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AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO RUSSIAN CONVERSATION Beeld Ges aes ay LET’S TALK ABOUT LIFE! An Integrated Approach to Russian Conversation EMILY TALL VALENTINA VLASIKOVA State University of New York at Buffalo ®) JOHN WILEY & SONS, INC. New York + Chichester - Brisbane - Toronto - Singapore CoveR PHOTO Stock Boston Cover Desicn Meryl Lavavi AcQUISETIONS EDITOR Carlos Davis MARKETING MANAGER Leslie Hines SENIOR PRODUCTION EDITOR Jeanine Fusino DESIGNER Lee Goldstein MANUFACTURING COORDINATOR Dorothy Sinclair PuoTo RESEARCHER Mary Ann Price OUTSIDE PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT Ingrao Associates Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data ‘Tall, Emily ‘Le's talk about lifel : an integrated approach to Russian conversation / by Emily Tall, Valentina Viasikova, pom, Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-471-30939-7 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1 Russian language—Conversation and phrase books—English, I. Viasikova, Valentina. M1. Title. PG2I21.735 1996 891.73'421—de20 95-52006 ‘This book was set in Times Transeyrillic by Alexander Graphics and printed and bound by R. R. Donnelley & Sons. The cover was printed by Lehigh Press. Recognizing the importance of preserving what has been written, iti a policy of, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. o have books of enduring value published in the United States printed on acid-free paper, and we exert our best efforts to that end. Copyright © 1996, by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Al sights reserved, Published simultaneously in Canada. Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act without the permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. Requests for permission or further information should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-30939-7 / (pbk) Printed in the United States of America w98765432 PREFACE Let's Talk About Life: An Integrated Approach to Russian Conversation is a proficiency-oriented textbook for third-year and fourth-year students of Russian. Its goal is to prepare students to converse on topics that engage their minds and emotions and that are of concem to them and to their Russian counterparts. The book is based on the premise that comprehension is essential to the development of conversation. It fills a gap in postintermediate and advanced-level materials by integrating authentic reading and listening with extensive practice in the development of vocabulary and conversational skills. Themes. The book is divided into nine thematic chapters, one on each of the following topics: personal life, university life, rock music, alcohol and narcotics, sexuality, religion, men and women, social problems (crime, the economy, ecology), and an optional chapter on Russia and the West. The material is designed to be covered in one semester, but could be used for two semesters in combination with grammar, word formation, and other topics. Chapter Sections. Each chapter contains four sections. The first presents vocabulary pertinent to the topic. The second contains a variety of contemporary readings: short stories, essays, news and feature articles, and letters to the editor. The third section focuses on listening. Taped interviews with nine different native speakers, male and female, provide students with 10 to 15 minutes per chapter of unrehearsed conversation as well as valuable cultural insights on each topic. The interviews are divided into segments for easy listening and include aids to comprehension and pre- and postlistening exercises. Each lesson includes an optional section on word study and concludes with a summing up section that facilitates review and integration of the material. Throughout the book a wide range of exercises develop speaking skills and encourage meaningful conversation, Tasks are personalized and designed to simulate real-life situations. Glossary. In addition to its nine lessons, Let's Talk about Life contains a Russian-English glossary. vi PREFACE Supplements. The audio supplement comprises the interviews as well as the five rock songs from Chapter 3. The teacher’s manual includes suggestions on how to use the book, a sample syllabus, a section on aids to reading, tape scripts of the interviews, and a list of supplementary readings and films. TO THE TEACHER What to Cover. Each chapter of Let's Talk about Life can be covered in six 50-minute classes, with the first class devoted to vocabulary, the next three to reading, the fifth to listening, and the sixth to summing up. Speaking, of course, occurs every day. Using this approach, seven lessons can be covered in a 15: week semester, with the remaining hours devoted to testing, films, or additional work on any one chapter. This type of schedule is by no means obligatory, The structure of the book allows for maximum flexibility, Teachers may find that they wish to cover fewer chapters and spend more time on them, depending on their own preference and that of the class. Coverage could also be cut to four or five days by using only one reading, for example (major readings are marked), or by omitting the summing-up section. The important thing is to keep discussion going in Russian, to develop student self-expression on whatever topics are covered, and to maintain student interest, ‘The structure of Chapters 8 and 9 differs slightly from that of the others. Chapter 8 is divided into three shorter sections: crime, economic problems, and ecology. There is no interview for the ecology section and, to facilitate comprehension, its rather specialized vocabulary is presented in readings and a dialog first, with a list of words for active use at the end. Chapter 9 (“Russia and the West”) consists mainly of readings and discussion, with vocabulary presented in an introductory section on national stereotypes. Level. Students beginning this text should be at the intermediate or intermediate-high level, according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Although the readings and listening material require advanced skills, care has been taken to work up to this level and to adjust tasks accordingly. For longer, journalistic texts students should be encouraged to skim and scan for information, to look at topic sentences, and to use guessing strategies (see the teacher's manual). The main functions of the readings and taped interviews are to provide comprehensible input, background information, and stimulus for conversation. Speaking skills will inevitably lag behind comprehension, and conversation activities in Let's Talk about Life take this into account, Some can take place without teacher participation, but for others the teacher should play the role of the native speaker in sustaining the conversation. PREFACE vii Writing. Teachers may select the exercises to be written for homework. The goal for writing is for students to be able to express their views as they would in a letter, that is, in informal conversational style. Written assignments in the summing-up section can serve as review and preparation for the last day’s activities Authenticity. All texts except four are taken from published Russian and émigré sources. The essay on happiness was written by a native speaker of Russian, The essays on changes in Russian higher education, Russia's religious revival, and the law on freedom of religion were written by a native speaker in Russia based on ‘material from the Russian press. Some selections have been shortened, Vocabulary. In addition to the vocabulary section at the beginning of each chapter, students should be encouraged to develop their own personalized vocabulary. If they need a word to answer a question or complete an assignment in the text, they should lear it. When a large number of descriptive adjectives is presented, they should concentrate on those they need to describe themselves, their friends, or whatever the task requires. Glossary. The Russian-English glossary may not contain every word that a student may need defined. Students may have forgotten vocabulary from first- or second-year textbooks, for example. We encourage students to purchase a good bilingual dictionary, such as the English-Russian Russian-English Dictionary by Kenneth Katzner. A dictionary of roots, such as George P. Patrick’s Roots of the Russian Language, is also helpful. The Topics Themselves. ‘The authors of this textbook do not intend to advocate any particular point of view. Our goal in class is to build up a warm and supportive atmosphere and to encourage student self-expression. Although in ‘our experience students enjoy talking about themselves, they should not be required to answer any question they consider intrusive. In such cases, they can always participate in the discussion by talking about people they know or people in general. The authors welcome any comments and suggestions. TO THE STUDENT Congratulations! You've made your way through intermediate Russian, know the basic grammar (more or less), and are able to perform basic conversational tasks such as talking about yourself and interacting on an everyday level. You've had some experience reading and listening and you may have socialized with Russians or been to Russia. If so, you may have felt frustrated that you couldn’t express all your thoughts or discuss serious topics. You have