How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately 2nd Edition





Table of Contents
Preface …………………………………………………………………………………..v
Note to the Reader from the Author ……………………………………..xi
What Are Communication tools? ………………………………………….17
Tool #1: Show Your Stuff ………………………………………………………..25
Tool #2: Build Up Your Islands ……………………………………………….35
Tool #3: Shift Gears ………………………………………………………………45
Tool #4: Simplify, Simplify ……………………………………………………….53
Tool #5: Break Away ……………………………………………………………..61
Tool #6: Embellish It ……………………………………………………………..71
Tool #7: Say What? ……………………………………………………………….79
Epilogue: Sandy …………………………………………………………………….87
Teacher Note……………………………………………………………………….93
Chapter Notes ……………………………………………………………………101

What Are Communication tools?



For any person who comes to a foreign country, the challenge of communicating with the inhabitants of that country is of the utmost importance. Without any doubt, the effectiveness of this communication depends first and foremost on the level of the arrivee’s language. The better the command of the foreign language, the more fluid the speech will be; the greater the knowledge of grammar, the richer the vocabulary will be; the more fluid the speech and the richer the vocabulary, the easier the process of communication with the native speaker will be. In other words, the degree of the foreigner’s knowledge of the language determines the nature and success of the communication process between the foreigner and the native speaker. The knowledge of the language of the host country is the primary foundation upon which the quality of language communication depends.
Essentials for Knowing a Foreign Language
What is necessary for an individual to know a foreign language? Naturally, either one must be taught this foreign language by someone else, or one must learn it independently. Most frequently, we see a combination of both of these processes. A student studies at school, or at an university, or in a special language course; the student studies a series of textbooks, memorizes many rules, completes a certain number of exercises, participates in different colloquial situations, writes, reads, translates, listens to foreign radio, studies independently, shows interest in the culture of the target language, and so on—in effect, the student acquires the foreign language.


Definition of Communication Rules
Yet everything discussed above—the acquisition of the
language, the knowledge of the language—have nothing to do
with communication tools.
Communication tools are the combination of
skills which allow a speaker to use most effectively
the level of foreign language in his or her
command.
To make this definition more clear, let us imagine two
groups of students with the same level of knowledge of foreign
language. Let us imagine also that these students have come
to the host country and are capable of observing the quality
of their communication with native speakers. We do not have
to have any great imagination to know that the members of
the two groups will be quite different one from another and
in striking ways. Everyone has seen representatives of each of
these groups. So, let’s see what happens with these two groups
when they are “in action.”


Group #1
These students communicate with the inhabitants of the
host country only with great difficulty. They cannot maintain
a conversation. They answer questions very abruptly. They are
afraid of making mistakes. They await the next question from
their counterpart with fear. In the process of speaking, they
think extensively in their native language. Even worse, when
they speak, they translate from their native language to the foreign
language. They cannot find the necessary words quickly.
In brief, they create an anti-communicative atmosphere with
their counterpart and, as a result, conversation stops.


Group #2
Students in the second group have the same level of knowledge
as students in group #1. However, they conduct their conversations
much better and more effectively. They are able to
maintain conversations even if they do not know all the words
or even fully understand the all the content. They answer
questions smoothly and at some length—as in a conversation
in their own language, creating comfort for their interlocutor.
They make mistakes, but they keep on going; they are not


afraid of “being wrong.” They look forward to the next question
from their counterpart, often setting up the conversation
so that the next question will be one that they can, for sure,
handle. In the process of speaking, they seem to think in the
foreign language; at least, language spills out of them seemingly
effortlessly. They clearly are not translating from their native
language because they use expressions and discourse that
are particular to the foreign language. The words they need
always seem to be at their command. As a result, they create
a communicatively interesting and comfortable environment
with their counterpart, and, as a result, conversation flows unabated.
What is the reason for this difference? The second group
of students intentionally or intuitively use some communication
tools—tools which this book describes.

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