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Unit 1

Introducing People and

Starting a Conversation


Listen, read and talk about...

· yourself and others

· rules of introducing people

· good manners

· culture of communication

Learn how to...

· introduce yourself and others in a formal situation

· introduce yourself and others in an informal situation

· ask questions

· start a conversation

Practice in ...

· introducing yourself and others

· asking questions

· having ‘small talk’


· vocabulary and speech patterns

· basic word order

· word order in questions




Unit 1 Introducing people and starting a conversation

Πbuilding vocabulary for greetings and introductions

  1 In different social situations we need to introduce ourselves and others. Usually we don’t think how to do it in our own language because we just do it. Sometimes we are not sure how to do it in English, so let’s discuss what we know about that. · What do you say introducing yourself? · Do you often take initiative in getting acquainted with people? · How do you greet someone you know well? · Are personal questions appropriate when you first meet a person? · What are ‘safe’ questions? · What sorts of hand gestures are common? What do they mean? · Do people from different cultures have different rules of greeting and introducing themselves and others?  


Developing Communication Skills: Introductions  
2 Are these greetings formal (F) or informal (I)?  
1. Hello. I’m Carol Brown. r
2. Hello there! r
3. How do you do? r
4. Hi! Nice to meet you. r
5. Ladies and Gentlemen! It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Faculty meeting. r
6. Good morning, Mr. Brown. r


3 Choose suitable responses for these expressions.   1. Nice to meet you. a. Pleased to meet you too. b. Hello! 2. How do you do? a. Hi! Haven’t seen you for a long time! b. How do you do? 3. Hello, Jane. How are you? a. Nice to meet you. b. Fine! And how are you? 4. Allow me to introduce Prof. Brown to you. a. Hello. b. How do you do? 5. Hi, mom. This is my fellow student Alex. a. Nice to meet you, Alex. b. How do you do? 6. Miss Follet, let me introduce my colleague, Mr. Brown, to you. a. How do you do? b. I’m glad to see you.

4 Read the dialogues. Decide whether they are taking place in formal (F), semi-formal (S) or informal (I) situations:


1. – Mr. Smith, may I introduce a colleague of mine, Mr. Brown? – How do you do, Mr. Brown? – How do you do? r
2. – This is John Green. He’s our Project Coordinator. – Pleased to meet you, Mr. Green. Did you have a good journey? r
3. – Alan, have you met Linda? She is my groupmate. – Hi, Linda. Nice meeting you. Is this your first visit to the USA? r
4. – Hello, everybody. I’m Nick. Nick Salt. I’m a first year student of philosophy. – Hi, Nick. This is Ann and this is Mary. They are from the Institute of Journalism. – Nice meeting you. How do you like being students? r
5. – Miss Lane, I’d like to introduce you to a colleague of mine. – Certainly. – Miss Lane, this is my colleague, Mr. Kent. Mr. Kent this is Miss Lane. – How do you do? It is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Kent. – It is a pleasure to meet you too, Miss Lane. r


5 Choose from Appendix 1C. Making introductions the most suitable phrases to introduce yourself to:

· your teacher

· your groupmates

^ 6 To get to know each other better introduce yourself and add a sentence or two about yourself. Use some of the following ideas to begin:

Let me introduce myself, my name is Maria and I have high hopes of becoming ... My favourite pastime is ...


Hi, everybody! My name is Pavel. My ambition is ....


My name is Julia. I’m glad to meet you all. I graduated from school ...


Hello everyone! My name is …. I’m happy to be a student. I enjoy ...


 PRACTICING IN ‘small talk’



    – Hi, Maria! You’re from the Department of Philosophy, aren’t you? – Yes, I am. Are you from the Department of Psychology? – Yes, we are. Have you already had your classes of English? – Yes, we had a Placement Test last week and I’m in an advanced group. – Congratulations!    

^ 2 Practice the conversations with a partner. Match a line in A with a reply in B and a further comment in C.


1. What a lovely day it is today! I am enjoying it. Was it a good game?
2. It’s very wet today. Yes, no problems. That’s very kind of you.
3. How are you today? I’m very well, thanks. We had a pub lunch and went for a walk.
4. Did you have a nice weekend? No, I missed it. The plane was a bit late, but it didn’t matter.
5. How are you finding living in London? Thank you. Makes you feel miserable, doesn’t it?
6. Did you have a good journey? Thank you very much. I got it in Paris last year.
7. Did you watch the football yesterday? Yes. How about you?
8. What a lovely coat you’re wearing? Yes, it was lovely. It was a bit strange at first, but I’m getting used to it.
9. If you have any problems, just ask me for help. Mm. Horrible. Beautiful, isn’t it?

²T 1.1. Listen to the tape and check.


