Нина КОПТЮГ, кандидат филологических наук, Новосибирск

Part 1. Reading. Headings for Paragraphs

You are going to read a text about addressing people. Choose the most suitable heading from the list A-E for each paragraph (1-5).

A. British Titles

B. Professional Women

C. Mister Jones

D. Mistakes Happen

E. American Teacher

How to Address People Correctly

(1) When I first started working in an office in the USA, I asked my co-workers how to address them correctly. I introduced myself by my first name, so everybody called me Nina. The director told me that I could address him as Jim when there was nobody else around. In public, I had to call him Mister Jones. Thanks to many films, TV shows and inadequate translation, many Russians think that it is normal to address all Americans by their first name only, that is very informally. In reality, things are very different.

(2) If a person introduced himself or herself as Mr. (mister), Mrs. (missis) or “professor”, be sure to use this form of address. The important difference to remember is, you can use Professor by itself, whereas you have to use Mr. or Mrs. together with the last name, for example, Mister Jones, Missis Jones. If you are unsure, just ask. An American teacher of English introduced himself as John Mark King. I asked him how to address him correctly. He said, “We are both teachers. You can call me by my name, John Mark. For students, the correct form will be either Mr. King, or Professor”.

Many Americans note that Russian students often address them incorrectly, for example, Mister John, instead of Mister King, or just use one name only, instead of two, as in John Mark.

(3) It is quite difficult to figure out how to address the British people correctly. Before you start an official communication with a person, ask how to address them correctly. Mister and Missis Smith are fine. If a person has a title, like Sir for men or Dame for women, the correct form will be Sir John and Dame Agatha, not Sir Smith or Dame Christie. Sometimes, both first and last names are used together with the title: Dame Agatha Christie.

(4) For many centuries, Miss was universally used to denote unmarried women and young girls. Then, Miss together with the last name became a standard address for professional women. However, many women now prefer to be addressed as Ms. (pronounced miz), which is used both for married and unmarried women, simply because they do not want to define their marital status.

(5) If you make a mistake and address someone incorrectly, nothing bad will happen. People will think that you do not know these things because you are a foreigner. But if you address men and women correctly, they will think that you are an educated and well-behaved person.

Part 2. Reading. Multiple Choice

You are going to read a text about Lausanne, a town in Switzerland. For questions (6-10) choose the answer (A, B or C) which you think fits best according to the text.

6. There are lifts in the city to help people get

a) into the metro

b) from level to level

c) into houses

7. Lausanne population is

A. close to half a million

B. the same as in Geneva

C. over 100000

8. Mary Shelley wrote

a) a novel

b) a poem

c) a play

9. Notre Dame of Lausanne was consecrated* in

a) the first century

b) the twelfth century

c) the thirteenth century

10. Swizerland has

a) two state languages

b) three state languages

c) five state languages

(6) Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, which the French call Lac Leman. Lausanne is located 62 km northeast of Geneva. It is built on different levels, so that one street may have houses which stand above or below each other. There are lifts all over the city, to help people transfer from level to level. The difference between levels is 500 meters.

(7) The population of the city is over 130,000. The headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are located in Lausanne – the IOC officially recognizes the city as the Capitale Olympique. The city has a 28-station metro system, making it the smallest city in the world to have a rapid transit system. Locals and tourists use the metro regularly even for small distances, as it is quite difficult to get from one level to another on foot.

(8) The lake and the Alps can be seen from almost any point in the city. It is easy to imagine how the English poets Byron and Shelley travelled around about two hundred years ago, and stayed in a villa on the lake shore for many months at a time. Mary Shelley, who was only eighteen years old when she lived near the lake, wrote her famous novel “Frankenstein” there. She married Percy Bysshe Shelley later.

(9) Lausanne is a very beautiful city, with almost every building looking like a fairy-tale castle or mansion. The cathedral, which is called Notre-Dame of Lausanne, was begun in the twelfth century, and consecrated in 1275. It was restored recently. Now it towers over the city in all its glory. There are also many museums in Lausanne.

(10) Most inhabitants speak French, but English is also spoken by practically everybody. In addition to that, many people speak some German and Italian, as Switzerland has not one, but three state languages. Though the country became a member of the European Union recently, it retains its own currency, the Swiss Frank, which is equal to about 1,5 euros. It is a very beautiful, clean, and safe city. It is also a place where one can address people in the street in at least five languages, and be sure that at least one of them will be understood.

Part 3. Gap Fill

You are going to read a text about the problems which foreigners have when addressing people in Russia. Several words have been removed from the text. Read the text, and choose the words from the list below.

Patronymic, the father’s name with the male or female (1)………….., is a form which is unique for Russia. It is next to impossible (2)……………how and when it must be used. It depends more on the social status than the age: even if your boss is the same (3) …………..or younger than you are, you will use their full first name plus patronymic, while the boss may address you (4) ………………….your first name. At school, teachers are usually (5)…………………….by their first name and patronymic, while they address students by their first or by their last name only. Many Russian last names and patronymics look (6)……………….to a person who does not know the Russian language. Maria Semenovna Ivanova may be described by them as Maria, Semenovna or Ivanova. To be on the (7)……………..side, people may use all three together. Foreigners are further confused when a Russian (8)…………………….and even a school principal introduce themselves as “Tanya” or “Ivan”, while they can hear students address them as Tatyana Petrovna or Ivan Alekseevich. Practically every name has a diminutive or (9) ……………………….form, which may confuse foreigners completely. I was often asked the meaning of the Russian word “chka”, which is an ending used in affectionate forms of many (10)………………………., like Ninochka. To be fair, English names may be equally confusing for foreigners. When I first heard the name Peggy, I thought, who is she? It turned out that Peggy was a nickname for Margaret.

Affection, to define, address, names, end, similar, age, safe, by, teacher

Part 4. Writing

Read the following letter. Then write your own reply to this letter. The reply should not be longer than 200 words.

Dear John,

We have finally obtained our visas, and are ready to travel as planned. Our plane arrives in London close to midnight. We hope to spend one night at an airport hotel. Next morning, we shall go to your town by train. The directions to your house from the railway station are very clear. We are carrying a lot of luggage with us, so we may have to take a taxi. Is there anything special you would like us to bring from Russia? We checked the weather on the web, it seems like it’s going to be fine! Do we need anything warm? The children are very excited about the trip. They can’t wait to meet Stevie and Sammy. Is there anything your kids want? Or maybe you can give us an idea for the gifts for them. Please do not hesitate to tell us if any of you have any special wishes. It will be a pleasure to bring you some souvenirs. You may contact us by cell phone, or by e-mail, any time.

See you and Peggy soon, Ivan and Maria.


Part 1. Reading

A - 3, B - 4, C - 1, D - 5, E - 2.

Part 2. Reading

6 – b, 7 – c, 8 – a, 9 – c, 10 – b.

Part 3. Gap Fill

1 – ending, 2 – to define, 3 – age, 4 – by, 5 – addressed, 6 – similar, 7 - safe, 8 – teacher, 9 - affectionate, 10 – names.

Part 4. Writing

Advise your students to read the letter carefully, then to write a reply, using not more than 200 words. Tell them to answer every question in the letter.