Chapter 9. Written Communication – Communicative English for Engineers and Professionals

9

Written Communication

In this unit

Practice, practice, practice writing. Writing is a craft that requires both talent and acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong.”

 

–Jeffrey A. Carver

9.1 Introduction

Humans are social creatures. They crave for communication with their fellow beings and have been interacting with one another since ages. Communication started with oral interaction. Writing as a skill developed at a later stage as man took time to get mature enough to express himself/herself using the written channel of communication. Hence, writing is a skill that requires growth, which comes with training, experience and practice. William Faulkner has rightly asserted “A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”

In the present age where communication is considered as key to success in personal, social and professional life, writing is the major skill one should master. Writing requires all the language skills—listening, speaking and reading—to get used to it. It is the most interesting job that you could do in your lifetime. Writing exams, assignments and articles, poems, stories, novels, writing about yourself, your routine activities and writing a personal dairy—are all writing activities you regularly use as a student to pass the examination or to create interest in people. In your day-to-day working you communicate through writing letters, applications, reports, e-mails, SMS, etc. All these types of writings require a certain amount of qualities, which you should possess as a writer.

If you want to be a good writer or would like to become a better one, there are plenty of things you can do to improve and become better at communicating via the written medium. To achieve this aim you should read a lot, write every day, and interact with people to broaden your horizon by knowing their ideas, learn some rules of writing, use imagination, enrich your expression and brainstorm yourself to develop creative writing. At the same time, you should be aware that the style of writing changes with time, although it may not change as frequently as fashions. The Victorian verbosity and formal English of the earlier days has given way to the current trend of plain English, which is clear, concise, direct, unambiguous and fluent. The wallpaper English overloaded with official jargons is not the call of the day. Even among the native users of English, plain and direct language is regarded as a virtue in communication. “Good writing can be defined as having something to say and saying it well” says Edward Abbey. A good piece of writing should take into account the following points:

  1. Getting the grammar right
  2. Having a range of vocabulary
  3. Punctuating meaningfully
  4. Using a variety of sentence structures
  5. Employing imagination and creativity
  6. Developing and organizing the content clearly
  7. Linking ideas and information to develop a topic
  8. Implementing a suitable style and using a correct layout
  9. Containing a sense of purpose, sense of audience and sense of direction
  10. Encompassing directness, conciseness, plainness and fluency

While writing, be mindful of the fact that once something is in written form, it cannot be taken back. Communicating in this way is more concrete than verbal communications, with less room for errors.

9.2 Paragraph Writing

A paragraph is one of the central components of writing. The Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary defines it as “a section of a piece of writing, usually consisting of several sentences dealing with a single subject.” The word ‘paragraph’ has been derived from the French word—paragraphe—and the Greek word—paragraphos—which mean “short strokes marking break in sense.” A paragraph, however, is “a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit”. Ultimately, good paragraphs contain a sentence or sentences unified around one central, controlling idea.

A paragraph is a separate section of a piece of writing. It provides a break to the reader. Each paragraph tells the reader that one topic is over and now he/she is going to read the next one. There are no fixed rules about the ideal length of a paragraph. For instance, in some light journalism and advertising a paragraph can be one sentence. In serious writing, a paragraph can last for a page or more. In fact, it is not the number of sentences that construct a paragraph rather the unity and coherence of ideas among those sentences. Most of the paragraphs contain at least three sentences but occasionally a one-sentenced paragraph is refreshing to the reader. Nevertheless, two unlinked topics require two paragraphs.

A paragraph begins on a new line even if you have to leave most of the previous line empty. It is often ‘indented’ from the edge of the page or ‘blocked’ leaving one word space from the edge. In typing one extra line may be left in ‘indented’ style. When a paragraph reaches its completion, it should summarize what has been read.

9.2.1 Parts of a Paragraph

A paragraph is divided into three basic parts as listed below:

1. Topic Sentence:   This is the first sentence of the paragraph. It conveys the main idea of the paragraph to the readers and helps them focus on the theme as well as enables him/her to know what is going to be conveyed in it. You should summarize the main points of your paragraph in the first sentence.

2. Supporting Details:   The rest of the paragraph consists of a series of sentences that develop, support or explain the main idea. They come after the topic sentence, forming the supporting details or the body of a paragraph. They give detailed information about the main idea through examples, illustrations, facts or stories. The information given in this part should be reliable, convincing and trustworthy.

3. The Concluding Sentence:   The concluding or closing sentence is the last sentence of a paragraph. It sums up and restates the main idea as well as the details supported in the paragraph. It is the closing sentence that reminds the readers what they should value. You should restate the main idea of the paragraph as well as summarize it using different words.

9.2.2 Writing a Good Paragraph

While writing a paragraph certain basic elements, such as those listed below, should be considered before, while and after writing the paragraph:

(i) Pre-writing Stage:   At the pre-writing stage think carefully and organize your ideas for your paragraph before you begin writing:

1. Consider the topic carefully:   Before writing specify your topic, ask yourself: What questions are you going to answer in the paragraph? How can you best answer those questions? What is the most important point you want to make? How can you make an introductory sentence? What facts, ideas or details can you use to support your topic sentence? How can you make your paragraph interesting? Where can you find more facts on this topic?

2. Collect facts related to your topic:   Look for the facts that will help you answer your questions. To save time, make sure that the facts you are writing are related directly to the questions you are going to answer. Take a sheet of paper and start jotting down the points that come to your mind. You should not spend a lot of time doing this; just write enough to help you remember why and how you are going to write your paragraph. At this stage, word order or grammatical mistakes may be overlooked.

4. Choose relevant and interesting points:   Think carefully on the points you have noted down. What else do you want to say about this topic? Why should people be interested in this topic? Why is this topic significant? Choose the most important point you are going to present. If you are not able to decide which point is most important or stimulating, just choose one point and stick to it throughout the paragraph.

6. Organize your facts to develop your main idea:   Once you have chosen the most important point of your paragraph, you must find the best way to tell your readers about it. Look at the facts you have written and the most important point you have chosen. Decide which facts and ideas will best support the main idea. Once you have collected all relevant details, arrange the points in the order you want to present them in the paragraph. You may write them down on a piece of paper to guide yourself as you write your paragraph.

(ii) Writing Stage:   This stage is when you turn your ideas into sentences. The topic sentence should be a tempting sentence that catches readers’ attention and attract them to carry on with the reading of the paragraph. It will help the readers as well as the writer focus on the main points and not drift away from them. Supporting details should give information that reinforces or supports the main idea. One should use all the techniques such as descriptions, elaborations, definitions, examples, quotations, etc to make the paragraph sustainable and eligible. The last sentence should sum up your paragraph and should echo your topic sentence in a way or another. Write clear and simple sentences to express your meaning. Focus on the main idea of your paragraph. Use dictionary to help you find additional words to express your ideas.

(iii) Post Writing or Editing Stage:   The editing stage is when you check your paragraph for mistakes and correct them. At this stage, check all the words, spellings, grammar, punctuation, handwriting and form. There should be no long unwinding sentences, no repetitions, no complex examples or difficult terms. Instead of definitions, give examples and supporting details should not be excessive. No irrelevant information should be given. Read your paragraph again. Make sure each sentence has a subject. See if your subjects and verbs agree with each other. Check the verb tenses of each sentence. Make sure that each sentence makes sense, your paragraph has a topic sentence and your supporting sentences focus on the main idea. Be assured that you have a closing sentence. Finally see if your paragraph is interesting.

