1. My family
I am Alex Sidorov. Alex is my first name and Sidorov is my surname. I am seventeen years old. I’m a student of Samara Transport and Communication College. I want to tell you a few words about my family. My family is large. I’ve got a mother, a father, a sister, a brother and a grandmother.
My mother is a teacher of biology. She works in a college. She likes her profession. She is a good-looking woman with brown hair and green eyes. She is forty-four but she looks much younger. She is tall and slim.
My father is a computer programmer. He is very experienced. He is a broad-shouldered, tall man with fair hair and grey eyes. He is forty-six. My father often sings and when we are at home and have some free time, I play the guitar and we sing together. My father knows all about new radio sets and likes to repair old ones. He is also handy with many things. When he was small, he liked to take everything to pieces. My grandmother told me a story that once my father tried to “repair” their kitchen clock. He managed to put all the wheels and screws back again- but the clock didn’t work. They had to give it to a repairman. But that happened a long time ago. Now he can fix almost everything: a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine, a fridge and what not. He’s got a few shelves where he keeps everything he needs. On the table there’s always a radio in pieces.
My parents have been married for twenty-six years. They have much in common, but they have different views on music, books and films. For example, my father likes horror films and my mother likes “soap operas”. My father is fond of tennis. My mother isn’t interested in sports. But my parents have the same opinion about my education and upbringing.
My parents are hard-working people. My mother keeps house and takes care of me and father. She is very good at cooking and she is clever with her hands. She is very practical. My father and I try to help her with the housework. I wash the dishes, go shopping and tidy our flat.
My grandmother is a pensioner. She lives with us and helps to run the house. She is fond of knitting.
My sister Helen is twenty-five. She is married and has a family of her own. She works as an accountant for a small business company. Her husband is a scientist. They’ve got twins: a daughter and a son. They go to a nursery school.
My brother Boris is eleven. He is a schoolboy. He wants to become a doctor but he is not sure yet. Three months ago he dreamed of being a cosmonaut.
I’d like to learn foreign languages. I think I take after my father. I’m tall, fair-haired and even-tempered. I always try to be in a good mood.
We’ve got a lot of relatives. We are deeply attached to each other and we get on very well.
Wе live in a new 16-storeyed block of flats in Strogino. It's situated in a very picturesque place not far from the Moskva River. There's a big supermarket on the ground floor and it's very convenient to do everyday shopping.
Our flat is on the fifth floor. It's very comfortable and well-planned. We have all modern conveniences, such as central heating, electricity, gas, cold and hot running water and a telephone. There are three rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a hall in our flat. There's also a balcony and we can enjoy a lovely view of the river.
The largest room in our flat is the living room and we use it as a dining room and as a sitting room. In the middle of the room there's a big table and six chairs round it. Opposite the window there's a wall unit with lots of books, a TV-set and a video cassette recorder. There are two comfortable armchairs and a small coffee table in the right-hand corner. There is also a sofa and an electric fire in our living room. We like the living room best of all, because in the evenings we gather there to have tea, watch TV, talk and rest.
My room is the smallest room in our flat, but it's very cozy and light.
There's a bed, a wardrobe, a desk, an armchair and several bookshelves in my room. There's a thick carpet on the floor. The walls in my room are light brown and there are some big posters on them. I like my room very much, but from time to time I change it round. I quite often move the bed and change the posters on the wall.
Our kitchen is large and light. It's very well-equipped. We've got a refrigerator, a freezer, a microwave oven, a coffeemaker and a toaster. We haven't got a dishwasher yet, because it's very expensive. But I'm sure we'll buy it in the near future.
3. MY WORKING DAY
On weekdays the alarm-clock wakes me up at 6.30 and my working day begins. I'm not an early riser, that's why it's very difficult for me to get out of bed, especially in winter. I switch on my tape-recorder and do my morning exercises. Then I go to the bathroom, take a warm shower, clean my teeth and shave. After that I go to my bedroom to get dressed.
Usually my mother makes breakfast for me. But when she is away on business or just doesn't have to get up early, I make breakfast myself. While having breakfast, I listen to the latest news on the radio.
I leave the house at 7.30 and go to the nearest underground station. Last year I tried to enter Moscow University, but unfortunately I failed my entrance examinations. So I thought I should work somewhere. It wasn't easy to find a job, but I managed to get a position of a secretary in a small business company.
They agreed to take me because I had studied typewriting, computing and business organization at school. And besides, I passed my English school leaving exam with an excellent mark.
It takes me an hour and a half to get to work. But I don't want to waste my time on the train. I've got a small cassette-player and I listen to different texts and dialogues. Sometimes I read a book and retell it silently. If I come across an interesting expression I try to memorize it. I also write some English words on flashcards and learn them.
I usually arrive at work at ten minutes to nine though my working day begins at 9 sharp. There are always some fax messages to translate from English into Russian. Sometimes my boss wants me to write a letter to our business partners abroad. There are also a lot of phone calls which I have to answer.