²T 1.2.

1.Maria and Jean-Paul are foreign students in Britain. Their teachers are trying to be friendly. Listen to two conversations and decide:

· Which conversation is more successful?

· What makes one conversation more successful than the other?


2.Listen again. Think of necessary additions to Maria’s short answers.

^ Act out the first conversation to make it more successful.


Ž getting acquainted with your groupmates


1 Take a look at the ‘Group portrait’ presented by some students who united under the motto ‘Life-Long Learners’. Restore the questions they asked their groupmates to make this portrait. Write them down.




2 Think of three questions you would like to know about your groupmates .

FOR IDEAS: their favourite food, favourite music, favourite subject, countries they have visited, pets they have, exercises they do to keep fit, their experience in learning English, etc.

^ Go round the class and ask your questions to get material for your short reports. Report to the class what you have found.


”1 3 Work in groups of three and decide how to present the findings of your surveys together. Choose one of these options:

· to write an article “We are people with common interests, yet we are different

· to make a poster “Group Portrait

· to draw a diagram illustrating your common interests and differences.

Be ready to make a short report at your next class.


 AdDressing with GOOD manners


1 How important are good manners for successful communication

a)in professional (business) situations

b)in everyday life?


& 2 Skim the text below. Then decide which of these headings A-D match parts 1-4 of the text.


A. Forms of address accepted in academic community

B. Addressing people in a variety of everyday situations

C. The importance of good manners

D. Titles and forms of address in diplomatic life

Text 1

Do you know the right way to address people in English?



Good manners are said to be the oil that greases the wheels of society. Good manners make it possible for people to live in densely populated places without friction. Courtesy and consideration soften the blows and heighten the pleasures of life. Far from being artificial, good manners are the natural attributes of a civilized person.

Courteous people, regardless of nationality or rank, are concerned with addressing each other properly in formal or informal conversations, as well as in correspondence. There are special books where you can find exact titles of American and foreign officials and information on proper diplomatic, official and social usage.



When you know people well, you just call them by their first name, which is informal:

– Hello, Peter, how are you? – I’m fine, thank you. How are you, Olga?

If you do not know a person well, or if there is a considerable distance in age or status, you should use a ‘title’ Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss. This is more formal:

– Can I speak to Mr. Green, please?

– Ask Ms. Brown, to come in, please.

Remember, that these titles should always be followed by the last name (surname, family name) of the person you are talking to, with one exception only: in Britain children often address women school teachers as Miss. “Sir” and “Madam”, on the other hand, are never followed by a name except in the special case when “sir” is a title (not just a form of address) as Sir Francis Chichester. “Sir” and “madam” used alone show respect for position or seniority. Schoolchildren call their male teachers “sir”, but female teachers are never called “madam”. Soldiers address their officers as “sir”. Young men call older men “sir” as a mark of respect. But “madam” is not used in the same way by young women speaking to older ones.

A police officer, a man or a woman, is addressed as “officer”. A constable is a police officer of the lowest rank in Great Britain:

– Were you aware of the speed you were driving at, madam?

– No, officer.

When addressing an audience “ladies and gentlemen” of “friends” may be used.



Now, when you have become students, it is useful to know that there are two types of academic titles: one is a doctor’s degree, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and the other is an academic position. If the holder of a doctorate is also a professor, he or she may be addressed as “Professor John Smith/ Joanne Smith” rather than “Dr. John/Joanne Smith”. The academic position title is generally used in making introductions. For example: “Professor John/ Joanne Smith of Riverside College”. So, as you see, Professor (prof) is used as a title for high-ranking university teachers or scientists both male and female.

A President, Dean, Professor with a doctoral degree is usually addressed as “Dr.” with his position written on the same line following a comma, or on the line beneath the name. For those without a doctoral degree, the title “Mr.” is used.


While good manners are the rules one follows in everyday contacts with other people, protocol is the set of rules prescribing good manners in official life and in ceremonies involving governments and nations and their representatives. It is a recognized system of international courtesy. The Honorable and His Excellency are the preferred titles used in introducing most high ranking American officials in office or retired. They apply to a foreign Chief of State (the President of a foreign republic), head of government (a Premier, a Prime Minister), a foreign Ambassador and other foreign high officials. For example: The Honorable John Doe Prime Minister of (the name of the country) or His Excellency John Doe Prime Minister of (the name of the country). “The Honorable” is not used in speaking to a person and is never used before a surname only (a position of a person should be mentioned). When addressing a high-ranking person you may use “Your Excellency” without the name of a person.