9.2.3 Characteristics of a Good Paragraph

A good paragraph is:

  • Unified—A good paragraph should be unified. All of the sentences in a paragraph should be related to a single main idea expressed in the topic sentence of the paragraph. Anything that can distract the reader should not be included. The writer should focus on the central idea to unfold the theme logically.
  • Coherent—Coherence means logical relationship between the ideas and the presentation. Unity means dealing with the single idea while coherence means linking them in an appropriate manner. The sentences should be arranged in a logical manner and should follow a definite plan for development. To achieve coherence in a paragraph, one should use the given pronouns and linking words appropriately:

    Pronouns – this/that/these/those – should be used carefully to maintain continuity otherwise they will confuse the readers. Sentence linkers such as first/meanwhile/later/afterwards/finally/at that time/at that very moment/next to/in front of/besides and sequence words, between/behind/after/then/now are used to show chronological order or sequence. In the same way linking words – thus/therefore/hence/however/as a result of/accordingly/due to/owing to/consequently/similarly/likewise/yet/nevertheless/on the other hand/on the contrary, etc. – present the objects or situations in comparison or contrast to one another as well as explain them. Transition words – furthermore/in fact/in addition to/for an example/as an illustration/for instance/in other words, etc. – help the writer exemplify ideas or objects. While the use of words like to conclude/to sum up/to summarize/in short/in a nut shell concludes or summarizes the piece and words such as definitely/certainly/of course/no doubt/undoubtedly restate or reaffirm the ideas.

  • Well Developed—A good paragraph should be well developed in a logical manner. Every idea discussed in the Paragraph should be adequately explained and supported through evidence and details. Ideas should be organized in such a way that one sentence leads to the next one naturally.

9.2.4 Sample Paragraphs

1. Reading Books:   Books are the most lasting product of human thought. They are the best friends of a man in all circumstances. Man being a social animal depends upon others for his development, fulfilment as well as entertainment. For this purpose, he needs guidance, company and support at various stages of life. Books are the best philosophers, associates and guides of man at every stage of life. Children enjoy them by colouring, solving puzzles and reading comics; young people find best companions in them while elderly persons pass their free time with them. Like true friends they remind us of our weaknesses and help us review our personality. In times of need, they directly talk to our mind and keep us fit. At the same time they are a vast storehouse of knowledge and learning. They supply us information, which can be stored in our memory for a long time and help us in mental as well as physical growth. We learn new words, ideas and expressions from them. Through books, we can share many things, which we cannot experience in reality. For instance, we can participate in sports events, beauty contests, quizzes, witness historical events, experience distant happenings, etc. They accompany us when we are alone. We can pass hours together reading, enjoying and learning them without getting tired of their company. They give us pleasure and joy for a long time. Therefore, it is rightly said, ‘A world without books cannot be considered.’

2. The Art of Conversation:   A good conversation is one of the greatest pleasures of mankind as well as an art. If we look at it seriously, we’ll find that most of the people are lacking in this art. People are generally well versed in the art of speaking but they lack the initiative and deliberate purpose. It does not mean that people should converse seriously rather they should make their conversation more interesting and amusing. They should think over their mistakes and should try to improve them. They should practice conversation and should try to make it livelier like a game of cricket, hockey, football, shooting, etc. The ability to converse can be cultivated very well. To make our conversation meaningful, we should show genuine interest in the subject being discussed or the person we are talking to. We should not be too forceful or emphatic in asserting our feelings nor should we contradict or oppose the other person flatly. Even while giving advice, we should do it without imposing our wish on the listeners. On the whole, our conversation should generate positive feelings, it should not hurt anyone and people should enjoy it. Many people want to improve it but they keep on speaking and they hate listening. Silence plays an important role in a conversation. One can participate in a conversation effectively through listening as well as speaking. It must be done with natural zest and enjoyment; otherwise, it will not yield desired results. If learnt and practiced well, the art of conversation can be proved to be significant in winning the heart of the people.

3. Examination Fever:   Examination fever is a common phenomenon among youngsters. Examinations are an essential part of the present education system. No one can pass a class in a school or a college or get admission in a reputed institute without appearing at the examination. Indispensability of the examinations has made it the most fearful aspect of a student’s life. Dreams of failure keep haunting not only the students but also their parents and teachers. At the time of exams, young people and their parents have to postpone their engagements, give up pleasure loving activities—TV, computers, games, picnics, functions—and have to focus only on exams. This situation causes examination fever, which reaches at its peak one night before the exams. Students keep awake the whole night and revise the syllabus in a hurry. In the morning, they feel nervous and pray to God. If the paper is difficult, this nervousness leads to sickness. No doctor can cure this sickness. Rather, it can be cured through a thorough study of a subject. One should remain regular in his/her studies not only at the end of the session but also throughout the session. One day before the exams, he/she should revise the syllabus and should have sound sleep, nutritious food and good exercise. After receiving the question paper, he/she should read it carefully and answer appropriately. Before handing it to the teacher, one should revise it thoroughly. He/she will come out of the examination room relaxed not feverish. In fact, examination is an art. It teaches us to face challenges of life. No doubt, it causes anxiety; it is the landmark of success. One should learn how to face it confidently instead of fearing it.

4. Co-Curricular Activities:   Co-curricular activities previously known as extracurricular activities are the backbone of the education system. Schools and colleges offer a variety of activities, which all the students must attend along with the standard study curriculum. Academic activities in the classroom education of an institute adhere to the requirements of global standard. On the other hand, co-curricular activities, which are meant for synchronizing and developing the mind as well as the body, also form an integral part of the curriculum. These activities are held outside the standard curriculum hours and participation in these activities depends upon the nature as well as the participants of the particular activity. Student groups do foot drills and team-building exercises, while with painting tools, children, are found busy in painting, drawing, sketching in the art rooms or learning dancing, singing, acting, etc. with musical instruments. Moreover, competitive sportspersons spend most of their time training and learning their respective sport techniques. A whole range of indoor and outdoor activities accompanying the course studies serves a twofold purpose in furthering the development of a student as well as in character building. ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’ is an old saying. Recreation, is an essential part of a student’s life and co-curricular activities help them in refreshing and rejuvenating young minds. Secondly, they pave way for nurturing the hidden talents. The students who do not excel in academics feel a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction and achievement through excelling in them. Besides this, co-curricular activities develop leadership, time management, teamwork, interpersonal communication and other useful skills which employers value the most when making hiring choices. To achieve the desired purpose, they should be planned, chosen and conducted fruitfully. No one can deny the fact that the activities outside the classroom are directly related to the career, personality and all round development of the students.

5. All that glitters is not gold:   ‘All that glitters is not gold’ is an old proverb. It implies that appearances are often deceptive or in other words, the outward pomp, show, external glory and luxury may not be a true expression of one’s personality, an object, a place or even one’s personal life. A man may enjoy sunshine of wealth and prosperity but he may not be inwardly contended. For instance, a wealthy man may enjoy a lot of wealth, comforts and riches or all the possible luxuries but when he sleeps, in his unconscious mind he keeps brooding over how to accumulate more and more wealth the next day. He is always dissatisfied and mentally disturbed in planning ways to have more and more. He, therefore, proves the statement that things are different from how they appear to be. Similarly, a person may be very beautiful, handsome, smart or good looking but if he is not physically fit, mentally alert or socially respectable, his outward charms have no value. An object may be very attractive; however, its attractiveness has no value unless it has utility. In short, the proverb, ‘All that glitters is not gold’ enlivens us to the truth that only outward beauty or charms are not sufficient. The importance of outward glitter may be short-lived or temporary. We should care more for inward perfection, beauty of the soul and moral values, which have a lasting effect on mankind and society.

