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Министерство образования Российской Федерации Воронежский государственный университет Кафедра страноведения и иностранных языков Исторического факультета Методические указания по английскому языку Writing Formal and Informal Letters Part 1 Составители: И.В.Домбровская О.А.Петрова Воронеж - 2002 Meтодические указания предназначены для студентов исторического факультета с углублённым изучением английского языка (1-2 курс) и студентов, обучающихся по специальности международные отношения (1-2 курс).

Цель данных методических указаний - совершенствование навыков написания официальных и неофициальных писем и знакомство с требованиями, предъявляемыми к письмам при написании экзамена формата FCE, и с системой их оценки.

Пособие содержит выбранные из современных учебников аутентичные письма, сопровождаемые различными заданиями. Типы заданий, представленные в пособии, отобраны составителями на основе анализа тестов FCE (Paper 2 - Writing) как наиболее часто встречающиеся.

Пособие снабжено Приложением, содержащим лексико-грамматические средства, необходимые для написания официальных и неофициальных писем.

2 General Description Paper Format The paper contains two parts.

Number of Tasks Candidates are required to complete two tasks: a compulsory one in Part 1 and one from a choice of four in Part 2.

Task Types From the following: letters, articles, reports, compositions, written for a given purpose and target reader.

Answering Candidates write their answers in the question booklet.

Timing 1 hour 30 minutes.

Marks Each question in this paper carries equal marks.

Part Task Type and Focus Number of tasks and Task Format Length 1 Q.1 1 compulsory task, 120- Candidates are required to Writing a 180 words deal with input material of Transactional up to 250 words, which Letter (formal/informal) may include graphic and pictorial material. Texts may include advertisements, letters, postcards, diaries, short articles, etc.

Q.2 - 4 tasks from which candi- A situationally-based writWriting one of the followdates choose 1 ing task specified in no ing:

more than 70 words.

• an article • a non-transactional letter • a report • a discursive composition •a descriptive / narrative 120-180 words composition/short story Q.Q.5 has 2 options Writing one of the above on a prescribed background reading text When preparing candidates for the examination, it is important to familiarise them with the paper and the range of task types and topics. Candidates can learn to identify tasks and topics which are best suited to their interests and experiences.

Part Part 1 consists of one compulsory task in which candidates are required to write a transactional letter which may be formal or informal, in response to a request for action or to initiate action; the range of functions of this letter may include giving information, requesting information, making complaints, corrections, or suggestions requiring feedback. The usual conventions of letter writing, specifically opening salutation, paragraphing and closing phrasing are required but it is not necessary to include addresses.

The input on which the candidates must base their letter is made up of varied combinations of text and notes, sometimes supported by illustrations or diagrams. Widely used abbreviations, such as NB, e.g., etc., may also appear as part of the input. It is important that candidates cover all the essential points of the input in their answer. They should be aware that the overall aim of the task is to achieve a positive effect on the target reader.

A list of questions or statements in simple sentences is not enough; organisation and cohesion*, clear layout, appropriate register, control and accuracy of language are all important features of task achievement. Some evidence of range of language is also required, which means building on key words from the input rather than lifting whole segments. Part 1 tasks often offer the candidates the opportunity to add a piece of information, suggestion or request of their own in order to expand their demonstration of range.

Part Candidates must choose one from four questions, one of which offers two set-text options. The input for these five tasks is considerably less than in Part 1 but a context, a purpose for writing and a target reader are indicated; some tasks are contextualised and others are defined by the rubric itself. Widely used abbreviations, such as NB, e.g., etc., may also appear, as in Part 1. Attention to every element in the rubric is essential to effective task achievement.

The different task types are intended to provide frameworks for the candidates so that they can put together their ideas on a topic with a purpose for writing and a reader in mind. For example:

A composition is usually written for a teacher, perhaps as a follow-up to a class activity and would probably include some opinions and suggestions on the subject.

An article could be written for a magazine or newsletter for which the reader may be someone with a similar interest to the writer or, as in the case of a college magazine, be in the writer's peer group. There is often some description and occasionally anecdote included. The main purpose is to interest and engage the reader, so there should be some opinion or comment as well.

