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Getting the message


Although the first email message was sent in 1971, electronic messages began nearly two hundred years earlier. Telegraph machines used electricity to send messages along wires from one place to another. The first telegraph machine was built in 1774. But for the next sixty years, the machines were very large and difficult to use, and each one needed twenty-six wires - one for each letter of the alphabet. In the 1840s, an American inventor called Samuel Morse built a better kind of telegraph which only needed one wire. He also invented a special code for messages - Morse Code. Immediately, telegraphs became an important way for people to communicate. During the next twelve years, American telegraph companies put up 36,000 miles of telegraph wires to send messages all over the USA.

In the 1920s, a new kind of electronic message was invented - the telex. A telex machine could send a message to any other telex machine in the world. They did not use telephone or telegraph wires -they used telex lines. These lines were quite expensive, and the machines were not easy to use. It was not a perfect system - but it worked. Companies continued to use telex until the 1980s and many companies still have telex machines today.

In the 1980s, people began to buy personal computers. Soon, it was possible to send email messages from one PC to another, but both people had to be part of the same email system. There were several different email systems, and it was not possible to send messages from one system to another. For this reason, emails did not immediately become popular. In the 1990s, people began to use the Internet and the Web. This made it easier to send email messages because there was only one system. Emails soon became a very popular (and very cheap) way to send messages to anywhere in the world. In the late 1990s, people started to send another kind of electronic message: they used their mobile phones to send text messages. Now they could send or receive messages in any place any time.

Text messages use their own kind of language. Long text messages are not easy to send or read, so people find ways to make them shorter. For example, when you write a message in English, you can write “RUOK?” (Are you OK?), or “B4” (before). This way you can send invitations in just a few letters and numbers: for example, “CU L8R 4 T” (See you later for tea).


Ex.1 Answer these questions:


  1. When did the first electronic messages appear?
  2. What did Morse invent?
  3. What new kind of e-messages was invented in 1920s?
  4. What were the disadvantages of telex?
  5. Were e-mails popular at first?
  6. What was the problem about sending e-mails in 1980s?
  7. Why do people use special language for e-messages?
  8. What does “RUOK” stand for?


b) 1. Do you use e-mail? Or your mobile phone to send messages?

2. Do you use special language for e-messages? If yes, what is it like?


Ex.2 Look at the sms conversations below. What do you think these short messages mean? Match the two columns to find out.


1).A-RU OK?




A-@ J`S. CUL8TR?


OK. See you today?

No. Tomorrow. Where?

Love Bob

Yes and you?

At John`s. See you later?

Are you OK?












Free to talk?


At work. And you?

At home. See you later?

Ok. Bye for now.

Where are you?

At 7 o`clock. That`s all for now. See you.


Here are some more short messages:

BTW - by the way; IMO in my opinion; TT4N - ta ta for now (bye for now)


Ex.3 Find the words for these definitions


· Power; what makes lights and computers work when you turn them on

· Using electricity

· A way of communicating, using words or other things

· Easy to carry

· A thin piece of metal for carrying electricity

· An old machine for sending messages





Ex.4 a) Expressing opinion.


Read the sentences below and choose appropriate words/phrases to give your opinion, as in the example.


I think/feel/believe (that)..., I strongly believe (that)..., In my opinion/view..., The way I see it.. I completely/fully agree with., It seems/appears to me that..., To my mind..., I (do not) agree with/that..., As far as I am concerned ..., I completely/fully agree with/that..., I am totally against/I strongly disapprove of/ I completely disagree with (the idea/suggestion/ statement that)..., I fully support…

e.g. Knowing how to use the Internet is a tremendous advantage nowadays.

I fully agree that knowing how to use the Internet is a tremendous advantage nowadays.

1. Children should be allowed to take their mobile phones to school with them.

2. All schools should give basic training in writing emails.

3. You should not judge people by the clothes they wear.

4. Life would be far better if we did not have telephones.

5. True communication involves the ability to listen as well as speak.


b). Now say how you would support these statements.


I fully agree that knowing how to use the Internet is a tremendous advantage nowadays.