6. Health is Wealth:   A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Health is the basic source of human happiness. A man who is suffering from an ailment cannot enjoy anything in his life. He can have all the comforts in his life—a bungalow, car, good furniture, air conditioner, and expensive dresses but he can use them only if he is physically fit. His friends, neighbours and relatives can be very good but he can share his joys and grief with them only if he is in good health. There can be numerous opportunities in life but he can avail them with hard work and wisdom, which are not possible without health. One thing should be kept in mind: health is not just the physical aspect because man is not made of only flesh and blood but also with various organs forming different systems in a body. He/she also has a mental, social, and moral outlook. However, physical health is the base of human personality because a sick and poor person cannot be expected to follow any social norms. A physically fit man can do nothing without his mind. Man is a social animal as no man can be an island in himself. A person should live peacefully in society and should cooperate with others. However, the most important thing, which makes a man human, is his moral outlook. Major evils like terrorism, corruption, anarchism exist in society because of lack of human values. Everybody talks of falling standard of education, students, losing interest in studies and growing materialism but no one thinks of providing a healthy moral atmosphere to the young generation or developing a sense of right and wrong. In this way a physically fit, mentally sound, socially healthy and morally strong people can be a real asset to a nation or in other words the real wealth of a nation.

Task

Write a paragraph on the following topics:

  1. Role of children in TV advertisements
  2. Computer as a classroom teacher
  3. Might is right
  4. TV serials
  5. Life in a college hostel
  6. Brain drain
  7. Mobile phones
  8. Increasing crime in Indian society
  9. Newspaper
  10. My favourite TV show

9.3 Developing Outlines, Key Expressions and Situations

Words are the symbols of ideas and images in our mind. They are verbal clues that can be used in the form of outlines, key expressions, situations and themes. First of all, we should understand what do they mean? How can we utilize them as guidelines to achieve our goal? How can they be used to develop written communication? Writing through outlines, key expressions and situations, undoubtedly, improves the speed and the quality of writing and the results simultaneously. Many writers use an outline to help them think through the various stages of the writing process. It is a kind of designing scheme or making a skeletal sketch of the organization of a written piece.

9.3.1 Advantages

Preparing an outline will help you refer to your notes, think over them from several perspectives, and chalk out an organizational plan according to your topic, audience and assignment. It will keep you precise and help you stick to the topic along with imparting unity of thoughts as well as compactness to your composition. An outline accompanying the final draft of a report or a research paper also functions as a table of contents for the readers. You may prepare an outline when you want to show the hierarchical relationship or logical ordering of information. For research papers, an outline may help you keep track of large amounts of information. For creative writing, an outline may help organize the various plot threads and help keep track of character traits. Many people find that organizing an oral report or presentation in the form of an outline helps them speak more effectively in front of a crowd. In a nutshell, outlines aid us in the process of writing by organizing our ideas and material in a logical form, showing relationships among thoughts, constructing an ordered overview of the piece and definining boundaries and groups.

9.3.2 Generating Outlines

Outlines can be generated from “bull’s eye outward” that is following inside to outside direction. With a single topic, sentence or idea, start writing down clues about what you might include in your presentation, paragraph or any other composition. Don’t think about this too much—just jot down any idea which comes to you, even if you are not sure how or where it will fit into your writing. As you get fresh ideas, include them. This method is called brainstorming. You can capture the ideas you generate in a number of ways—using a sketchpad, a sheet of paper or memory cards. However, start with noting them down in a random order, then arrange them in a logical sequence. The stages of writing, revising and rewriting the final piece should follow. Another method can be brain mapping, that is, noting down the points systematically. This method can be useful in narrating events like description of cricket match, scene of a technical fair or discussing problems. While using the given outlines try to read between the lines, provide the missing links and shape the twists and turns. In short, the writer has to give a finish to the incomplete picture.

Formal outlines can be prepared in two ways. The ideas can be expressed in parallel phrases or in other words, they can be expressed in the same grammatical form—as noun phrases, verb phrases or adverbial phrases. Topic outlines are useful for the writer as they are brief and to the point. In sentence outlines, on the other hand, the ideas are expressed in complete, though not necessarily parallel, sentences. Sentence outlines give the reader a clearer idea of what you are going to say. For shorter and simpler compositions, a few informal notes may be enough but for the longer ones, which are a bit difficult, you need a systematic plan.

9.3.3 Key Expressions and Situations

Key expressions and situations can also be used as clues to write essays, articles or other compositions. Sometimes key expressions appear in the form of outlines and give us a complete sketch of the picture. However, they may be given in the form of a sentence, a key statement or a topic sentence and we have to develop them into a write up. In such a case, we have to complete the work of an artist who began it but left it just after starting it. Key expressions can be a purely fictitious event, a deep-rooted desire, a reflection or a thought based on facts observed. We should use our brain to analyze the situation, our imagination to produce details and expressions to develop them into a composition. We should place ourselves, imaginatively in the situation and should empathize effectively with it. Although it is a non-verbal clue, it is very much like a picture clue. It is an actual translation of visual input as it inspires our imagination to draw a picture in our mind. By identifying ourselves with the characters, situations or events we provide the missing link and complete the picture.

9.3.4 Sample Outlines

Sample 1    Developing outlines for presentation

Importance of Discipline

Meaning of discipline _____ its requirement _____ discipline in nature _____ usually misunderstood as restriction _____ a virtue for the people of different professions _____the best discipline is self discipline _____

Discipline is the guideline to do any task in a proper manner. It means training according to rules. Without discipline nothing can be done as there will be only chaos and confusion. Discipline is indispensable in every walk of life. It is, in fact, the way of life.

Life requires discipline at every step. The world can be really difficult for those who don’t have it and don’t get it. Nature is the base of all discipline. The rules of gravity, hunger, temperature, danger, curiosity and even aggression teach us a lot about discipline. Nature has been rightly called as the mother of all discipline. It provides all of us with an experience of challenges, problems and consequences, as well as parents who nurture, protect, teach and guide us. Nature offers a real-world experience that parents can use to teach discipline to children. Some of these include making children aware of their surroundings as well as showing concern, cooperation and understanding among the people of the society.

Many of us feel that discipline restricts us but this is wrong because discipline opens our mind and supports us to move in the right way. It makes our life systematic and organized, hence, instead of restricting our freedom it gives us better opportunities to succeed. It directs us to fight every problem. A disciplined person succeeds in each and every field of life. Discipline helps a person get rid of doubts when his mind is divided between duty and self-interest or fear.

Discipline is a virtue not only for the students but also for the people of all the professions and keeps them charged, agile and alert. Disciplined people make a disciplined society and a powerful country. It is a great source of unity. A disciplined nation is a strong nation. Discipline is surety of safety and guarantee of security from the enemies and unfriendly countries. It is the only cure of our social problems.

Discipline should not be imposed upon the people rather it should come from within. One should practice self-discipline because self-discipline is the best discipline. Part of growing up involves the ability to identify our needs, think about our options and to make choices that meet our needs and protect our long-term well-being. Parents who rely on this approach create opportunities for their children and let them experience nature and society. They allow their children to make choices and to learn from the consequences that follow. Children make choices and learn from the consequences that follow. In this way, self-discipline leads to the successful growth of an individual.