A report could be written for a superior (a boss or a teacher) or a peer group (club members, colleagues) and will certainly contain some facts with the possibility of adding suggestions or recommendations.



A letter of application could be written to an individual or an organisation. The purpose is always clear (to get the job, the scholarship, etc.), and all information and expressions of interest are directed to that end.

An informal letter would always be written for a known reader, e.g. a pen friend, and would usually be intended to interest the reader, share an experience or explain feelings or personal opinions.

A short story would be written for a magazine or anthology for which the typical reader might be a fellow-student or an enthusiast for a certain type of fiction. The writer might be writing for a fee or in the hopes of winning a prize - the immediate purpose would be to engage the interest of the reader.

These indications of readership and purpose are not comprehensive but intended to provide some guidelines to the different task types. It must be stressed that high level specialised writing skills are not expected of candidates at this level.

Part Question This consists of a choice of two tasks based on the set reading texts, as specified in the Examination Regulations issued every year. The questions are designed to be general enough to be applicable to any of the texts, and usually require a composition. The target reader is defined as someone who may not have read the book, in order to encourage adequate reference to the text which the candidate has read; a plot summary is not, however, a substitute for the task. Some tasks require one of the types of writing given above, i.e., article, letter or report, in which case the target reader may also be a friend, colleague or magazine reader.

This option is intended to encourage extended reading as a basis for the enrichment of language study, and a variety of simplified and original texts are included in the list of prescribed titles; each text normally remains on the list for two years.

ASSESSMENT An impression mark is awarded to each piece of writing; all tasks carry the same maximum mark.

The general impression mark scheme is used in conjunction with a task-specific mark scheme, which focuses on criteria specific to each particular task, including relevance, range of structure, vocabulary and presentation and register.

The criteria for assessment with reference to the general impression mark scheme are summarised as follows:

Band 5 Full realisation of task set shown by:

• Coverage of points required with evidence of original output.

• Wide range of structure and vocabulary demonstrating control of language.

• Clear organisation with a variety of linking devices.

• Presentation and register wholly appropriate to purpose and audience throughout.

Overall: a very positive effect on the target reader.

Band 4 Good realisation of task set shown by:

• Coverage of points required with sufficient detail.

• Good range of structure and vocabulary; generally accurate.

• Effective organisation; suitable linking devices.

• Presentation and register appropriate to purpose and audience.

Overall: a positive effect on the target reader.

Band 3 Task set is reasonably achieved by:

• Coverage of main points required.

• Adequate range of structure and vocabulary; some errors.

• Adequate organisation; simple linking devices.

• Presentation and register on the whole appropriate to purpose and audience.

Overall: a satisfactory effect on the target reader.

Band 2 Task set attempted but not adequately achieved because of:

• Some omissions and/or irrelevant material.

• Range of structure and vocabulary rather limited; errors may obscure communication.

• Inconsistent organisation; few linking devices.

• Unsuccessful attempts at appropriate presentation and register.

Overall: message not clearly communicated to target reader.

Band 1 Task set not achieved because of:

• Notable omissions and/or considerable irrelevance.

• Narrow range of vocabulary and structure; little or no language control.

• Lack of organisation and linking devices.

• Little or no awareness of appropriate presentation and register.

Overall: a very negative effect on the target reader.

Band 0 Too little language for assessment.PREPARING FOR PAPER Length Candidates are asked to write 120-180 words for each answer. For answers that are below length, the examiner adjusts the maximum mark and the mark given proportionately. For answers that are over-length, the examiner draws a line at the approximate place where the correct length is reached and directs close assessment to what comes before this. However, credit is given for relevant material appearing later.

Handwriting and Spelling Poor handwriting, spelling errors or faulty punctuation are not specifically penalised, but the overall impression mark may be adjusted if it is felt that communication is impeded. American usage and spelling are acceptable.

Irrelevance The examiners' first priority is to give credit for the candidates' efforts at communication, but candidates who introduce blatantly irrelevant material learned by heart or who deliberately misinterpret the question are penalised.