For personal introductions and in conversation, both professionally and socially, the preferred form is “Mr.” It is used before such titles as “President”, “Vice President”, “Ambassador”, “Minister” and some others. If the official is a woman, the title of “Miss”, or “Mrs.” (or “Madam”) is substituted for “Mr.”, and the surname rather than the formal title is used. For example: “Dear Madam Secretary” (to a woman Cabinet member) or “Dear Mrs. Jones”. In recent years some agencies use “Ms.” when it is known that a woman prefers that title. “Ms.” is not used, however, in diplomatic or official correspondence. In addressing private citizens the same titles of address Mr., Mrs., Miss are used.


Reading Comprehension Tasks


3 Now read the text carefully and answer the questions.

1. Are good manners important for communication? Why?

2. What titles (forms of address) are used in addressing private citizens?

3. How can you address the audience?

4. What titles are used in addressing to high-ranking university teachers?

5. What is ‘protocol’?

6. What is the most preferred title used in introducing high-ranking officials according to a recognized system of international courtesy?

7. What are the forms of addressing people in Belarus?

4 Find words or phrases in the text which mean:

1. polite behavior or a polite action or a remark ____________________________

2. polite and respected, well-mannered people _____________________________

3. large and noticeable distance in age ___________________________________

4. the state of being higher in rank than someone else _______________________

5. a police officer of the lowest rank in Great Britain ________________________

6. a title for high ranking university teachers ______________________________

7. set of rules prescribing good manners in official life ______________________

8. to leave your job or stop working because of old age or ill health ____________


9. having an important position in an organization __________________________

5 Use the text and choose the best words to complete the short conversations below.

1. A. Excuse me, _____ , can I see your driving license?

a Mr. b sir c male

B. I’m sorry, _____ , I don’t seem to have it on me.

a sir b policeman c constable

2. A. _____ ! Can I have a menu, please?

a Sir b Mister c Waiter

B. Here you are, ______ .

a madam b Ms. c Mrs.


3. A. Did you understand the question, _____ Smith?

a Sir b Madam c Miss

B. Yes, I did, my _____ .

a master b lord c majesty

4. A. Very glad to see you again,_____ Horn.

a. madam. b. sir c. Professor


B. Thank you _____. This is a small world.

a. Julia b. Mister c. Madam


 socializing




introductions, greetings,

small talk, saying good-bye


^ 6 Work in pairs or small groups. Prepare a conversation of your own, try to use the most appropriate formulas of introducing, greeting, addressing people and initiating a talk in the following situations. · You are having a drink in a cafe with your friend Harry. Another friend, Mike, comes by. Introduce Harry to Mike. Invite Harry to join you. · You are introduced to an American journalist at a reception. Start a conversation with him/her. · You meet the participants of the International Conference held by  

the Belarusian State University. Introduce yourself and outline the program for the first day of the conference.

· During a coffee break at the conference you are introduced to an American professor. Start a conversation with him/her. You are in Washington at a reception after the International Environmental Conference. Start a series of conversations with different people. Introduce yourself, chat for a few minutes with one guest, then move on to another guest. End each conversation by saying, ‘Well, it’s been nice talking to you, but I really must be going now. See you later, perhaps’. Let the others start a conversation with you and ask questions.


The diagram below will help you to organize your conversation. Practice your conversation so that you can act it out for the rest of the class.


Introducing people Peter, this is Steve. Anita, do you know Dr. Olafson? Alex, I’d like you to meet Steve Jones. Mr. Smith, let me introduce Prof. Rich to you. Have you met Miss Fonda?     ó Greeting people Good morning/afternoon. Good to see you. Hello/Hi! How are you? Hello! Haven’t seen you for ages!

ò ò

Responding Pleased/nice to meet you. How do you do? ó Responding Thanks, fine. Good to see you again.

ø ÷

Making small talk You’re interested in social sciences, aren’t you? I hear / believe you’re from ...? I’ve been told that you’re majoring in ...? Is this your first visit to ...? Have you been here /to ... before? Are you interested in the new project?


Saying good-bye Good-bye. See you later/soon/next week/ at the party. Have a good weekend. It’s been really nice to know you. Keep in touch. You’ve got my e-mail, haven’t you?



Additional Reading to Unit 1 Accumulating knowledge on etiquette of communication

ΠSuggesting ideas on rules of introduction and verifying them


1 Do you know rules of introduction? Fill in ‘your opinion’ column.


  Your opinion Basic rules
1. A woman is always introduced to a man r r
2. The young are presented to the old. r r
3. Being introduced say: ‘How are you?’ r r
4. You stand only in case you are introduced to a woman. r r
5. Being introduced say: ‘Glad to see you’. r r
6 Take each new guest on introduction tour of the room r r


2 Read the text below and verify your answers. Fill in ‘basic rules’ column


Text 1. Do you know the basic rules of introductions?


When introducing people to each other just remember that:

· A man is always introduced to a woman, not a woman to a man.