Sample 2    Developing Outlines for Writing a Paragraph

Reality Shows on TV

Success of reality shows _____a few successful shows_____ provide a platform to the budding talents, amuse us, enhance our knowledge_____ increase the burden _____ involve politics _____ game of power

Reality shows are gaining a lot of popularity these days. In 1995, India’s first TV show ‘SA-RE-GA-MA’ was shown on the national channel. As far as TRP (Television Rating Points) is concerned, it was a great success. The show not only had a large viewership but earned a lot of name and fame for its makers. Since then, the reality shows have become a usual practice to gain more and more popularity. Many shows such as, sa-re-ga-ma-pa, Close Up Antakshari, Meri Aawaz Suno, Indian Idol, Kaun Banega Crorepati?, Bigg Boss, Dus Ka Dum, Star Voice of India, Boggie Woggie and many more have attained a huge popularity. Reality shows are planned according to the taste of the people. These shows are liked as they showcase the talent of the budding artists, provide the audience with healthy entertainment and guide the viewers in the right direction. Shreya Ghoshal, Kunal Ganjawala and Sunidhi Chauhan, the famous singers of the music industry have come from reality shows. Shilpa Shetty gained a lot of popularity as an international artist because of such a show named ‘Big Brother.’ Some shows give us an opportunity to know the life of the film stars. While laughter shows contribute to the national health by relieving people of their day-to-day stress, the other shows like KBC, Bournvita Quiz Contest enhance our knowledge. Dance and musical shows provide us with sheer amusement, keep us in touch with the latest trends and at the same time provide us an opportunity to give our judgement. Nevertheless, these shows have many shortcomings too. Such shows have increased burden on children. Not only do their studies suffer but also the pressure of competition gets accumulated them. Besides this, they take us away from our culture. To gain popularity, the show owners include gossips, controversies and fights. It is shown that the people win due to public opinion but it is, in fact, the game of power and money. To conclude, the reality shows are not always real.

Sample 3    Developing Outlines to Write a Story

Sir Gobble (A fairy tale)

Bessie Curtis spent a year with her aunt and uncle _____happy in the country _____her uncle gave her a turkey _____it was to be brought on the dinner table on thanksgiving day_____ Bessie and turkey grew fond of each other _____she was sad _____ was afraid at dinner time on the thanksgiving day_____ turkey was brought on the table alive_____ astonished_____ uncle named turkey as “Sir Gobble”

Bessie Curtis was in a great deal of trouble. She was staying in the country while her parents were in Europe. She liked the country, she loved her uncle and aunt with whom she lived, and she heard every week from her father and mother. But something kept disturbing her. As the summer passed, and the autumn came, she had moments when she looked very dull. Early in the spring, her uncle had given her a young turkey. “There, Bessie,” he had said, “that is one of the prettiest turkeys I have ever seen. I will give him into your care, and on Thanksgiving Day we will have him on the dinner-table.”

For some time, Bessie fed the turkey every day without feeling particularly fond of him. Very soon, however, he began to know her. He not only ran to meet her when she brought him his corn and meal, but he also would follow her about just the way Mary’s little lamb followed her about. Her uncle often called after her: “And everywhere that Bessie goes, the turkey’s sure to go.” Yes, round the garden, up and down the avenue, and even into the house itself the turkey followed Bessie. Alas! She remembered her uncle’s words when he gave her the turkey, “On Thanksgiving Day we will have him on the table.” Thanksgiving Day would be here in a week. Now, if Bessie had been like some little girls, she would have told her trouble to her uncle. But she never mentioned it to any one, although she cried herself to sleep several nights before Thanksgiving Day.

At last the day came, and Bessie, instead of going out to the fowl yard as usual, kept in the house all the morning. She was afraid that, if she went, she would not find her beloved friend. Dinner time came, and, with a heavy heart, she seated herself at the table. Her uncle and aunt noticed her sober face, and thought that she missed her father and mother. “Come, come, said her uncle, “we must cheer up; no sad looks on Thanksgiving Day. Maria, bring in the turkey.” Poor Bessie! She could not look up as the door opened, and something was brought in on a big platter. But, as the platter was placed on the table, she saw that it did indeed hold her turkey, but he was alive and well. She looked so astonished that suddenly her uncle understood all her past troubles. “Why, Bessie,” he said, “Did you think I would kill your pet? No, indeed, but I told you he should be on the table on Thanksgiving Day, so here he is.”

Then Bessie’s uncle struck the turkey gently with his carving knife, the way the queen strikes a man with a sword when she makes him a knight. “Behold!” said Bessie’s uncle, “I dub you ‘Sir Gobble;’ you shall never be killed, but die a natural death, and never be parted from Bessie.”

Sample 4    Developing key expressions

Where there is a will there is a way

Great souls have strong will_____ with firm will man can do the unexpected _____once he decides he should not waver _____great people achieved success with determination _____Curies, Napoleon, Amitabh and Tendulkar – a few examples to quote _____nothing is impossible for the strong willed

It is truly said, “Great souls have will: feeble have only wishes.” He, who has a firm will, moulds the world to himself. A man can achieve everything in life if he has a strong will power. A successful man rises from the lowest ebb of life and attains great heights because once the goal is set before him, he does not waver or hesitate. Strong will power accompanied with practice, patience and perseverance can move even mountains. To achieve success one should have firm resolve and put his heart and soul into work. The person who is irresolute cannot make any headway in life. There are people who aspire for great ends but lack self-confidence and suffer hardships. Curies had to work in extreme poverty and in the shabbiest and most ill-equipped laboratory. Even then, they discovered radium. Napoleon crossed Alps in winter. Even in the recent times we have examples of Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan. These people too confronted many setbacks, frustrations and struggles. Still, with their strong will and determination, they could achieve success, which could be a dream for others. Whether it is the field of sports, education, business or entertainment, victory comes to those who have undefeatable will. In this way, man is the master of his own fate. With determination and indomitable courage, he can cross oceans or move mountains to achieve his goals. So, every problem has a solution, provided one has a strong will.

Sample 5    Developing outlines to write an article

Environmental Pollution

Threatens man’s survival_____universal problem _____dangerous for health _____ adversely affecting flora and fauna _____ collective effort is required _____strong measures are needed to check its menace

In recent years, environmental pollution has increased so much that it threatens human survival. It has become a global problem. Almost all the countries are facing this problem. The causes of pollution are quite evident. Vehicles burn smoke and emit toxic gases containing carbon dioxide and monoxide. Chemical wastes from the factories pollute air as well as water. Contaminated water causes death and destruction of both marine and organic life. Man is cutting trees and forests at a fast rate, which is causing global warming.

Pollution has started showing its bad effects on human health and life. Breathing has become very difficult and it has given rise to many diseases like asthma, bronchitis, etc. School children are easy victims of the pollution problems because they are directly in contact with fumes from the exhaust pipes of the vehicles. Due to global warming, ozone layer has developed a big hole. Rainfall is scanty and crop fails in many places. Flora and fauna have been adversely affected. Global warming may cause rise in the level of seawater which may be disastrous.

All the countries should come together and fight against pollution, which poses a threat to human survival. More and more trees should be planted at every possible place. Fuming vehicles should be strictly banned in the cities as they cause maximum pollution. An awareness should be created among the people of the world towards environmental degradation and every human should fight this man-made menace. Protecting environment is every body’s pious duty and all of us should come forward for this noble task.

Task

Develop the outlines of the following presentations:

  1. Growing aggressions among the students
  2. Female foeticide—A bane on Indian society
  3. Importance of technical education
  4. Engineers: The builders of the nation
  5. Developing communication skills
  6. Free periods in college
  7. Women sports
  8. My favourite pastime
  9. Old is gold but new is gem
  10. Fighting terrorism

9.4 Slogan Writing

Slogans, when used properly, can build and sustain name and recognition of a firm and can possibly become a symbol that really means something for it. When used badly or irrelevantly, they are little more than nonsense. What is a slogan, after all? It is a statement that asserts to characterize a firm or a product and sums up its spirit, aim or the main theme in a few words. Slogans are, therefore, short and memorable words or phrases. They are mostly used in political, social, commercial and religious fields for propaganda, attracting the attention of the masses, suggesting an idea quickly or creating awareness among people on social issues. The following are some examples of slogans:

  1. ‘Quit India!’ (political)
  2. ‘Ganpati Bappa Moriya!’ (religious)
  3. Sony Max – ‘Deewana bana de!’ (commercial)
  4. ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness!’ (social)

9.4.1 Types of Slogans

There are mainly four types of slogans:

  1. Imperative—An imperative slogan commands to do something: “Define Your Body Inspire Your Mind!”
  2. Descriptive—A descriptive slogan describes the key feature or benefit of an organization or a person: “GNI—Exploring Futuristic Education!”
  3. Superlative—A superlative slogan exaggerates ideas in such a way that they appear to be rather true: “Saving the Planet!”, “Give the Gift of Life!”
  4. Provocative—A provocative slogan makes the listener or viewer think or reflect on their situation: “What’s the Best for You?

