Social and political discourse

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INTRODUCTION

This textbook is for advanced students willing to build up their comprehension of political, social and economic texts. The textbook has six chapters:
1. Rule of Law
2. Elections
3. Visits. Talks. Agreements
4. International Organizations
5. Economy Matters
6. Natural Disasters
Each chapter is a coherent unit presenting and practicing vocabulary points, skills of summary translation, annotation and rendering. It also aims at helping students expand their knowledge of extralinguistic issues. The methodological principles serving as the basis for the textbook are a systematic and functional approach and the communicative nature of the used teaching materials and instruction methods. The textbook is in conformity with the requirements of the course “Practice of Oral and Written Speech” which has the advanced module “Mass Media” as one of its constituent parts. Apart from a structural overview of the units to be studied within the Mass Media course, this Introductory Unit also presents an attempt to provide students with helpful recommendations and tips, which, hopefully, will enhance the value of this book as a source of practical knowledge and help have a better understanding of the intricacies the mass media language entails. Having completed the present course, students will substantially improve their awareness of the major contemporary political and economic issues, and will be able to draw on a broad range of vocabulary items presented and practiced in the units to freely discuss the topics introduced in the book. Other benefits students will derive from closely studying the contents of the course include skills of translation and summary translation. Each unit consists of three parts: Focus on Vocabulary, Focus on Texts and Focus on Rendering and Translation. We suggest that students observe the following sequence of actions while working with the book. Before completing any exercises in the book, the student is advised to make a careful study of the related vocabulary section in Appendix 1. Glossary. Once the student is comfortable with the glossary items, they can move on and complete the exercises in the Focus on Vocabulary section, which will help them both check up on what they have learnt and identify areas of concern requiring further additional practice. The Focus on Texts section offers a selection of background texts, where the student has a chance to “feel” the language studied in a broader context and use the glossary memorized in a variety of communication-oriented exercises. In the Focus on Rendering and Translation section, students have a variety of Russian and Belarusian newspaper articles to translate and render. Whereas translation presents an activity which has traditionally received a lot of attention in Minsk State Linguistic University, summary translation or rendering is a relatively new concept. The student rendering an article is expected to meet the following requirements. First, the text being rendered has to be preceded with an introduction mentioning some key facts such as the name of the article and a brief overview of the topic or events discussed. Second, the student proceeds to relate the contents of the piece. As they do so, they are expected to leave out unnecessary particularities, concentrate on the basic facts and use their functional vocabulary wherever possible. The translation accomplished in this way should be an adequate condensed version of the source article, retain its structural integrity and preserve around 70% of the original volume. Whatever the task the student is faced with, we recommend that they use the most reliable bilingual and monolingual dictionaries available including comprehensive dictionaries published by Longman, Oxford, Cambridge and other authoritative publishers. Last but not least, we hope you enjoy the course immensely and make the most of what it has to offer you.

Unit I. Rule of Law

1. Focus on Vocabulary...
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