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Text 1. The Telephone in Modern Life. (A)

It would be difficult to imagine modern life without the telephone. It is an indispensable instrument of communication, saving much time and travel by people to talk to one another over great distances. Nowadays it is just about as easy to talk across a continent, or even overseas, as it is to talk to one´s next door neighbour.

Telephones are useful and convenient for many reasons. People like to talk with their families and friends, and business organizations could not possibly carry on their activities without fast communication. However, it is in emergencies that the telephone really proves its usefulness. When there is a fire, or when someone is suddenly taken ill, the first thing one thinks of is «Where´s the nearest telephone?» so that help can be summoned.

Some telephone numbers mostly related to state office are «0» numbers. They provide free customer service. People call them in emergencies. It is police fire or ambulance. You can find all the necessary phone- numbers in the directory or dial «09». This is the directory phone-number of Director Assistance.

If you want to dial direct to some other town you have to know the code number of it. In order to deal to another country it is necessary to know it´s code too.

If the telephone is busy, be patient, you can redial in a minute.

To some people trying to talk over the telephone in a foreign language seems difficult. There is a good reason for this difficult, since one must do without the benefit of gestures and facial expressions, and all the other things that help communication when people talk face to face. However, talking over the telephone in a foreign language is really not too different from other kinds of conversation in the language.

Telephone Etiquette

The techniques of telephoning are very much the same in all countries. Only remember your good telephone manners:

When talking on the telephone — speak clearly. Do not shout and take your cigarette out of your mouth.

Make sure that your conversation with a busy person is as brief as possible.

When calling a friend who does not recognize your voice — don´t play: «Guess who?» Announce yourself promptly.

When you get a wrong number don´t ask: «What number is this?» It is good manners to ask: «Is this two-three-four-five-six?» If not — apologize.

If a wrong-number call comes through don´t lose your temper. Simply say: «Sorry, wrong number» — and hang up. Don´t bang the receiver.

Always identify yourself when making a call, especially if you are calling on business, e.g. «This is Mr. Brown. Could I speak to Mr. Jones ...?»

If you have a visitor do not carry on a long chat while your visitor tries hard to avoid listening to you conversation. The best thing to do is to say you are busy at the moment and ... «May I call you back in a little while?» But don´t forget to do so.

Finally, remember: if you make the call, you should terminate it yourself

. Do not «drag it out».

Telephone Instructions

I. Making a call:

First check the code (if any) and number.

Lift the receiver and listen to dialling tone (a continuous purring). Dial carefully and allow the dial to return freely.

Then wait for another tone:

Ringing tone (burr-burr) means the number is being called. The line is free.

Engaged tone (a repeated single tone), try again a few minutes later.

Unobtainable tone (steady tone), replace the receiver, recheck the code and number and then redial.

At the end of the call replace the receiver securely.

When answering the telephone:

Always give your name or the name of the office or your telephone number.

If you hear a series of rapid pips, the call is coming from a coin box telephone. Wait until the pips stop and then give your name or telephone number.

When making a call from a coin-box telephone:

First drop a coin piece (or pieces) into the slot.

Lift the receiver and listen to dialling tone.

Dial your number.

On hearing ringing tone, which means that the line is free, wait until your call is answered.

Trunk-Calls via operator. When booking a trunk-call:

Give the country, the place concerned and the number you want to connect with.

Say what kind of call you want to book.

Include the duration of your call if possible.

Give your name and telephone number.

Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD):

Keep in your personal Telephone Directory an up-to-date list of dialling codes and numbers of people you are likely to call. This will save you time in future.

When you dial do not pause too long between digits.

If your hear a recorded announcement telling you that the trunk line is engaged, replace the receiver and try again later.

Answer your telephone promptly, giving your name or the name of office or telephone number. This saves the time and helps the caller.

VI. International Subscriber Dialling (ISD):

You can dial for yourself calls to most places in Europe and the North


First dial the code of the country or the code of the place concerned and then the subscriber´s number.

If you wish to know the code for a place, which is not shown in the Telephone Directory, ask the exchange operator.

When dialling to Europe or North America do not pause more than two or three seconds between digits, especially the last few digits. You will often hear nothing for half a minute or a little longer after dialling.

Do not replace the receiver before you have given the equipment time to connect the call. Sometimes you may hear a series of very rapid pips. It means that the automatic equipment is putting your call through and asks you to hold on.

Note: Code is a system of figures used before telephone numbers of cities and countries which have been changed to all-figure numbers. For example, a London all-figure number is 01-2222870. 01 is the code to be dialled if you make a call outside the London area. But if you make a call in London, you should dial only the last seven figures, those after the hyphen.

It´s interesting to know:

Text 1. Telephone Call

When Americans answer the telephone, they say, «Hello». Not so in other countries. Germans methodically answer with their last names. Ukrainians say, «I´m listening». The curious French say, «Hello, who´s on the line?», Italians greet callers with «Ready», the English answer with their phone number, and the Chinese say, «Hey, hey, who are you?».

A telephone call from a friend is a joy, unless you are in the middle of a meal, having a bath or on the point of going out to an engagement for which you are already late. But even when you have time, a telephone conversation cannot be savoured and rerun several times as a letter can. You cannot put a blue ribbon around a sentimental telephone call and keep it for years.

A letter sender in effect is saying, «I am setting aside some of time for you alone, I am thinking of you. This is more important to me than all the other things that I could be doing».


The word «Hello» is probably used more often than any other one in the English language. We use this word again and again through out the world every day of a week.

The first thing you can hear when you pick up the phone is «Hello».