9.4.2 Attributes of a Good Slogan

  1. It should be short, for example, ‘Just do it!’
  2. It should be memorable, for example, ‘Get listed. Get sold!’
  3. It should reflect your business philosophy and target markets, for example, ‘Work is worship!’
  4. It should appeal to your customer’s emotions, for example, ‘A Diamond Forever!’
  5. It should have an urge, for example, ‘Don’t Shed Blood; Donate It!’
  6. It should emphasize the superiority of the product in the market, for example, ‘King of Good Times—King Fisher!’
  7. It should be specific, for example: “(Name) Stands for Excellence!”
  8. It should be believable, for example: “The pause that refreshes!”
  9. It should impart positive thoughts, for example, ‘Because you are worth it!’
  10. It should be trendy, for example: “Gimme (give me) a Break, Gimme a Break!”

9.4.3 How to Write Slogans?

Good ideas are a dime a dozen, but implementation is priceless!” While writing slogans, we should remember that slogans should have rhyme, rhythm and pun. Catchy, simple and short words, phrases and expressions should be used to inspire the mind of the masses. A little research, humour, hard work and insight will help the writer make it impressive and memorable. Some well-known quotations may also be used to attract the attention of the people as well as to create a lasting impression on the mind of the people. A good slogan rarely has a life of its own unless it is created carefully and used appropriately. If you think you have simply come up with a catchy phrase, put it on a business card or a letterhead and practice it. Then, you have built a castle in the air and moved in. To be successful, a slogan, no matter how good it is as a piece of marketing writing, has to have a strong body of explanation behind it. It should sum up the essence of an advertisement or a brochure, or else it is meaningless. Credibility is important in slogans. They appeal to those who like to think and it is purely emotional rather rational. If you were to say, “We do better audits,” or “We write better briefs”, you could say it but ethically and realistically you may not. It is a major difference between a product and professional service marketing.

9.4.4 Sample Slogans

Sample 1

Reading is to Mind What Exercise is to Body

Books Are:

  • A warehouse of knowledge
  • A source of entertainment forever
  • A food for thought and mental health
  • Our best friends, philosophers and guides

Remember

  • Do regular reading and broaden your horizon and experience

Sample 2

Drug Addiction—An Endless Destruction

Drugs:

  • Never thrill but only kill
  • Cause death and doom
  • Lead man to living hell
  • Spoil family and social life

Remember

  • Drugs merely rot the body and anaesthetize the mind
  • Say ‘NO’ to DRUGS forever – for yourself and your loved ones

Sample 3

Check Pollution—Save Humanity

The Monster of Pollution

  • Pollutes air, water and land
  • Depletes ozone layer and melts polar ice
  • Decreases forests and chokes earth
  • Causes deadly diseases and acid rains

So

  • Grow more and more trees
  • Adopt eco-friendly ways
  • Spread awareness towards environment
  • Preserve natural resources

Come together and make the earth beautiful, lovable and healthy

SAVE ENVIRONMENT – SAVE YOURSELF

Sample 4

Enjoy Exercise Year Around and be a Happier, Healthier and Livelier Human Being

HAVE

  • Regular walk, jogging and yoga
  • Cycling, skating and skipping
  • Dancing, playing and swimming

AND

  • Keep yourself healthy and energized
  • Remove stress and burden
  • Control weight and fats
  • Improve stamina, build muscles, bones and joints

Consider:    Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.

Sample 5

Female Foeticide – A Crime Against God

Girls are:

  • MOTHERS
  • SISTERS
  • FRIENDS
  • WIVES
  • TEACHERS

Murdering them in the womb means:

  • Destroying happiness and brightness of homes
  • Killing love and affection in life
  • Disturbing male–female ratio
  • Hindering country’s progress

Remember:

  • No society or country can progress if girls are killed before they are born!
  • Girls are mothers and mother is the name of God!

Sample 6

Better Late Than Never – Drive Safe

DO’S:

  • Use seat belts and helmets
  • Drive in your lanes
  • Follow traffic signals
  • Keep your speed in limits

DON’TS:

  • Jump red lights
  • Mix driving and drinking
  • Park at the wrong sites
  • Use mobiles while driving

Remember:

  • Safety – It is in your hand!
  • Your first mistake could be your last!

Task

Write out slogans with supporting text on the following topics:

  1. Donate blood
  2. Deforestation control
  3. Animal protection
  4. Stop ragging
  5. Preserve natural resources
  6. Illiteracy: A curse

9.5 Dialogue Writing

Conversation is the laboratory and workshop of the students.”

 

–Ralph W Emerson

Man is a social animal and to converse with others is one of his natural desires. Conversation links people with one another and makes social and professional interactions possible. Writing a dialogue is, in fact, writing a conversation, which enriches understanding. As compared to other writing skills, dialogue writing may be difficult. It is true that the idea of dialogues is simple and the writer creates or retells a conversation between characters or real people, but experienced people know that dialogue writing is an art. Writing realistic dialogue does not come easily to everyone. If it is written well, dialogue helps in advancing the story and unfolds the characters. As for learners, it helps in improving communication.

9.5.1 Writing a Good Dialogue

A good dialogue has a desired effect only if it is realistic and meaningful. The readers, at some point of time, may come across a bad dialogue, which may be grammatically correct but fails to attract the readers. Why is this? One of the most common mistakes a writer may commit with dialogue writing is pushing his/her own views into it. The author, working in the background, is concerned about creating a story or advancing the theme, so the natural conversation between the characters is sacrificed. A dialogue writer should have an ability to empathize with the characters, that is, he/she should keep himself/herself in the shoes of the characters. They should proceed in a natural and realistic way to make it meaningful. The art of dialogue writing needs practice, knowledge and patience to provide satisfaction to the readers or listeners.

9.5.2 Mechanics of Writing Good Dialogues

1. Use a conversational tone:   When dialogues are written in a conversational tone, we feel that they are real conversations. Researchers have proved if we are involved in a conversation, our brain responds accordingly and pays more attention to it. Use a conversational tone and help the readers understand the interaction.

2. Pay attention to day-to-day conversations:   It is essential to have a sense of natural speech patterns to write a good dialogue. One should pay attention to the expressions and the techniques of day-to-day conversation. This exercise will help us not only write dialogues in an appropriate manner, but also start developing an ear to the way people talk.

3. Write the way you talk:   You may ignore what you may have learnt about writing and write the way you talk to help your readers understand your material. What this really means is to write in a direct and friendly manner—it is more appealing to our brain than formal writing. Dialogues should read like real conversations. How do we accomplish it? Alfred Hitchcock said that a good story is “life, with the dull parts taken out.” This very much applies to a dialogue. Edit out the filler words and irrelevant dialogue—that is, dialogue that doesn’t contribute to the theme in any way.

4. Don’t provide too much information at once:   It should not be obvious to the reader that they are being fed important facts. Let the conversation unfold naturally. One doesn’t have to tell the reader everything up front; rather one should help him or her remember details from the background.

5. Don’t overdo dialogue tags:   Using too much beyond “he said/she said” only draws attention to the tags. One should try to draw the reader’s attention towards the brilliant dialogue, not towards the ability to think of synonyms for “said.”

