Originally posted on Oxford University Press:
There are two productive skills, speaking and writing, and two receptive skills, listening and reading. Here I’d like to focus on reading.
First of all, let’s consider what differentiates the skills.
For a start, reading and writing, unlike listening and speaking, are concrete. There are words on a page and there may well be images of some sort too. We receive information from what is on the page, for example the font and the layout, the vocabulary and punctuation. Written conventions of style and layout also tell us at a glance if we are looking at a menu, or a newspaper article.
In spoken discourse we have intonation to help convey attitudinal meaning. Our ability to encode and decode intonation will radically affect the message we…
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