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1. Communication

1.1. Lead-in



the process by which people exchange information or express their thoughts and feelings

(Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

Forms and Components of Human Communication

Humans communicate in order to share knowledge and experiences. Common forms of human communication include sign language, speaking, writing, gestures, and broadcasting. Communication can be interactive, transactive, intentional, or unintentional; it can also be verbal or nonverbal. Communication varies considerably in form and style when considering scale. Internal communication, within oneself, is intrapersonal while communication between two individuals is interpersonal. At larger scales of communication both the system of communication and media of communication change. Small group communication takes place in settings of between three and 12 individuals creating a different set of interactions than large groups such as organisational communication in settings like companies or communities. At the largest scales mass communication describes communication to huge numbers of individuals through mass media. Communication also has a time component, being either synchronous or asynchronous. There are a number of theories of communication that attempt to explain human communication. However, various theories relating to human communication have the same core philosophy. Communication follows a five-step process, which begins with the creation of a message and then sending it to another individual, organisation or a group of people. This message is received and then interpreted. Finally this message is responded to, which completes the process of communication.


Answer the following questions:

What possible barriers to interpersonal communication can you identify?

How can people communicate in international contexts where people speak different languages?

What language is mainly used in international communication? Why?


Read the following short texts referring to communication and answer the questions that follow.

Text 1.

'Have you ever said to yourself, 'I wish I had spoken up'? Or, 'If only I had introduced myself'? Or, 'Did I say the wrong thing'?
    Conversational Confidence is the answer. Just by listening, you'll master the proven interpersonal skills you need to deal with every individual, every group, every occasion.
    The result? New doors will open to you. You won't hesitate to accept an invitation, to approach someone important, to seize an opportunity. You'll never again feel like an outsider. Success will naturally flow your way--and with less effort than you ever imagined possible.'

~verbalAdvantage (advertisement in The New Republic, March 12, 2001)

Why are people sometimes reluctant to speak up their minds?

What is the role of listening in a conversation?

How can people develop their communication skills?

Text 2.

''Communication' is a registry of modern longings. The term evokes a utopia where nothing is misunderstood, hearts are open, and expression is uninhibited. Desire being most intense when the object is absent, longings for communication also index a deep sense of dereliction in social relationships. 'Communication' is a rich tangle of intellectual and cultural strands that encodes our time's confrontations with itself. To understand communication is to understand much more. An apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer word, the notion illustrates our strange lives at this point in history. It is a sink into which most of our hopes and fears seem to be poured.'

John Durham Peters, Speaking into the Air
A History of the Idea of Communication
(1999, p. 2)

According to the author, how can the nature of communication be defined?

What does the author mean by “inner thought” and “outer word”?

How can misunderstanding appear?

Text 3.

'A word (or in general any sign) is interindividual. Everything that is said, expressed, is located outside the soul of the speaker and does not belong only to him. The word cannot be assigned to a single speaker. The author (speaker) has his own inalienable right to the word, but the listener has his rights, and those whose voices are heard in the word before the author comes upon it also have their rights (after all, there are no words that belong to no one).'

M. Bakhtin Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (Trans. Vern McGee). Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986, p. 121.

  1. What do words refer to?
  2. The same word may mean different things to different persons. Try to explain how this happens.
  3. How do new words appear in a language?

1.3. Vocabulary development

In each text some words have been written in bold. Use the dictionary to study the meaning of the words and phrases given below. Try to derive as many words as possible starting from the ones given.


master noun

mastery noun

master copy noun


master key noun

master bedroom noun

master class noun

master switch noun

masterpiece noun

master of ceremonies noun

Master's degree noun

Master of Science noun

Master of Arts noun

Master of Philosophy noun

master verb

master adjective

masterful adjective

masterly adjective

be your own master

seize verb

seize on/upon sth phrasal verb

seize up phrasal verb INFORMAL

seizure noun


dereliction noun

derelict noun

derelict adjective

tangle noun

tangle with sb phrasal verb INFORMAL

strand noun

stranded adjective


sign noun

assign verb

1.4. Language Focus: The Plural of Nouns

In the text under the Lead-in section you can find the word experiences. Is this plural form correct? Could we use the nouns knowledge, information, furniture in the same way?

Revise the plural of nouns, paying special attention to collective and uncountable nouns.

1.5. Functions

Speaking task

Group work

Information exchange

Asking for information – useful expressions

  • Could you tell me?
  • Do you know?
  • Do you happen to know?
  • I'd like to know
  • Could you find out?
  • I'm interested in
  • I'm looking for

Have you ever heard of Esperanto? Try to answer the questions below.

What is Esperanto?

Who constructed Esperanto?

Where does the name 'Esperanto' come from?

What makes Esperanto superior to other languages?

How many people speak Esperanto?

Are there native speakers of Esperanto?

Is the number of speakers growing (at least as fast as the population)?

Where is Esperanto most widely used?

Is Esperanto associated with a particular culture?

What governments support Esperanto?

Have any governments opposed Esperanto?

What makes Esperanto easier to learn than other languages?

(adapted from © 1998 by Donald J. Harlow

The teacher will give you a handout containing information on Esperanto. The information is grouped under the form of questions and answers. There are some questions that have no answers. Another group has them. You will have to go to other groups and ask politely for the information you need. One of you should not leave their place since you have answers that other groups do not have and you will have to provide answers yourself. When giving information, do not read the answer to the person asking for it. Just scan the text and give them a short answer.

You may wish to use some of the expressions given above.

Politica de confidentialitate



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