6. Punctuate the dialogue correctly:   The rules for punctuating dialogues can be confusing. Take some time to learn the basics. A reader should get the content of your dialogue and should not feel distracted by wrong punctuation marks.

7. Use contractions:   Contrary to what you may have learned, it is ok to use contractions such as I’ll, you’ll, won’t, shan’t, etc., in dialogue writing. You will grab your reader’s attention and engage their brain without making them aware of it.

8. You may begin a sentence with ‘and’ and ‘but’:   Although starting a sentence with ‘and’ and ‘but’ is grammatically incorrect, in dialogue writing, this is permissible occasionally. It makes your dialogue sound authentic.

9. Use ellipsis:   Ellipsis is an important feature of informal talk. Use it to make your dialogues true to life and colloquially correct. For example, instead of saying, ‘Do you want a drink?’ say ‘Want a drink?’

10. Read out the dialogue loudly:   If you are not sure about your dialogue, read it out loud to yourself. If it doesn’t sound right, change it. Reading your dialogue out loudly gives it a new meaning.

11. Don’t use jargon, slangs or difficult words:   If you are really concerned about your readers, don’t use words that show off your intelligence. The use of jargons and slangs makes your dialogues difficult to understand and at the same time gives an impression that the writer either lacks seriousness or is not aware of the technique of creating a rapport with the reader.

12. Remain organized and don’t ramble:   Writing dialogue does not give you permission to write like you are sending a text message or to ramble using long sentences. Your writing should be well organized and should have thoughts that flow together. Dialogues should be well linked and each following dialogue should be the by-product of the previous one.

13. Paraphrase back what you have heard, using your own words:   This seems like an easy skill but needs some practice to master. A dialogue occurs in turns, each person taking a turn to listen and a turn to speak or to respond. Paraphrasing the speaker’s ideas in your own words shows respect to the speaker and when you have your “speaking turn” you indicate that you have been listening carefully. Moreover, you have a chance to correct your understanding, affirm it, restate it, oppose it or say something new about it.

14. Start conversation with greetings:   Start your dialogue with proper greetings to establish contact with the other person and to show friendliness. For example—Good morning! Good afternoon! Hello! How are you? Hi Radha!

15. Don’t end your conversation in confusion or abruptly:   Ending should include the phrases which signal the end of conversation in a polite manner. Like greetings, end it with the phrases such as see you/good bye/have a nice day!

16. Make it realistic:   In a real conversation, people often ask a question to answer another or sometimes they answer a question before it is asked. For example – A – What will you do if you win 10 thousand rupees? B – Well, what will you do?

17. Be careful about formal and informal situations:   You should know whether the situation is formal or informal. Use your sentences, vocabulary, style and techniques accordingly. In a formal situation a senior person ends the conversation and in informal situation either person can signal the end of conversation. In telephonic conversation, the caller ends the dialogue.

18. Think over the topic and the situation:   Note down the points you are going to use. Arrange your ideas in a logical manner. Think positively about your audience and about what you have to say.

9.5.3 Some Useful Phrases

Greetings:    (starting) Hallo!/Hello!/Hi/Good morning/Cheerio/How nice to see you!/What’s a pleasant surprise! (ending) Bye!/Have a nice day!/Good day!/See you!/ Come again!/It’s good to see you!/Thanks for coming!/See you again!/Good bye!/It was really good to see you here!

Salutations:   Mr. Sharma/Mrs. Mathur/Miss Gulati/Madam/Ma’am/Sir/Ladies and gentlemen/Yes, Mr. Smith, Yes/madam/No, sir/No ma’am.

Introduction:    Let me introduce Mr. Garg (to you)/I would like you to meet Mr. Sharma/Let me introduce myself/I’m/My name is Nivedita/Meet my friend Jasmine/How do you do?– How do you do?/I’m very pleased to meet you/Could you introduce me to Mrs. Chopra?/Excuse me, are you Mr. Bhatnagar?/Yes, that’s my name/Nice to meet you.

Thanks:    Thank you/Thanks/Thank you very much/I’m most grateful to you/Thanks a lot/I’m much obliged to you/It’s good of you/You’ve been very helpful/Not at all/It’s all right/You’re welcome!

How to say “yes”/“no”:    Yes, good/OK/All right/That’s it!/Certainly!/Of course!/Sure!/By all means/I think so/Yes, you’re right/Oh, no/I don’t think so/Not at all/ Certainly not/Not yet/It’s no use/Never/No, on the contrary/No, but thanks anyway/May be next time/I’m sorry but I can’t accept that.

Requests:    Will you please pass me/help me?/Here you are/With pleasure/I’d like …/Could you…?/Would you help me?/Will you come …, please?/Stop it/Go ahead/Look here/May I ask you to do me a favour?/I wonder.

Excuses:    I’m sorry/Excuse me, please/Sorry, I cannot help it/It’s ok/That’s all right/Will you excuse me for a moment?/So sorry to trouble you/Sorry to disturb/bother you/Never mind/It’s all right/It’s no trouble at all/I beg your pardon/Pardon me!

Courtesy:    How are you?/I’m well, thank you, and you?/Have a good time/Quite well, thanks/This way, please/May I come in?/After you/Excuse me, I’ll lead the way/Will you come in, please?/Give them my kind regards/I’m sorry to hear that.

Satisfaction:    Very good /Great /Splendid/Amazing /That’s fine /That’s OK. That’s all right/It’s good to see you again/I’m glad about that /He’s lucky!/I’m glad to hear that.

Dissatisfaction:    Stop it!/How can he be so silly!/It’s stupid!/It’s unbelievable!/I’m sick of it!/I’m fed up with it!/It’s impossible!/Leave her alone!

Regret:    I’m afraid it’s true/I’m very sorry about that/What a shame!/That’s bad luck!/I’m afraid I can’t be of any help /I’m deeply sorry/What a pity!

Weather:    What’s the weather forecast?/It’s awfully hot /It’s sultry/It’s getting warm /It’s sunny/It’s raining /It’s damp/It’s overcast /It’s cloudy/It’s breezy/It looks like rain /The dew’s falling /It’s a cloudburst /There’s rainbow in the sky/It’s drizzling /It’s foggy/It’s pouring rain/It’s going to snow/It’s snowing /It’s chilly/cool /It’s cold /It’s freezing /I’m freezing /It’s slippery/It’s windy/It’s dusty/A wind is rising /The storm is drawing near/It’s hailing.

Health:    How are you?/Are you (feeling) better now?/You look/don’t look well /You look (are) pale /I’m very well /I’m not well /I feel tired /You should go to the doctor’s /It’s nothing; I’ll soon get over it /What’s the matter with you?/What’s the trouble?/I’m sick /I feel faint / I’m sick /I fell and bruised my leg /I hurt my knee /I sprained my ankle /I’ve broken my arm /I’ve cut my finger /I’ve got a blister on my heel /I’ve burnt my back (in the sun) /Something’s fallen in my eye /I was bitten by some insect /My arm’s swollen /Send for a doctor/Fetch a doctor at once/Where’s the health centre?/What are the surgery hours?

Sympathy:    Please accept my condolences /I share your distress /Accept my deepest condolences/I’m so sorry for him.

Making Suggestions:    How/what about (+ gerund)?/Why don’t you/we…?/You should/ought to…/If I were you, I’d…/I suggest/propose (+ gerund)…That’s a good idea!/Yes, let’s do that/Yes, why not?/That isn’t possible/practicable/feasible.

Agreeing:    Absolutely/Precisely/Exactly/I totally agree /So do I/Nor do I/I can go along with that /I think you’re right up to a point.

Disagreeing:    You’re quite wrong there/I’m sorry, but I don’t agree at all /That’s an exaggeration /Do you really think so?/It isn’t as simple as that.

