The book presents the results of the research in the field of speech formation in relation to the practice of FLT (Foreign Language Teaching) in Russia.
Special attention has been paid to the new problems in linguistics and teaching methods which have arisen in a new Russia --- when the era of international mass communication began. Consequently, modern European languages that died in isolation from the worlds where they were naturaly used are reviving very quickly and, consequently, the sociocultural basis and function of language as a means of international and intercultural communication is now at the focus of scholarly and public attention.
This new edition incorporates new materials on language and culture in the Appendix.
Writing a book is like giving birth to a child. I have given
birth to three children and have published seven books. The
children have grown up and live in their own homes, the
books have been sold out and live in public and private
libraries. This eleventh one, however, is very different and
now that I have to present it to the world I realize that I was
not so nervous and uncertain about the previous ten.
So far I can think of two explanations for this. The first
one is simple and private: I am not getting younger or stronger
with years. The second is more complicated and general: the
world I am presenting my new creation to is different.
Indeed, my previous offsprings were born into the world
of my country, my compatriots, our general culture, traditions,
mentality, worldview. I could easily foresee all reactions, all
likes and dislikes, curses and applause.
Now, with all the quick and drastic changes in the
Russian political and economic situation, with doors and
windows opened and curtains raised we suddenly have
become part of a huge, new, unknown world inhabited by
peoples with strange cultures, odd traditions, weird mentality
and worldview. And to present your child, your book, your
ideas and observations to the judgement of this mysterious
and frightening crowd does make one nervous and uncertain,
I realize at the same time that the rest of the world may
be uneasy too about the sudden emerging of Russia as an
unknown, unidentifiable unit in the world community. This
painful process is being accompanied by all kinds of clashes:
economic, cultural educational, etc. The sooner the problems
are settled, the more we learn about each other from decent,
objective and impartial sources -- the better. In this respect
foreign language teaching / learning and its linguistic basis
are of special significance because this is the best real and
realistic way to the peace and friendship which are so much
spoken about. Peace and friendship, cooperation and,
therefore, the future progress of mankind can not be achieved
by politicians or statesmen (history confirms their complete
failure), not even by scientists. But it can be achieved by
linguists and foreign language teachers. Indeed, people cannot
help loving or at least being interested in the country and
people whose language they are wise and diligent enough to
be learning. The best way to understanding (and that does
imply peace and friendship) is through a common language.
This makes the burden of responsibility still heavier because I
would like to present my country in the best possible lightespecially
now that Russia is going through a most dramatic
period of its history. With all these doubts in mind I have
nevertheless made an attempt to give the view from Russia on
language and linguistics, both theoretical and applied, with
special attention to the latter, namely -- foreign language
The objectives of this book (which is based on a series of
papers which I wrote, and which covers the same ground from
different view points from time to time) are to acquaint its
readers -- linguists, foreign language teachers and learnerswith
Russian solutions to the problems of FLT, to share the
author's ideas and the 30 years' experience of both linguistic
studies and foreign language teaching at Moscow State
As it is impossible to cover all problems in this field of
knowledge, the choice of subjects presented in this book has
been determined by the irresistible wish to demonstrate our
strong points (Chapters II and III are devoted to the
theoretical linguistics basis of foreign language teaching), the
natural wish to discuss our weak points (Chapter I dealing
with current foreign language teaching problems) and by the
thrilling novelty of being able to join in investigating the
interaction between language and ways of life of those
countries where modern European languages are used as
means of communication (Chapter IV giving our views on the
sociocultural aspects of FLT).
I would like to dedicate this book to my Teacher, the late
professor Olga Akhmanova, an outstanding Russian linguist,
but do not dare to do this because her memory deserves
nothing less than a masterpiece.
I am very grateful to students and teachers of the
Philological Faculty and the Faculty of Foreign Languages at
Moscow State University where I have been living, studying
and working very happily for 50 years.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to URSS
Publishers for this new, updated edition of the book.
Professor Svetlana Ter-Minasova, Dean and founder of the Faculty of
Foreign Languages and Area Studies at Lomonosov Moscow State University since
1988, founding President of National Association of Applied Linguistics since
1990, President of National Association of Teachers of English in Russia
since its foundation in 1996, holds a doctorate in Philology. She has
published more than 150 books and papers both in Russian and English on
Foreign Language Teaching, Linguistics and Cultural Studies. She has lectured
across the USSR, Russia and many other countries.
Svetlana Ter-Minasova is the author of a number of scholarly papers, which
were published in various countries: Язык и межкультурная коммуникация
(2000); Война и мир языков и культур (2007); Word-Combination: Theory and
Method (1974); What is to be Done About Foreign Language Teaching at the
University Level. Proceedings of the Symposium on "The Teaching of Foreign
Languages in European Universities" (1990); Traditions and Innovations:
English Language Teaching in Russia // World Englishes. November 2005. Vol. 24.
N 4; Blackwell Publishing Oxford, UK and Boston, USA; etc.