Saturday, March 30, 2013

92. Constructing Discourse

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Exams are always complex tests in which a candidate’s skills – be they passive (comprehension) or active (production) – are measured against a scale.

Out of production skills, writing is, according to almost everybody, the most difficult – even more so when you’re asked to write something which has a particular format, treats a specific topic, and contains the necessary and sufficient number of paragraphs, ideas, and intentionality; at the same time, it should represent the adequate situational context, namely, the implicature of what is written is in consistence with the intentions of the writer, the requirements of the text, and its expected outcome.

Here is one of those models of letters of complaint that First Certificate examiners ask for at virtually all the tests in their kind all over the world.

[Adapted from Test Yourself for First Certificate by Susan Morris and Alan Stanton] 

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

91. Form-Meaning Pairings

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Consider this: if there weren’t a pairing between a semantic structure and a phonological structure, we wouldn’t be able to recognize what we hear, or we wouldn’t be able to convey ideas in communication.
It is a commonplace, for instance, to see in English textbooks at least one exercise trying to explain to students than can is pronounced without a vowel, that /d/ in could is assimilated to the sound in the next word (a verb, if there is no adverb to be placed in between)...

But the best thing to do is to listen and judge for yourselves.

And, in so doing, try your listening comprehension abilities.

The following recording is related to the exercises in the previous post. It would be better to do that first, and then come back to #91.

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