Среда 24 Июль 2013

Testing linguistic knowledge in ЕГЭ[1]; developing an argument in the IELTS[2] speaking module.

Introduction: what is argument?

Sometimes the word describes a situation where there is a noticeable lack of communication. We use the noun ‘argument’ or the verb ‘to argue’ when we want to describe something trivial. Perhaps a dispute or disagreement over something as when two neighbours are in conflict over a domestic problem. e.g. Excessive noise levels, pets behaving badly, parking arrangements and the rest. Such matters are nearly always personal and confrontational. Here the noun argument is generally countable.

But if we, as educationalists, are debating a point in an impersonal, non-confrontational way, we are engaging in argument or arguing – or even engaging in argumentation. In contrast to the example above, argumentation is about expressing as clearly as possible ideas that are sometimes complex but nearly always abstract and speculative – and doing it in a way that invites objection. Wikipedia offers a fuller and generally reliable definition[3]. In order to be clear with this distinction we may agree to call domestic deputes ‘arguments’ but refer to augmentation when we mean academic debates and discussion. The noun argumentation is generally uncountable. Before moving on, cognates in Russian should be identified. See box above left.

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