Checking your Understanding:    Do you really mean to say…?/So, if I understand you correctly, …/What exactly do you mean by that?/I didn’t follow what you said about….

Asking for Opinions:    So, what do you think, (name)?/How do you feel about this/ that?/What is your view/position on…?/Do you agree with that, (name)?/Would you like to add anything, (name)?

Giving Opinions:    In my opinion/view…/As far as I’m concerned…/I think/feel…/As I see it…To my mind….

Correcting Misunderstandings:   That’s not quite what I meant by…/Don’t get me wrong. What I meant was…/You have got the wrong end of the stick /Look, to put it another way……

Interrupting:    Sorry to interrupt, but…/May I interrupt you for a moment?/Can I just make a point?/Mind if I just say something?/ Excuse me!

Dealing with Interruptions:   I haven’t finished, if you don’t mind /If I might just finish…/I haven’t got to my point yet /Let me just make my point.

9.5.4 Sample Dialogues

1. Conversation between two friends discussing their college life.

Avneet: Hi Mahak!

Mahak: Hi Avneet! Nice to see you after a long time!

Avneet: Same here! How are you?

Mahak: I’m fine. Thanks. What about you?

Avneet: I am also fine.

Mahak: What are you doing these days?

Avneet: Nothing special…. just enjoying holidays.

Mahak: That’s great!

Avneet: What is going on at your end?

Mahak: Same here. I am at home with my family.

Avneet: How’s your college life going on?

Mahak: It’s very nice and relaxed. We enjoy a lot in our college. And yours?

Avneet: Not so good. There’s no discipline or strictness in our college. Students bunk their classes and they don’t let others also study.

Mahak: But in our college we have regular classes. The discipline part is very good. Bunking classes is not possible here.

Avneet: You must be happy. We have so many problems in studies……and have no one to discuss them.

Mahak: In our college, faculty is very good and experienced. They teach us very well and give us a lot of study material such as notes, assignments, etc. You may also refer to them if you wish.

Avneet: Thanks a lot! Of course, I’d like to use them.

Mahak: Come to my place in the evening. We’ll discuss these points and will have a nice time.

Avneet: Sure! I’ll definitely come.

Mahak: Ok. Bye!

Avneet: Bye! Take care!

2. A dialogue between the receptionist and the student who has come to inquire about the courses run by the institute.

Student: Good Morning, ma’am!

Receptionist: A very good morning! How can I help you?

Student: Ma’am, I’m a student of +2. I wish to seek admission in a reputed engineering college next year. I’ve come to inquire about the B. Tech. course run by your institute.

Receptionist: Sure! Our college runs B. Tech. course for four years in Computer Science and Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering and Electronics and Communication Engineering.

Student: Is the course approved by AICTE or some other authorized body?

Receptionist: Of course! Our B. Tech. course is duly approved by AICTE and is affiliated to Kurukshetra University, one of the oldest and most reputed universities of India.

Student: What is the fee structure?

Receptionist: Total fee is Rs. 65,000 per annum. You’ve to pay it in four instalments. This is the information brochure of the college. It contains all the details about the fees.

Student: How much does it cost?

Receptionist: It’s free of cost.

Student: Thank you, ma’am. What about the faculty of college?

Receptionist: Faculty of our college is very good and experienced.

Student: And co-curricular activities?

Receptionist: We have special classes for personality development. We also have a number of activities for this purpose.

Student: That’s nice. Does the college offer other facilities too?

Receptionist: Yes, we offer conveyance, medical and hostel facilities too.

Student: That’s absolutely fine! I would like to get myself registered.

Receptionist: The brochure, I just gave you has an application form. Fill it and submit it to me. You’ll get registered. Once your result of +2 is declared you may contact us.

Student: Thank you very much.

Receptionist: You’re welcome! If you need to know anything else, please feel free to ask.

Student: Sure!

Receptionist: Thanks for coming. Have a nice day!

Student: Thanks!

3. An interaction between the student and the librarian.

Student: Good Morning, sir.

Librarian: Good morning!

Student: I’ve come to return these books.

Librarian: Sure! But two of these books were due on last Tuesday. You’re late by a week.

Student: Yes sir, I know. But…. I was suffering from jaundice and have not been coming to college these days.

Librarian: Oh! But you’ve to pay the fine.

Student: I know students are excused from fine on medical grounds.

Librarian: Of course it is. You’ll have to fill the application form and get it signed by your Head of the Department. He’ll certify that you were not well ….then only you can have this exemption.

Student: Fine sir. I’ll get it done. Meanwhile, please issue these books.

Librarian: Put your signature here ……and here.

Student: I want to point out something. Please see that in this book two pages are missing.

Librarian: Oh my God! Somebody has torn these pages. How mean! Wait I’ll sign here, otherwise the blame will be on you or on the next borrower after you.

Student: Thanks a lot, sir.

Librarian: Thanks!

4. A dialogue between two friends discussing a TV programme

Kush: Hello Nivedita! How are you?

Nivedita: I’m fine. Thanks. And you?

Kush: I’m fine too. What are you doing these days?

Nivedita: These days? Nothing special…just surfing on the net, sleeping and watching TV….

Kush: So, you too like net surfing and watching TV.

Nivedita: Yeah! You too like watching TV?

Kush: Of course! Me too!

Nivedita: Which TV show do you like the most?

Kush: My favourite TV show is ‘Sa re ga ma pa.’

Nivedita: Wow! This is my favourite TV show too. You know I’m fond of singing.

Kush: I remember very well. You used to sing in almost every programme in school.

Nivedita: Hmm. Now I’m busy with my studies so I don’t get much time to practice singing. But I keep my singing updated with the help of such competitions as ‘sa re ga ma pa’ shown on TV.

Kush: Great! Even I love this show.

Nivedita: This programme is really wonderful because the mentors of the participants are the renowned musicians and they are experts in their field. Whatever tips they give them help all the learners.

Kush: Absolutely right. Even the participants are very good. They are from different parts of the world. They all are extremely talented.

Nivedita: Yes. Kush even you were a great singer in school days. Am I right?

Kush: Not great! I used to practice singing as a hobby. Even at present I love listening songs and whenever I get an opportunity, I sing.

Nivedita: Good! What are you doing these days?

Kush: I’m pursuing B. Tech. (Electrical) at N. I. T. Kurukshetra.

Nivedita: What a pleasant surprise! Congratulations!…… I’ve to go as I’m getting late for my MBA classes.

Kush: Sure! It was so nice to see you after a long time.

Nivedita: It was nice to see you too. We’ll soon arrange a get together soon and will invite our old friends, Pranjal, Prakhar, Gouri, Krishna, Asmita also.

Kush: Wonderful! That will be great!

Nivedita: Good bye! Take care.

Kush: Bye! See you!

Task

  1. Write a dialogue between two women who are discussing advantages and disadvantages of life in a metro.
  2. Write a conversation between two friends over ‘Re-mixing of Songs.’
  3. Write a dialogue between two friends discussing preparations for the final exams.
  4. Write a conversation between a father and a son who wants to go on a school trip and asks for money from his father.
  5. Write a dialogue between a teacher and a parent discussing learning problems of the students.

9.6 Interpreting Pictures and Cartoons

“A picture paints a thousand words” is an old maxim. Pictures are the visual materials, which can be effectively used in acquiring communication skills. They offer a wide range of language learning situations providing real opportunities for students to communicate, whether they are working as a class, in groups or in pairs. A picture is a powerful medium to unlock speculations in us. It kindles a process of ideas, thoughts and imagination. Of course, we infer to the background of a picture and think: What could it be? How could such a thing happen? Who are the persons involved in it? Why does such a situation arise? How do the people in these situations feel? What could be the solution? There can be several other queries, which should be satisfied while writing a picture composition. In short, imagination, logic and creativity should be used in describing a picture. One should study the picture thoroughly, use the details given in it and should interpret them effectively in writing. Details of the pictures should be used to find points. We should try to make the piece not only meaningful but also relevant. It should have a beginning, climax and conclusion. Moreover, it should convey a message.