Background Reading Texts In Question 5, the examiners are looking for evidence that candidates have read and appreciated a set text and are able to provide evidence of this in the form of illustrated description and discussion. Judgement is based, as for the other tasks, on control of language in the given context rather than on content or interpretation, though it is obviously necessary to downgrade candidates who attempt these topics without preparation.





Marking The panel of examiners is divided into small teams, each with a very experienced examiner as Team Leader. The Principal Examiner guides and monitors the marking process, beginning with a meeting of the Principal Examiner and the Team Leaders.

This is held immediately after the examination and begins the process of establishing a common standard of assessment by the selection of sample scripts for all the questions in Paper 2. These are chosen to demonstrate the range of responses and different levels of competence, and a task-specific mark scheme is finalised for each individual task on the paper. This summarises the content, organisation and cohesion*, range of structures and vocabulary, register and format, and target reader indicated in the task, in the form of satisfactory band descriptors. The accuracy of language, including spelling and punctuation, is assessed on the general impression scale for all tasks; accuracy is more prominent in Part 1 assessment, and range in the assessment of Part 2 performance.

Examiners discuss these individual mark schemes and refer to them regularly while they are working.

During marking, each examiner is apportioned scripts chosen on a random basis from the whole entry in order to ensure there is no concentration of good or weak scripts or of one large centre of one country in the allocation of any one examiner. A rigorous process of co-ordination and checking is carried out before and throughout the marking process.

*COHESION - logical organisation of the text, which presupposes the use of linking devices (see the table below).

Linking and Logical Devices Addition Cause and result In addition to... Because...

as well as... + N as... + clause besides... since...

both... and... + N in case...

not only... but also... + N/clause due to...

Furthermore... owing to... + N Moreover... + clause as a result of...

... also... so (that)...

... too /as well so + ADJ/ADV + that... + clause such + N + that...

therefore + clause consequently Concession Contrast although... while...

though... whereas... + clause even though/even if... + clause but...

but... on the other hand,...

yet...

Purpose despite... + N in order that... + clause in spite of...

so that...

however in order to/so as to... + V nevertheless to...

Similarity and comparison Time as... before...

like... + N after + N/clause as + ADJ/ADV + as... till/until as… as/as soon the same + N + as/that + clause as/when/once/immediately + as + ADJ/ADV + as... clause not as/so + ADJ/ADV + as + while + clause N/clause during + noun Not such + ADJ/ADV + as + during that time N/clause then/next/after that/later/ as if / though... + clause subsequently/eventually/ finally/at last no sooner... than... + clause hardly... when EXERCISE 1 Fill each blank with a word or phrase from the list below. Use each item once only.

although but so that when as if if that which because just as unfortunately while before so until who Several years ago some friends and I decided to go cycling together. We waited 1.............................. the rush hour was over 2.............................. we set off.

3.............................. it looked 4.............................. it was going to rain, we still decided to go 5..........................:... this was the last opportunity we would have for some time. We had packed plastic macs 6.............................. we wouldn't get too wet 7.............................. there was a shower. 8.............................. we were riding along in single file on the outskirts of town, Paul, 9.............................. was bringing up the rear as usual, suddenly gave a shout.

10.............................. we turned back to see what was wrong, we found 11.

............................. he had swerved to avoid a dog 12.............................. had run out in front of him.

13.............................. he had gone into a ditch at the side of the road. The bicycle had hardly been damaged 14.............................. Paul was 15.............................. bruised and shaken that we decided to go home. 16.............................. we arrived at my house, it started pouring with rain. We realised that our day out would have ended badly even without the accident.

Look at the way the ideas are linked together in the passage.

EXERCISE 2 Choose a word or phrase from the following list to complete the sentences. Use each item once only.

as long as by the time in case unless even though just as where as soon as 1. They finally arrived home............................... the clock was striking twelve.

2. Work stopped............................... the bell rang.

3. The workmen had all gone............................... I got home.

4. She said she would only go............................... he came as well.

5. They used to play football every Saturday............................... the weather conditions made it impossible.

6. He didn't wear a coat............................... it was freezing outside.

7. A crowd had gathered............................... the procession was due to pass.

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