Spoken English: A Foundation Course (Part 1 & 2)

Kamlesh Sadanand & Susheela
Spoken English: A Foundation
Course (Part 1&2).
New Delhi: Orient Longman Pvt. Ltd,
2008, Price Rs. 275.
By: Kamlesh Sadanand & Susheela Punita.BR_spoken_english
New Delhi: Orient Longman Pvt. Ltd, 2008
Price: Rs.275.00

Course is a set of two books with one audio CD with each book. The books, in the words of the authors, have been specially designed for students who ‘have have had a regional language as the medium of instruction at school and who have had little or no exposure to spoken English.’ The course proposes to help average Hindi speaking students at the intermediate and undergraduate levels and prepare them to be at par in the speaking skills with those who come through English medium schools.

The course has been designed by two highly experienced professors of English who have long years of experience in materials development in ELT and conducting workshops. It comprises 11 modules, Part 1 of which contains 6 modules including one module having four Appendices. Part 1 aims at introducing students to those basic language functions that are easy to acquire with very little effort and would also help students gain fluency in the spoken language. Students are given practice in greeting people, introducing themselves to others, talking about people and persons, answering telephone calls and taking town messages, calling for help in emergency, giving instructions and seeking clarifications, making requests and responding to them, asking for directions and giving directions, thanking someone, inviting someone and accepting and refusing invitations, apologizing, talking about the weather, describing daily routines, and talking about possession and current events. Book 1 (in its four Appendices) besides giving students practice in the sounds of English consonants and vowels also helps them to distinguish between spellings and sounds of English, and relationship between them.

Part 2 contains five modules. It aims at helping students to gain accuracy in oral communication and therefore includes those functions of English that are challenging and involve relatively complex language structures. Students get practice in giving an opinion or an advice, making suggestions and complaints, expressing likes and dislikes, offering condolences, persuading and dissuading, expressing possibility, obligation and necessity, etc.

The course is based on sound understanding of principles of language learning. Since optimal language learning depends on an extensive exposure to a contextualized use of language, a lot of pair /group work activities that require students to repeat the samples of simulated dialogues have been designed for them to practice. It is hoped that if students practise the listening and speaking activities included in the book, they would be able to extend this knowledge to real life situations.

These books on Spoken English will fill a gap in the ELT books available in the market. Most of the existing books on Spoken English are either meant for young learners or are written for alien settings. There are very few books on the subject that have been written for those students who come from the rural and semi urban backgrounds who need these books the most. The activities in these books are self instructional and are quite learner friendly. The two audio CDs that accompany the books will not only help students improve their pronunciation of words but also sensitize them to the intonation patterns of English language. One must commend the quality of voices used in recording the dialogues.

These books will prove to be a great asset and resource even to the English teachers who is always in search of resources for teaching this skill which, though very important at the work place and in other important domains of daily life, remains neglected for want of teachers and facilities.

* Article first published in FORTELL newsletter, issue no. 15

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