The Net is an incredible source of knowledge and information, both at work and in the home.

In addition, it provides us with a quick and easy means of communication in the form of emails


Ex. 5 a) Read the extract and underline the key words.

Imagine that you have read the extract below as part of a newspaper article about modern communications. You decide to write a letter responding to the points raised and expressing your own views.


“The invention of the telephone, rather than being a great benefit to society, is responsible for a breakdown in communication. Because of the telephone, we have fax machines, the Internet, mobile phones and the death of letter-writing - all of the things which have led to the poor communication which exists between people today”


b) In pairs, correct the following points.


1 you have to write a newspaper article
you have to write a letter based on a newspaper article

2 the telephone has greatly benefited society

3 the telephone has directly brought about a wide variety of problems

4 the writer of the extract thinks fax machines, the Internet and mobile phones are great inventions.

5 mobile phones caused the death of letter-writing

6 there is excellent communication between people today


с) Which of the points made in the extract do you agree with? Which do you disagree with? Make brief notes below.


d). For each of the points above, say how you would support your opinion.

I completely disagree with the statement that the telephone has led to poor communication. First of all...


Ex. 6 Read the text and fill in the gaps with the appropriate linking word or phrase. Then suggest your own alternatives.

• for instance • first of all • finally • to sum up

• secondly • particularly • by this I mean


Technology has undoubtedly brought about revolution in communication. Most people would agree that this has been a positive development. Recently, however, there has been concern over the negative effect that modern methods of communication are having on the English language.

1) ......................... , the increasing use of e-mails and text messages is changing the way we use grammar.

2) .................... that certain words are dropped in order to keep messages short. In my view, this cannot be avoided. In a text message, 3) ….., there is neither the time nor the space to write complete sentences. The same applies to e-mails, which are supposed to be a shorter, more direct form of communication. In both cases, the need to be brief often means that the grammar is changed in some way.

4) ........................... , it is fashionable nowadays to shorten the spelling of words, 5) in text messages. One example of this is when people write 'CU later' instead of 'See you later'. To purists or to people who are not used to such abbreviations, this might be seen as a threat to the language. To my mind, it simply shows that the language is changing in much the same way as it has done for centuries.

6) .......................... , in my opinion, writing English correctly is not so important as getting the message across. If, for example, you send someone an e-mail or a text message telling them to meet you in a specified place at a certain time, making yourself understood is much more important than your grammar and spelling. As far as I am concerned, we should allow a certain amount of flexibility. Not everyone has a perfect command of the language but that should not stop them from being able to communicate.

7) .......................... , the effect that e-mails and text messages are having on written English is a significant one. This may, in the future, result in major changes to the language. However, we should not let rules get in the way of communication. After all, isn't that the reason language was developed in the first place - so that we could communicate?


Ex. 7 Read the extract below, paying careful attention to the underlined words and phrases. Then answer the questions that follow.


A magazine for students of English has invited readers to send in articles for a feature article entitled 'Are e-mailsand text messages destroying the language?' Write your article for the feature, giving your opinion. Your article should make reference to the effect that e-mailsand text messages have on such things as spelling and grammar

a. What do you have to write?

b. What kind of publication are you writing for? Who are the target readers? What style is appropriate?

с Tick the boxes below to show which of the points are relevant to the question. Try to suggest other points of your own.


  • When sending text messages and e-mails, people do not always use correct grammar.
  • Writing correctly is not so important as getting the message across.
  • Text messages and e-mails are more fun than letters.


Ex. 8 Write an article with the title mentioned in ex. 6 (“Are e-mails and text messages destroying the language?”)

Text 12

What do you know about computer games? Read the text and do the exercises that follow.


Computer games


In the early 1960s, the computer company DEC made a computer called a PDP-1. PDP-ls were large and expensive (120,000 dollars), so only companies and universities bought them. Steve Russell, a student at one of these universities wrote a piece of software for the PDP-1. It was a game for two players, and he called it Spacewar. The two players controlled spaceships which fought against each other. Users of the PDP-1 liked the game, and other programmers made the software better.