At 1 o'clock in the afternoon we have lunch. We usually have lunch in a small cafe just round the corner. At 2 o'clock we come back to work. And we work hard till 5 o'clock.
During the working day we also have several short coffee breaks. But sometimes we have no time for them.
I come home at about 7 o'clock in the evening. My parents are usually at home, waiting for me. We have dinner together. Then we sit in the living room, drink tea, watch TV or just talk.
Occasionally I have to stay at work till 6 or even 7 o'clock in the evening. When we have a lot of things to do we go to work on Saturdays. So by the end of the week I get very tired. All I can do on Sundays is to sleep till eleven o'clock, watch television, listen to music and read something in English.
And still I always look forward to my next working day because I like my job. I think I get a lot of useful experience.
4. MY FRIEND
My best friend's name's Nick. We made friends a few years ago. We are of the same age. We live in the same block of flats, so we see each other almost every day.
Nick is a tall slender boy. He has got dark hair, large dark eyes, a straight nose and thin lips. He wears spectacles. He is a nice guy. He is very honest and just, understanding and kind. I trust him a lot and I'm sure that I can rely on him in any situation. He never lets people down. Nick is only 19 but he is very responsible — he finishes whatever he starts. He's got only one shortcoming - he is a bit stubborn. Nevertheless he is pleasant to deal with.
Nick's an only child and his parents love him very much. His father is a lawyer. He is the most brilliant man I've ever met. He knows everything there's to know about the law. His mother is a music teacher. No wonder Nick is so talented. He's got a very good ear for music. He likes jazz and plays the piano very well.
We spend a lot of time together. We often watch video or listen to music.
Sometimes we go to the cinema or to the theatre, or walk around the centre of Moscow, visiting small cafes, museums, art galleries, shops. We talk for hours about all sorts of things (politics, love, teachers, girls). We discuss films, television programs, books.
I never quarrel with Nick. But if there's some misunderstanding between us we try to make peace as soon as possible. What I like best about him is that he is always willing to help and share his knowledge, thoughts and feelings. I respect him for his fairness, strong will, intellect and modesty.
I miss Nick when we don't see each other for a long time. Without him I would feel lonely and uncomfortable. Our friendship helps me to feel strong and sure of myself.
Hobbies differ like tastes. If you have chosen a hobby according to your character and taste you are lucky because your life becomes more interesting.
Hobbies are divided into four large classes: doing things, making things, collecting things, and learning things. The most popular of all hobby groups is doing things. It includes a wide variety of activities, everything from gardening to travelling and from chess to volleyball.
Gardening is one of the oldest of man's hobbies. It's a well-known fact that the English are very fond of gardening and growing flowers, especially roses.
Both grown-ups and children are fond of playing different computer games. This is a relatively new hobby but it's becoming more and more popular. Making things includes drawing, painting, making sculpture, designing costumes, handicrafts. Two of the most famous hobby painters were President Eisenhower and Sir Winston Churchill.
Some hobbyists write music or play musical instruments. Almost everyone collects something at some period in his life: stamps, coins, matchboxes, books, records, postcards, toys, watches. Some collections have no real value. Others become so large and so valuable that they are housed in museums and galleries. Many world-famous collections started in a small way with one or two items. People with a good deal of money often collect paintings, rare books and other art objects. Often such private collections are given to museums, libraries and public galleries so that others might take pleasure in seeing them.
No matter what kind of hobby a person has, he always has the opportunity of learning from it. By reading about the things he is interested in, he is adding to what he knows. Learning things can be the most exciting aspect of a hobby.
My friend Nick is very busy and he doesn't have much time to spare. But he's got a lot of hobbies and interests.
Five years ago Nick was fond of collecting stamps. His hobby helped him to learn a lot about other countries and other peoples' traditions, the world's flora and fauna. Maybe that's why he was good at geography and biology at school. He used to bring the albums to school and we examined his stamps with great interest and envy. Sometimes he exchanged stamps with his schoolmates.
When Nick was in the tenth form his parents bought him a compact disc player and Nick decided to collect compact discs. Today, he has got more than one hundred CDs of his favourite groups and singers! I think that he is very proud of his collection.
Every time Nick buys a new CD he carefully studies the information printed on disc booklets. He also tries to find out everything about the singers he likes. That's why he reads a lot of specialized magazines and books on the history of rock.
Nick never misses MTV shows — he thinks he must keep up with the news in the world of music. He says he likes all types of music except "rave".
He even writes letters to some fan-clubs in other countries, so he has to brush up his English. Nick never misses a concert of his favourite group. He brings his compact discs to the concert and asks the singers for their autographs.
But in spite of his new hobby, Nick sometimes sits in his room and looks through his albums of stamps (with his earphones on, of course).
