Basics of Academic English

Basics of Academic English, 1 and 2
By Deeptha Achar, Rajan Barett, Santosh Dash, Charul Jain, Sachin Ketkar and Aarati Mujumdar.
Orient BlackSwan, New Delhi 2012, 2013
Price: Rs 70, Rs 85, pages:96,120

The set of Basics of Academic English, 1 and 2 are textbooks written for the Foundation Course in English under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) introduced for undergraduate students of arts, commerce and science in Gujarat. This set of books is  skills-based meant for students of semester 3 and 4, and they aim to build on the knowledge acquired in semesters 1 and 2 through English for Academic Purposes, Books 1-2 (published by University Granthnirman Board,Gujarat,2011)


The aim of this set of books is to develop the communication skills required in academic situations through practice exercises and activities done by students from diverse backgrounds. The set shows a distinct shift from the traditional practice of treating the learners as passive recipients to active participants. Most of the themes, contexts and sample texts in the books are drawn from everyday life which help students to adapt, consolidate and actively make use of what they learn on their own from outside the classroom.

The basic assumption on which these books are based is the fact that students have a high degree of motivation to learn and are exposed to English in their day to day living in the world around them. Another assumption guiding these materials is that they cater to students who may have low motivation and inadequate control on English grammar and pronunciation but have the ability to communicate in English. The emphasis therefore in these books is to help students to understand the meaning of what they listen to and read and express what they mean while speaking and writing.

The books aim at developing the following five abilities in the students in semesters 3-4: to read and understand a range of written texts, especially those central to academic studies; to use varied strategies for reading that are appropriate for given purposes and discourse types; to listen and understand spoken English as encountered in classrooms, seminars and public lectures, informal and formal social settings and TV or web-based programmes; to express one’s ideas clearly to specific audiences in class discussions, seminars, social interactions, etc.; to express ideas in writing in varied forms, especially in academic assignments and examination responses.

The books are carefully designed building on the prior knowledge of the students and the existing practices of teaching. Each unit is preceded by the unit outline, preview and objectives. The tasks are centred around situations that students are likely to encounter in their day to day life and gradually lead towards building the objectives of the course.

The units included in Book 1 are: Reading skills, Approaching writing and Academic writing. Each unit includes interesting and authentic tasks aimed at building the specific sub-skills. Book 2 includes: Approaches to writing, Revising the written draft and Language through literature. Both the books are accompanied by the detailed syllabus, model paper and detailed structure of marks for each semester.

The books are fairly comprehensive in building academic proficiency specifically in the skills of reading and writing in view of the given course and would be extremely useful for any one pursuing an undergraduate course from any University of India.

A.L. Khanna

A.L.Khanna retired as Associate Professor from Department of English, Rajdhani College, University of Delhi.