Essential English is a course in four books, of which this is the third, for the teaching of English to adult foreign students. It aims at giving the student a sound knowledge of the essentials of both spoken and written English and taking him well on the way to a mastery of idiomatic conversational and literary English.
The normal constructions and sentence patterns of English are introduced gradually and systematically, and are well drilled at every stage. The learner is guided through “ essential ” grammar in the simplest possible manher, and every new construction is explained and íllustrated as soon as it is used.
The restricted vocabulary within which the four books are written has been based on A General Service List o} English Words.1 But neither this list, ñor any other list, has been followed slavishly and blindly; the vocabulary and the grammar and the structures taught have been tested constantly by the experience gained during some thirty years of teaching English to foreign students or writing text-books for them.
Because I beiieve that a knowledge of the spoken tongue is the true basis of language learning, much of this book is in “ con-versationaí ” form; and my constant endeavour has been to ensure that, despite the restrictions that a limited vocabulary naturally imposes, every sentence in these conversations is expressed in the living colloquial idiom that an educated Englishman would use.
And, since the most effective spur to learning a language (or anything else) is interest, every effort has been made to cover the linguistic pill with the jam of gaiety. So, as soon as the prelimi-naries are mastered, the reader is introduced to Mr. Priestley, his household and his group of students.
We see them here and in all the other books chatting together, telling jokes, reading stories that they have written, singing songs or acting short plays.
It is on these conversations and stories and the “talks by Mr. Priestley” that the language teaching is based, and from them that the copious exercises by which the teacher is enabled to test how far the work has been understood, are drawn.
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