In the late 1960s, a programmer called Donald Woods invented a game called Adventure. This was a different kind of game from Spacewar because it did not have any pictures and it was for one player only. The computer told a story; the player took part in the story, and gave the computer instructions, like 'Go south', or 'Get the box'.

Together, Spacewar and Adventure started the two most important kinds of computer games: games with speed and action, and games with stories and imagination. But it was a few years before computer games became popular. In 1971, a student called Nolan Bushnell tried to make money from the game Spacewar. People did not have PCs then, so he built a machine for bars, shopping centres, and other places where people meet. To play the game, people had to put money in the machine. A company bought Nolan Bushnell`s idea for 500 dollars and made 1,500 machines. But nobody wanted to play the game.

Nolan Bushnell decided that space game was too difficult. He used his 50O dollars to start his own company, Atary, and invented a much easier game. It was a tennis game called Pong, and it was very easy to play. People loved it! In 1976, Bushnell sold Atari for 28 million dollars. Computer games were here to stay.

Since the 1980s, computer games have changed a lot. Computers are much more powerful, so the games are much faster and use amazing pictures. How much better can games become? If you have seen Star Trek: The Next Generation on television, perhaps you have seen virtual reality room on the spaceship. People can take part in amazing stories which look and feel the same as reality. This kind of game is still in the future, but perhaps not very far in the future.


Ex.1 Are these statements about the text true or false? Correct the false ones.


a. First computers were cheap, everyone could buy them.

b. The game Spacewar was for one player and had pictures.

c. In the game Adventure the player gave the PC instructions.

d. Pong was a more popular computer game than Spacewar.

e. The idea to make money from Spacewar was successful.

f. The computer games have changed a lot since 1980s.


Ex.2 Answer these questions:

    1. Do you play computer games?
    2. What are the two main kinds of computer games mentioned in the text? Do you know any other kinds?
    3. Can computer games be addictive?


Ex.3 Find words for the definitions

  • Doing exсiting things
  • Very difficult or surprising
  • Computer programs
  • Traveling quickly or doing something quickly
  • Strong; able to do a lot of things
  • Pictures and sounds made by a computer, nearly the same as the real world
  • Making pictures in your head


Ex.4 Insert the right prepositions:

1) to buy the idea ____500 dollars, 2) piece _____software, 3)game ____two players,

4)to make money_____, 5)different ___Spacewar, 6)to fight _____each other


Make your own sentences with these phrases.


Ex.5 Use these words and word combinations to retell the story.


Large and expensive, piece of software (компьютерная программа), game for two players, to make the software better, a different kind of game, to take part in (принимать участие в), to give instructions, games with speed and action, stories and imagination, to make money from, too difficult, to start ones own company (открыть свою компанию), easier game, amazing pictures, look and feel the same as (выглядеть и восприниматься также, как)


Text 13

Read the teat and explain what virus means and why it is so dangerous.


'I love you' (and other viruses)


A virus is a kind of computer program. It moves from one computer to another and damages the memory or other parts of the computer. Some viruses are difficult to stop; they can damage millions of computers in a very short time.

The first virus appeared in 1986. It was called Brain. In 1987, a more dangerous virus called Jerusalem appeared. This virus stayed in a computer and did nothing until the date was Friday 13th; then it started to damage the computer's memory. People knew that viruses were going to be a problem, and programmers began to write anti-virus software. Each new virus was more difficult to find, and so anti-virus software needed to get better and better. By 1988, newspapers and magazines were beginning to have stories about viruses.

By the early 1990s, there were more than 150 computer viruses in the world. Some of these viruses were more 'intelligent' than others: they had special software which made it very difficult for people to fight the virus. One programmer wrote a few different viruses around this time. This person is known as the Dark Avenger, and he (or she) probably lives in Bulgaria, but the police have never found him. In 1993, the Satan Bug virus appeared in Washington DC. The anti-virus software companies worked with the police to find the programmer, who was just a child.