· The honoured one’s name is said first; the name of the person being presented follows ‘May I present Professor Carter?’, ‘I have the honour to introduce the Dean of our faculty.’ ‘Later on I’d like to present you to the head of the Department.’ – They are all correct, but very formal and a bit stiff for modern usage. In most situations a plain and simple ‘Professor Carter, Mr. Crown’ is enough – or, if you like ‘Professor Carter, this is Mr. Crown’.

· Present the young to the old.

· When you are introduced you stand, whether being introduced to a man or a woman.

· When more than two people are involved in your introduction, forget about rank or sex (for the moment). Mention the newcomer’s name, then the names of the others in the order in which they happen to be sitting or standing at the time.

· At large informal parties in your own house it is a nuisance to everyone to take each new guest on an introduction tour of the room.

· In public places when the meeting is to be brief an introduction is unnecessary.

· If you are on first-name terms with a person you are introducing to a friend, you may say, ‘Bill Carter, Kelly Crown’ or ‘Bill, this is Kelly’.

· Being introduced do not say, ‘How are you?’ Do say, ‘How do you do?’ (formal) or ‘Hello!’ (informal). Only after this routine you can say, ‘Pleased to meet you’, or ‘Nice to meet you’.

^ 3 Discuss in small groups the value of knowledge how to communicate.


 Suggesting ideas on safe subjects for talk and verifying them


1 Do you know what safe and unsafe subjects for talk are? Discuss with your friends what should be avoided in a talk with people you don’t know very well. The following questions will help you to organize a discussion.

· What are safe subjects to discuss when you talk to people you don’t know very well?

· What subjects are recommended to avoid in ‘small talk’?

· Do you think that cultural gap between etiquette norms accepted in Belarus and in the USA differ greatly?

· What recommendations would you give to your American friends on choosing subjects for small talk with Belarusian people?


2 Read Text 2 to learn more about safe and unsafe subjects in conversation in the USA.


Text 2. Safe and Unsafe Subjects for Talk


It is hard to generalize about conversation in the USA. Conversation is generally less lively than in the Latin countries, where everyone talks at once. When someone talks here, everyone is expected to listen, no matter how dull the talker may be.

In the search for conversational material, work is a good bet. In many countries, it is not seemly to ask, ‘What do you do?’ Not so here. We are so often defined by our work that we are happy to talk about it. But if work proves unproductive, you might try, ‘What do you do in your spare time?’

You can safely inquire about wives or husbands, children, geographical background, hobbies, and habits. Ethnicity is a subject of some interest, and Americans will inquire about the ancestry of others.

Politics is discussed among people who are in relative agreement, but when a group is far apart, politics becomes a subject to be avoided. On the whole, we dislike argument. If an argument breaks out, we try to smooth it over or break it up.

The best way to do so is to return to the harmless topics. Many of these are questions of taste. ‘Did you like such-and-such a movie? What do you think of the food at that new restaurant? How do you like the weather?’ Through discussing mutual likes and dislikes, we find out whether this is our kind of person. American society is classed by tastes as much as by anything else.

Compliments are always in order. ‘What a pretty dress... I love your earrings ... What a nice tie.’ (But not, ’How much did you pay?’) We keep the compliments flowing even with close friends and family. The recipient should accept the compliment graciously by looking very pleased and saying, ‘Oh, thank you.’ The tale of the item in question often provides further talk.

Most of the people will be glad to hear about your country and about your impressions of America. You can be frank. We’ve become accustomed to criticism in recent years, although of course it’s always tactful to mix a few positive comments in with the negative. (‘The bus stations are awful, and I hate the food, but the people are so friendly’.)

There are two subjects that may rapidly bring conversation to a halt: age and money. You also should not poke too obviously into someone’s class background. We worry about invading people’s privacy, and we also have the idea that foreigners aren’t used to personal inquiries.

When all other conversation fails, there are always sports and the children to fall back on. If you are male, an interest in the fortunes of the local football and baseball team may serve you well at parties.

What we have very little of are pre-cut conversational rites. Even when engaging in small talk, you have to make up your own lines.


(Culture Shock! USA. A Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Esther Wanning)

3 Did you discover anything that surprised you? Make the list of safe and unsafe subjects for small talk. Use the information from the text and add some ideas of your own. Reason your choice.


Safe subjects Unsafe subjects
  _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________     ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________  



Ž Suggesting ideas what friendship is and verifying them


1 It’s good to have friends everywhere. Share your opinion with the others on your understanding of friendship.

o Do you think that friendship is understood in the same way in different countries of the world?

o Is it connected with life style and values accepted in the countries?


2 The text below introduces you into the concept of friendship in the USA. Read the text and write out all the peculiarities you will manage to find.



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