Basic position of a modern technique is the maximum adequacy of the conditions promoting formation of communicative skills in a foreign language, a condition of the use of speech means of a foreign language in communication. Training in language from the very beginning has to engage in the conditions of real communication or as it is possible to imitate these conditions more precisely.
Using proverbs and sayings pupils take part in dialogue, receive primary data on grammar, syntax and phraseology, receive additional data on the country of the learned language. The knowledge of proverbs and sayings allow pupils to interpret correctly audible speech messages and adequately react to them, to express their own thoughts and feelings to be the interlocutors and finally become successful in communication.
The great Czech teacher Jan Amos Komensky considered that learning of foreign language has to go on the way from gradual comprehension of sense of the foreign-language statement to perception of beauty of words, expressions, richness of all language opportunities and, at last, to ability to get into esthetic essence of language, mastering language [Kamensky 1939:138]. That means the comprehension of a foreign language has to be not only pragmatical, but also spiritual. K. D. Ushinsky, developing Komensky's ideas, wrote that it is necessary to teach speaking through, taking into account the culture of the country of the learned language [Ushinsky 1948:42].
Training «acquaintance to literature» at the initial stage is quite problematic as lexical and grammatical opportunities of pupils are very limited. And here proverbs and sayings represent the richest authentic material, on the one hand, which doesn’t need adaptation, and with on the other hand, it meet the highest art requirements. Therefore it is impossible to underestimate the huge methodical and practical value of use of proverbs and sayings in the course of training in a foreign language at elementary school.
At the initial stage it is possible to address to proverbs and sayings for processing of the sound part of the speech. Such material helps put a pronunciation of separate difficult concordants, in particular which are not typical for Russian. Instead of the separate words and phrases containing this or that sound it is possible to offer a class specially selected proverbs and sayings. Then during two-three lessons the proverb or saying is repeated, the sound pronunciation is corrected. This type of work can be included in a lesson at its different stages, it serves as a peculiar discharge for children. It is necessary to select a proverb or a saying depending on the sound it fulfills. It is possible to offer, for example, such proverbs and sayings for processing a sound [w]:
Watch which way the cat jumps.
Which way the wind blows.
So many men, so many minds.
To make a mountain out of a molehill.
To run with the hare, and hunt with the hounds.
Handsome is as handsome does.
Don't burn your bridges behind you.
Business before pleasure.
combination of sounds [t] and [r]:
Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.
Treat others as you want to be treated yourself.
Use of proverbs and sayings especially is justified since here ideally are combined improvement of the logoposition and rhythm-intonation skills. On the one hand, pronunciation skills are automated, and on the other hand, another pupils learn to divide utterance into syntagmas, to define a logical accent, etc. Therefore use of proverbs and sayings in training pronunciation is the extremely expedient and effective.
The special attention is focused on the means of firmness and a memorability of proverbs and sayings. One of them is exact, or assonansny, rhyme:
Little strokes fell great oaks.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Birds of a feather flock together.
The simple balanced form is the most frequent reception:
More haste, less speed.
Easy come easy go.
Like father, like son.
Brevity is an essential aspect of a memorability of statements. Only the few proverbs and sayings are verbose, the majority of them contains no more than five words:
Boys will be boys.
Better late than never.
Dead man tells no tales.
Being, on the one hand, means of expression of thought, and, on the other hand, realizing the studied forms or designs in the speech, proverbs and sayings promote automation and activization of these grammatical forms and designs. So, the imperative mood carries out incentive function in communication, and with its help it is possible to express a request, council, offers, wishes, permissions, prohibitions, cautions of proverbs. For example:
Don't burn your bridges behind you.
Don't throw out your dirty water before you get in fresh.
Newer say die.
Do as you would be done by.
Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs.
It is also possible to use proverbs and sayings when studying irregular verbs of English. Here it is possible to carry such proverbs:
What is done can't be undone.
One link broken, the whole chain is broken.
If one claw is caught, the bird is lost.
Practice shows that process of development of degrees of comparison of adjectives doesn't represent complexity if material is offered whenever possible in the form of proverbs and sayings. For example:
Better late than never.
The best fish swim in the bottom.
The least said, the soonest mended.
It is also possible to use proverbs and sayings when studying modal verbs:
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
When pigs can fly.
You can't eat your cake and have it.
An apple a day keeps a doctor away.
A man can die but once.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
The devil is not so black as he is painted.
A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will.
It is impossible to construct training in grammar based on material of proverbs and sayings, but their use is advisable for an illustration of the grammatical phenomena and their fixing in the speech.
The lexical and grammatical saturation of proverbs and sayings allows to use them also for enrichment of a vocabulary. The knowledge of English proverbs and sayings helps pupils to acquire a figurative system of language, to develop memory, to attach to popular wisdom. Besides, in short, capacious utterances new words are usually easier remembered.
Proverbs and sayings can be used in exercises on development of the speech in which they are used as stimulue. The same proverb or a saying can be interpreted differently.
Thus, on the basis of this proverb or a saying pupils learn to express own thoughts, feelings, experiences, i.e. show various ways of their placement in the speech. Therefore, use of proverbs and sayings at foreign language lessons develops a creative initiative of pupils through the prepared and unprepared speech.
For example, work on studying of numerals certainly will be more interesting and more effective. Proverbs and sayings are remembered quicker in a figurative context:
Two is company three is none.
Two heads are better than one.
If two men ride on a horse, one must ride behind.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Rain before seven, fine before eleven.
A cat has nine lives.
To kill two birds with one stone.
Custom is a second nature.
Need of search of means of the equivalent translation of proverbs and sayings into the native language develops ability adequately to select lexical units; stimulates interest of pupils in work with the dictionary; improves translation skills and abilities.
To conclude, wide functionality of proverbs and sayings allows to fulfill a pronunciation in an easy form, to improve rhythm-intonation skills, to make active and automate many grammatical phenomena, to enrich a vocabulary of pupils, to acquire a language system, to feel its emotional expressiveness, to develop memory and a creative initiative.
Working on proverbs and sayings, interpreting them in their own way, pupils comprehend variability of language and its means of expression and the figurative contents, perceive, creatively respond valuable and «appropriate» language introducing except adequate understanding of the personal relation. And it is a basis of formation of not only language competence, but also of esthetic sense.
- Dubrovin, M. I. Anglijskie i russkie poslovicy i pogovorki v illjustracijah. — M.: Prosveshhenie, 1995.
- Kunin, A. V. Anglo-russkij frazeologicheskij slovar'. — M.: Prosveshhenie, 1984.
- Mezenika, M. V. Pogovorim o pogovorkah // Inostrannye jazyki v shkole. — 1993. — № 2. — S. 51–52.
- Palej, O. I. Rabota s poslovicami i pogovorkami na uroke anglijskogo jazyka. // Inostrannye jazyki v shkole. — 2000. — № 1. — S. 40–42.
- Rejdaut, R., Uitting, K. Tolkovyj slovar' anglijskih poslovic. — SPb.: Lan', 1997.
- Komenskij, Jan. Velikaja didaktika. — M.: Gosudarstvennoe uchebno-pedagogicheskoe izdanie, 1939.
- Ushinskij, K. D. Sochinenija. — Vyp. 2. — M: Izdatel'stvo APN RSFSR, 1948.