By the late 1990s, most computers were part of the email and Internet systems. This meant that virus programmers could do a lot of damage very quickly. For example, in 1999, the Melissa virus appeared. It could move from one computer to another by email. A year later, the most successful virus in history reached millions of computers in less than twenty-four hours. When it appeared on a computer, it automatically sent itself to every other email address in the computer. This virus was called 'I love you'.

The virus programmers are getting better all the time, but so is the anti-virus software. Some people think that viruses will do a lot more damage in the future. Computers are now an important part of everything; without them, the modern world will stop. Nobody will be able to travel, work, shop, watch television, get money, or send messages. Perhaps one day, a computer virus will bring the world to a stop for a few hours.


Ex.1 Are the following sentences true or false. Correct the false ones.


  1. The first virus was called Brain because it has been the most intelligent virus ever.
  2. People started to write anti-virus programs only after viruses had caused a lot of problems.
  3. By the early 1990s there were many viruses but nowadays there are twice more of them.
  4. Virus programmers make their programs easy to be found.
  5. Dark Avenger is a woman who lives in Greece and has written 50 different viruses.
  6. Police has never found any authors of viruses.
  7. “I love you” was very successful because it could send itself to every computer that was bought in the same shop.
  8. Anti-virus software is getting better and better but can not outrun viruses.
  9. The modern world will successfully exist even without computers.
  10. Computer viruses are so strong nowadays that they are able to bring the world to a stop for a few hours.


Ex.2 Make up sentences using the table:


A virus appeared computer`s memory
It was protect computers from viruses
Brain moves and damages better all the time
A year are a kind of computer program
Computer programmers can not enough for another virus to appear
Modern viruses is in 1986
They is getting special software which protects them
But people will find the way to destroy all the viruses
Computer software could not very difficult to be found
Probably people have protect their computers so easily


Ex.3 Find in the text the answers to the following questions. Make up 5 your own questions to the sentences in the text.


  1. Are viruses able to move from one computer to others and damage them?
  2. When did the first virus appear?
  3. When did the Jerusalem start to damage the computers` memory?
  4. What did programmers begin to do to protect the computers from viruses?
  5. Soon the newspapers began to have stories about viruses, didn`t they?
  6. How many viruses were there by the early 1990s?
  7. Why were they very difficult to be found and fought?
  8. Who was the Dark Avenger?
  9. Did the Stan Bug appear with the help of a child?
  10. What viruses can move from one computer to another by the e-mail?


Ex.4 Use the verbs in brackets in the correct form:


  1. There (to be) different kinds of viruses, some of them (to be) very dangerous.
  2. The 1st virus`s name (to be) Brain, it (to appear) in 1986.
  3. People (to understand) that viruses (to be going to) be a problem and (to start) writing anti-virus software.
  4. Some viruses (to have) special software which (to protect) them from being found and fought.
  5. The names of many programmers who (to write) viruses (to be) still unknown.
  6. The author of the Satan Bug virus, which (to appear) in 1993, (to be)just a child.
  7. As soon as a computer (to become) a part of the Internet system, a virus (to be) able to damage it.
  8. Melissa (to move) from one computer to another by e-mail.
  9. In 2000 “I love you” (to reach) and (to damage) millions of computers.
  10. Both virus programmers and the anti-virus software (to get) better all the time, but many people (to think) that in future viruses (to destroy) the usual world.


Ex.5 Think about antonyms to the following words:

to move, to damage, to fight, to reach, to send, to find, to appear, part, short, difficult, better, story, intelligent, child


Ex.6 Put the following viruses according to the time of their appearance and give some information about them:

Satan Bug, Melissa, Brain, I love you, Jerusalem


Text 14

What do you think computers and technology will be like in future? Read the text and do exercises that follow.


The future


I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.' This prediction in 1943 by T. J. Watson, the head of IBM. Today there are hundreds of millions PCs in homes all around the world. It is not easy to make predictions about computers! You can only look at the recent past and try to see where we are going in the future. Since the first computers were built in the 1940s, they have become smaller and more powerful every few years. Will computers get smaller and smaller in the future? Probably not, for two reasons, firstly, by the year 2020 the transistors on computer chips will be as small as possible. Secondly, a verу small personal computer is difficult to use (and easy to lose). At the moment, it is possible to build a computer which you can put in your pocket, or wear like a watch, perhaps this is as small as we need. A lot of computer scientists are thinking on Artificial Intelligence, this is software which makes computers think more like humans.

