TEACHING UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS THE LANGUAGE OF DIPLOMACY AS PART OF THE ESP COURSE

  • The authors:
    Ekaterina D. Prodayvoda
  • Pages: 367-375
  • Section: LINGUISTICS AND THE HUMANITIES – INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACHES IN RESEARCH AND TEACHING
  • URL: http://science-ifl.rudn.ru/09835-2020-367-375/
  • DOI:
    10.22363/09835-2020-367-375

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Abstract. This article is an overview of strategies and techniques used in teaching the advanced ESP course for students of International relations in the English Department № 1 of the Moscow State University of International Relations. It focuses on purposes, specific needs and functions MGIMO graduates are expected to perform in pursuit of their career as diplomats. Teaching this course is currently a challenge as there are too few guidebooks that are comprehensive enough to encompass the specifics and subtleties of the diplomatic discourse. The findings are based on the practical experience of the author as a co-ordinator of ESP undergraduate programmes and focuses on the description of the linguo-didactic dominants at the core of the Language of Diplomacy course which the author has taught for more than two decades. The aim of the course is to help students develop linguistic skills which are essential for effective presentation, persuasion and negotiation. It deals with the issues that are central to diplomatic endeavour: diplomatic language as a form of action, how can we best built relationships and secure agreements by minimizing imposition and maximizing feel-good, what is the role of ambiguity and how can we manipulate the meaningful silences and understand the unsaid, among other things. It is no less important to teach students recognize the relevance of framing devices, such as metaphors and assertions, to politics and use them to shape new ways of seeing the world, determine the discussion and influence the decisions. Teaching how to use logical fallacies as framing devices is equally important as they are a very powerful emotional tool of persuasion used both in spin and debating techniques. There is no ignoring the fact that combining force and grace is a key factor in diplomatic negotiations which considerably enhances credibility and authority, helps stay collected under attack and gracious while standing firm. These “tricks of the trade” are indeed numerous and require further deliberation and study, but the awareness of their existence per se, attention to and interest in how to use them and how to decode linguistic signals the other side is sending undoubtedly proves helpful.

Keywords: Language as action, understanding the unsaid, framing devices, logical fallacies, face-saving

Ekaterina D. Prodayvoda

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University) Moscow, Russia
e-mail: rikosta@rambler.ru
ORCID id: 0000-0002-4682-9653

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