seven years, and foreign languages are needed as the main and the most efficient means of information exchange between the people of our planet. Since Russia is being integrated into the world community, the problem of learning English for the purpose of communication is doubly urgent in our country.

Today English is the language of the world. It is the lan­guage of progressive science and technology, trade and cul­tural relations, commerce and business, the universal language of international aviation, shipping, and sports, and the major language of diplomacy.

Hundreds and hundreds of books, magazines, and newspa­pers are printed in English and read all over the world. Half of the world's scientific literature is written in English. 75% of the world's mail and 60% of the world telephone calls are in English, and it is spoken by more than 350 mil­lion people. Geographically, it is the most widespread lan­guage on earth.

English is the official language of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and from there it has spread to many countries that used to be British colonies, from the USA to South Africa. The number of second-language speakers may soon exceed the number of native speakers, and millions of people all over the world, including Russia, study English as a foreign language.

What does it mean to know a foreign language? There can be many answers to this question. Many Americans, for ex­ample, think that you know a foreign language if native speak­ers understand you. Nobody cares about your mistakes. This is a sensible standard to achieve if you only need the language for occasional tourist trips. However, if you are connected with foreign countries very closely, especially through your work, you'll need a better command of the language. Your pronunci­ation should be standard; you should speak more or less flu­ently and without mistakes. And of course you should under­stand your partner correctly. The latter sometimes is the most difficult part of all and you need to practice to achieve this ability. As to spelling, the necessity of mastering it depends on whether you have to write or not. If you do then of course you should make an effort to learn the English spelling.

There is no universal or ideal method of learning languages. Everybody has his own way, depending on the way their memory works best and on their particular interest. The easiest way to learn the language is to do it while young, that's why today there are lots of classes for preschool children. Very young children learn new words as if it were a game, but for a grown-up it is often quite boring to study grammar or to learn new words. That's why many new methods of learning languages are advertised, from a new system of explaining grammar that makes learning it very easy to video courses and computer programmes and even learning the language while you sleep. Many of those courses promise you good knowledge of the language in a very short time. And it is cer­tain that some things, like computer programmes that give you word-learning drill, are a great help in increasing your vocabulary. However, just knowing a lot of words is not enough to begin speaking the language.

Ultimately to learn a language you need a lot of work and also a lot of practice, the best way is to use a foreign language every day, even if you don't know it well. That's why the language schools abroad became very popular. What can be better than learning En­glish in England where it surrounds you completely and you have a chance to see the practical uses of knowing a foreign language?

However, even if you cannot afford such a course, reading books in the original, listening to the BBC news, and communicating with English-speaking people wherever possible will help a lot. If you are determined and prepared to work, you will be able to master the language and your world will become much wider.


1. explo­sion - прорыв

2. is known – известно

3. used to be – раньше были

4. command - знание

5. аs to – что касается

6. as if – как будто


The purpose of greetings in all languages is the same: to establish contact with another person and to show friendliness.

It is very important to use the correct form of greeting. Do you know, for example, that "Good day" is not exactly the same as "Добрый день?" It is not an arrival greeting, as in other languages. "Good day" is used when leaving, but even then not very often.

"Hello" is the universal form of greeting. It is acceptable in any situation except after a very formal introduction. A friendly "Hello" said with a smile is warm and informal. "Hello" followed by a name is even friendlier and more personal.

"Hi" is a greeting for people who already know one another. "Hi" is an abbreviation of "hiya", which in turn is a corruption of "How are you?" It should never be used in any formal situation.

To people you do not know very well, you may say "Good morning" (until lunch time), "Good afternoon" (until 5-6 pm) and "Good evening" (after 6 pm).

To neighbours, colleagues and other people whom you see regularly, you may say "Morning", "Afternoon", "Evening".

As a greeting people often say "How are you?" Since this widely used phrase implies no sincere interest in an answer, the best response is either "Fine, thank you" or "Very well, thank you".

"How do you do?" is said after formal introductions. You say this without expecting any answer but "How do you do?"


1. сorruption – искажение

2. but – кроме

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