There are still many things which are very easy for humans but very difficult for computers: for example, understanding language. Some computers can understand words when a person speaks, but they cannot really have a conversation - they can only follow instructions. However, this kind of software is getting better every year. Soon, we will probably be able to talk to a computer in the same way that we talk to a friend. Computer scientists are also trying to build computers which can see. It is easy to make a computer with 'eyes', but very difficult for the computer to understand what it sees. Most people think that computers will do many different jobs in the world of the future - perhaps they will drive taxis or work in shops. But to do these jobs, they will need to see and understand the world around them.

Moore's Law says that the number of transistors on computer chips doubles every eighteen months. This has been true for the past thirty years but bу about 2020 we will have the smallest transistors possible. Then a new kind of computer will be necessary. At the moment, scientists are building the first quantum computers. In the future, these will be much faster and more powerful than any computer that we have now. Or perhaps a different kind оf a computer will appear before then. That is why it is difficult to make predictions about the future of computing: the future is often closer than you think it is.


Ex.1 Answer these questions:


  1. Was Watson`s prediction about computers right?
  2. What is Artificial Intelligence?
  3. What things are difficult for computers?
  4. Will computers get smaller and smaller in the future?
  5. Why will Moore's Law stop being true after the year 2020?
  6. Why is it difficult to make predictions about the future of computing?
  7. What kind of new computers are scientists building nowadays?


Ex.2 Use these words to join the sentences together.

although so because


1 An abacus does calculations quickly. It does not do them automatically

2 The Bombe machine at Bletchley could not break the “Fish” code. They built a new machine called Colossus.

3 The Apple 2 computer was very popular. IBM started to make personal computers.

4 Computers are very good at chess. Chess is a mathematical game.

5 Personal computers will probably not get much smaller. They will be too difficult to use and too easy to lose.


Ex.3 Find the words for these definitions:


·saying what will happen in the future

·an electronic switch

· to get bigger by 100 per cent

· very effective and can do a lot

· software which makes computers think more like humans

· something that always happens in nature or society, or a statement that describes this

· someone who works or is trained in science


Ex.4 Put the words into right order to make sentences:

1. it, about, not, easy, is, predictions, computers, to make

2. the first, the moment, quantum, scientists, at, are, building, computers

3. is, to build, a, possible, computer, you, which, can, it, pocket, in, put, your


Ex.5 Translate into English:


1. Очень сложно предсказывать будущее.

2. Существует много вещей, которые компьютер выполнять не может.

3. Станут ли компьютеры все более мощными в будущем?

4. Довольно легко создать компьютер, который может «видеть».

5. Вполне возможно создать компьютер, который может сочинять музыку.

6. С каждым годом компьютеры становятся все более разумными и мощными.

7. Наверно, в ближайшем будущем компьютеры станут настолько удобными, на сколько это вообще возможно.

8. Большинство ученых считает, что квантовые компьютеры будут более быстрыми, чем те, что есть сейчас.


Ex.6 Retell the text using these phrases:


to make predictions, become smaller and more powerful, be as small as possible, difficult to use, easy to lose, as small as we need, Artificial Intelligence, very easy for humans, have a conversation, doubles every eighteen months, do many different jobs, the smallest transistors possible, quantum computers




Text 15

Ex.1 Read the text and fill in the table:

Differences between generations  
Modern generation Previous generation


How Did We Ever Survive?

By James Scott

Special to The Moscow News


According to today's bureaucrats arid policy makers, those of us who were kids in the 60's and 70's probably shouldn't have survived. Why? Because we had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cupboards; because we never had smoke alarms in our houses. Or was it because our baby cots were coated with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was promptly chewed and licked? When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, only a pair of flip-flops (сандалии) and shorts. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags, and riding in the front passenger seat was a coveted treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted just the same. We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy juice with sugar in it (not Aspartame), but we were never overweight because we were always playing outside in the fresh air. In the park we shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one actually died from this.