Cartoons and comic strips can be used from beginner level to the advanced level for a variety of language and discussion activities. A cartoonist is a writer as well as a critic. He knows the art of communicating effectively and economically. Usually a cartoon ridicules, exposes, attacks, amuses and tries to correct. While interpreting a cartoon one should find the context, recognize the characters and identify the message. One should read what the cartoonist is trying to ridicule. Cartoons can be used as powerful tools in teaching communication skills. They may be used to tell a complex story in a few images, provide comments and provoke thoughts on the events and the issues discussed in the news. They give an example of vocabulary related to the current trends and comment on them along with illustrating a whole range of issues such as racism, teenage relationships, sexism, ageism, family relationships, etc. The language used can sometimes be too colloquial and referential for lower levels to cope with; therefore, one should be careful in choosing cartoons.

9.6.1 Sample Illustrations

Sample 1

Corruption

“Corruption: an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.” Corruption is one of the major problems of our country. It is, in fact, lack of integrity or an act done with the intention to gain some advantages, inconsistent with the official duty and rights of others. It is not only related to bribery but also to the abuse of power in decision making. It indicates that our behaviour deviates from ethics, morality, traditions and laws. The problem of corruption is getting worse day by day. Earlier bribe was given to get the wrong thing done but, nowadays, it is given to get the right thing done at the right time. Corruption is seen everywhere in the world and at every step. Government announces so many schemes for the welfare of the people but corruption comes in the way of their implementation. Causes of corruption are very complex. Some of them are over population, unemployment, illiteracy, low wages of the government officials and the monopoly of the elite class. The situation gets worse because men and women are collectively and individually corrupt. However, it is not impossible to abolish the evil of corruption. It is quite possible to have a corruption-free state. The target is, no doubt, highly difficult to achieve because it requires cooperation from every citizen, every industry and every organization whether it is private or government from the grass-root level. There are some measures, which should be taken to control the increasing corruption. The Right to Information Act is one of them. Under this act, one can ask what the government is doing in a particular field. One can also use Grievance Redressal Machinery to voice his or her problems. Another potent check on corruption can be Central Vigilance Committee. Establishment of speedy courts can also be extremely beneficial in this regard. These strategies combined with strong will power and whole hearted cooperation of all the citizens as well as the officials, politicians and bureaucrats can make India a corruption-free nation.

Sample 2

Ragging

Ragging is a form of abuse on the newcomers to educational institutions. “Ragging’ means the doing of any act which causes, or is likely to cause any physical, psychological or physiological harm of apprehension or shame or embarrassment to a student. It includes (1) teasing or abusing of playing a practical joke on, or causing hurt to any student or (2) asking any student to do any act, or perform anything, which he/she would not, in the ordinary course, be willing to do or perform.” It has been a bane on Indian educated society. It spoils the atmosphere of educational institutions. Many education institutions have not been able to check this menace. In fact, ragging is not a new phenomenon. It has been prevalent in India for a long time. However, its nature has completely changed over the years. Earlier it was limited to a friendly interaction or introduction among the students and helped the new comers adjust with the new atmosphere. With the passage of time, it has taken the form of a threat. Nowadays, some frustrated people try to derive sadistic pleasure out of it. In this process, they impose the beginners to a grave danger. The most touching part of ragging is that it leaves the victims emotionally, physically and mentally broken for the rest of their life. Sometimes it leads to more serious outcome, as we read in the newspapers, that the students have to pay with their life. There are various other aspects too related to this issue. All the educational institutions as well as the governing bodies have banned ragging as per the ruling of the Supreme Court. However, these efforts by the court, law, educational institutions are not enough. Of course, laws are there to check it but they have not been implemented effectively. To solve this problem, collective and concerted effort from various quarters is urgently needed. Above all, millions of students have to be convinced that they should help their juniors in the noble task of acquiring education rather discouraging them.

Sample 3

TV Viewing and the Young Generation

Television is one of the most remarkable inventions of the present time. Its advent has totally changed the life of man. It has brought about complete change in the life and attitude of man. Television is one of the biggest inventions in the electronics field. It is a source of entertainment as well as knowledge. Many educational channels like BBC and Discovery, quiz programmes, etc., help us a lot in upgrading our knowledge. It is a very powerful medium of communication. Anything that happens in one part of the world can be seen live or known in another part of the world within seconds. Through various discussions, interviews and conferences, it creates public opinion and educates the masses. However, TV has demerits also. Too much involvement in TV makes a negative impact on the studies of the students. Moreover, it leaves a bad effect on their health as they avoid outdoor activities. Overdose of TV is ruining the gains of Indian culture and heritage. It promotes those aspects of western culture, which are against Indian traditions. It adversely affects social as well as human relations. Television has both advantages as well as disadvantages. It should be watched in limits and children should watch only good programmes so that they may make use of its merits and avoid its demerits.

Sample 4

Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is faith in oneself. It is being able to do things with a feeling that we have the ability to do them well. When we have faith in ourselves, things silently happen the way we want them to take place. Moreover, if a man has faith in himself, others will also have faith in him. Nobody trusts a person who lacks confidence. Self-confidence is the birthright of a person. Most of the people feel that their friends and colleagues have talents so they are confident. This notion is not correct because everybody is born in this world with something special to feel good about it. It is up to us to find it out for ourselves. It may take time but if we believe in ourselves, we will definitely find confidence eventually. To gain confidence we should keep telling ourselves that we can do whatever we wish to do. It happens easily when we think of it without any fear or doubt. Telling ourselves repeatedly that we can do anything we wish to do creates strength and ability in us to achieve a particular target. No two human beings are alike and we are special like no one else. We should make the best use of our talents and should feel good about them. We should keep one thing in mind that we should never compare ourselves with others. If we find only strengths of others, we may feel miserable. On the other hand, if we find only weaknesses in others, we can become arrogant. Believing in oneself is good but becoming proud is bad. Therefore, we should have confidence in ourselves in a calm and modest way otherwise self-confidence may turn into overconfidence.

Sample 5

Beggary

Beggary is a major problem, which is affecting a large population of India. There are large numbers of beggars in India who are forced into begging because our societies fail in providing any good alternative to them. For the last few centuries, India has suffered from acute poverty. Poverty, disability and unemployment are largely responsible for the problem of beggary, which is a social evil. Begging problem is getting worse day by day in India. It presents a poor image of the country. Ill-clad beggars particularly children are seen begging for alms at public places such as railway station, bus stand, temples, squares and crossings. They use emotional language to exploit people psychologically. Moreover, they use all the tricks to draw sympathy from the people as well as use different styles of begging. Some beggars use musical instruments, some sing devotional songs while some have infants in their arms. In some places, beggary has taken the shape of an organized crime with rackets working behind the curtain. Some of them are cheats too. Under the disguise of beggars they loot people, kidnap children or indulge in other unsocial activities. Many people who are strong and sturdy also keep begging. Some people have adopted begging as their profession. Even when their financial condition is good, they do not stop begging.

This problem is getting serious day by day. Forcibly vacating these public places from the beggars will not be enough. Some agency has to be there and it should encourage these beggars to live their life respectfully in a dignified way. Specially those who are physically strong should be identified and should be given some jobs. With the help of public donation beggar homes can also be constructed. If all the people unite socially, this job will not be difficult. What we need are strong-willed people who are determined to contribute to this noble cause.