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, indeed!
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 teaching problems.
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 University.
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.
Ter-Minasova Svetlana Grigorievna
Professor Svetlana Ter-Minasova (PhD) is 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, and the President of National Association of Teachers of English in Russia since its foundation in 1996.
She was awarded various prestigious orders and medals by the Russian Government and the Russian Orthodox Church. She lectured across the USSR, Russia and many other countries, and was conferred the honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from the University of Birmingham (UK), Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New-York (USA), and Honorary professor of Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University.
She has published more than 160 books and papers both in Russian and English on Foreign Language Teaching, Linguistics and Cultural Studies.