We would leave home in the morning and could play happily all day, as long as we were back before it got dark. No one was able to find us, let alone phone us, and no one minded. We did not have Play Stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 57 channels on Cable TV, no videotaped films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no DVDs, no Internet chat rooms. Because....We had friends! Yes, real friends not virtual ones — we went outside and found them! We played rounders, football and enjoyed getting muddy! We fell from trees, got grazed and cut, and even broke bones, but there were no lawsuits. We had fistfights, but no prosecution followed from the parents.

We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, walked to school; we didn't rely on Mum or Dad to drive us (in air conditioned cars) to school, which was just; round the corner — or maybe three miles away. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode bikes (Choppers!) in packs of seven and wore our coats by only the hood. The idea of a parent bailing us out, if we broke a law was unheard of ...they actually sided with the law.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learnt how to deal with it all. But for kids nowadays, such as Alex, my own daughter, she's never known of a life without CDs and mobile phones. She thinks that Mission Impossible and The Pink Panther are new films. She thinks Michael Jackson has always been white and can't understand how we could possibly have left home without a mobile phone. Even today, her sometimes eccentric father likes to 'accidentally leave his mobile at home.


Ex.2 Would you prefer face-to-face or e-mail communication with

· your relatives

· your teachers

· your friends

· your lover

Give your reasons for each case.




Text 16

Ex.1. Read the two models and decide which is good and which is bad. Justify your decision.


MODEL 1. Computers are a major technological breakthrough of the twentieth century. Their benefits are numerous yet much can be said against them. Clive James, an Australian critic, once said that "It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are".

The main disadvantage of computers is that staring at a screen for long periods of time can be damaging to the eyes, and sitting on a chair for hours at a time is certainly not healthy. Secondly, computers distract from social interactions such as conversation. Also, people can be inclined to become anti-social and stay at home to use their computer. Finally, the most persuasive argument against the use of computers is that the more jobs which are done by computers, the less are done by people.

However, the advantages of computers are numerous, such as the undeniable educational benefits, especially to children. School subjects become more interesting when presented on a computer screen. Moreover, computers can be fun with a seemingly endless variety of games which can be played on them. In addition, computers are valuable to any business, making life easier and saving time by being capable of storing and retrieving vast amounts of information at the touch of a button. Furthermore, personal gains can be seen as the use of computers increases powers of concentration.

To sum up, there are strong arguments both for and against the use of computers. Yet, despite the health problems, risk to jobs and lack of personal interaction, it seems that as long as the use of computers is regulated, the benefits computers provide to education and business are invaluable.



There is no doubt that computers have made my and my friends' lives easier. Business can also benefit from using computers but there are many problems too.

It's easy for students to learn on computers because things seem more exciting and interesting when you see them on a screen rather than in a book. There are also lots of games you can play too and you can become so interested in them that you don't want to do your homework. You can also become unfriendly because you don't want to go out. You only want to stay in your room and play with your computer. My mum says "It's not healthy to be sitting down all day."

Most workplaces have computers nowadays and it does make jobs faster and easier and they're supposed to help you with your concentration but many computers can do the same job a person can and quicker which might mean that he loses his job. This happens to many people.

Finally, I think computers are good because they help people a lot and statistics say that this is true.


Ex.2. List the advantages and disadvantages of computers in modern society.

The advantages of computers are…

The disadvantages of computers are…


Pay attention to the following linking words:

Secondly (во-вторых), however (хотя, тем не менее), moreover (кроме того), furthermore (к тому же, более того), to sum up (подводя итоги, суммируя сказанное), there is no doubt (без сомнения), also (также), in addition (к тому же), yet (хотя, тем не менее), finally (в заключение, в конце концов)


Ex.3. Make up your own monologue about computers using the two models and linking words.



Text 17

Ex. 1. Work in groups of three. Read two of the texts about computing languages and make notes in the table bellow the text. Then exchange information about the other texts with other students in your group

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