Millions of people all over the world spend their holidays travelling. They travel to see other countries and continents, modern cities and the ruins of ancient towns, they travel to enjoy picturesque places, or just for a change of scene. It is always interesting to discover new things, different ways of life, to meet different people, to try different food, to listen to different musical rhythms.
Those who live in the country like to go to a big city and spend their time visiting museums and art galleries, looking at shop windows and dining at exotic restaurants. City-dwellers usually like a quiet holiday by the sea or in the mountains, with nothing to do but walk and bathe and lie in the sun.
Most travellers and holiday-makers take a camera with them and take pictures of everything that interests them — the sights of a city, old churches and castles, views of mountains, lakes, valleys, plains, waterfalls, forests, different kinds of trees, flowers and plants, animals and birds.
Later, perhaps years later, the photos will remind them of the happy time they once had.
People travel by train, by plane, by boat, and by car. All ways of travelling have their advantages and disadvantages. And people choose one according to their plans and destinations.
If we are fond of travelling, we see and learn a lot of things that we can never see or learn at home, though we may read about them in books and newspapers and see pictures of them on TV. The best way to study geography is to travel, and the best way to get to know and understand people is to meet them in their own homes.
I always look forward to my summer holidays. In my opinion, there's nothing like the Russian countryside. We've got a small country house in a very picturesque place not far from Zagorsk. There's a river and a lake there. My friends and I often go swimming and boating there. I'm also fond of lying in the sun.
There's a lot of fish in the lake, so I sometimes go fishing. I like to sit in silence for a while waiting for a fish to get caught and listening to the birds singing in the trees. When I happen to catch a fish I set it free at once, because I do fishing just for pleasure.
When it's very hot I usually go to the forest. The air is cool there. I like to walk in the shade of the trees and pick mushrooms and berries. I've got a dog called Jack. He becomes so happy when I take him with me to the forest.
Jack likes to run after butterflies or dragonflies. I sometimes play with him. I throw a stick and he brings it back to me.
But last summer my parents decided to go to some other place for a change. They made up their minds to go to the Crimea. I think it was the greatest mistake they had ever made. This, in a nutshell, is what happened.
To begin with, it was very difficult to find a place to stay. We rented a room in a house a long way from the sea. It was the only place we managed to get. It took us about half an hour to get to the beach. But it didn't matter, as it turned out a few days later. Suddenly our happy sunny days were over. It started to rain. It occasionally cleared up for a while but then the rain went on again. All we could do was to spend all our time in the cinema or in a cafe. It was impossible to leave because we had made reservations beforehand and we had to spend another week there. I had never seen so many films in my life. By the end of the week I got very tired of the cinema and I could only lie on the bed reading books or staring at the ceiling.
At last the happy day of our departure came. You can't imagine how astonished we were. The sun began to shine early in the morning. It seemed to me that it was laughing at us.
After that holiday we decided to spend every summer in the country.
There are four seasons in a year: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Every season is beautiful in its own way.
When spring comes nature awakens from its long winter sleep. The days become longer and the nights become shorter. The ground is covered with emerald-green grass and the first flowers. The air is fresh, the sky is blue and cloudless, and the sun shines brightly. The trees are in full blossom. The nightingale begins to sing its lovely songs, and sweet melodies may be heard from every wood and park. The days are warm and everything is full of life and joy.
Spring is followed by summer. The weather is usually fine in summer, but it can be very hot, especially in July. Sometimes there are storms with thunder and lightning. In summer people try to go away from the city noise and spend more time in the open air. They pick mushrooms and berries in the forest, swim in the rivers and lakes, go fishing and boating. Most people prefer to have their holidays in summer.
Autumn begins in September. The days become shorter and the nights become longer. The leaves turn yellow» red and brown and fall to the ground. Most birds fly away to warm countries. There is a short spell of dry sunny weather in September, which is called "Indian Summer". It is a beautiful time when the sky is cloudless, the trees around are golden, the air is transparent and it is still warm. But gradually it gets colder and colder. It often rains in October and November which makes autumn an unpleasant season.
In winter the sun sets early and rises late. The rivers and lakes are frozen over. Everything is covered with snow. Some* times it is very cold, about 25-30 °C below zero. Going out in such weather isn't very pleasant. Winter is a good time for sports. People go in for skating and skiing. Tobogganing is also popular, not as a kind of sports, but rather as a fun.
As for me, I like all seasons, but I think - there is nothing like late spring.
The weather in England is very changeable. A fine morning can change into a wet afternoon and evening. And a nasty morning can change into a fine afternoon. That is why it is natural for the English to use the comparison "as changeable as the weather" of a person who often changes his mood or opinion about something. "Other countries have a climate; in England we have weather". This statement is often made by the English to describe the meteorological conditions of their country.
The English also say that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon, or when it rains all day long.
The weather is the favourite conversational topic in England. When two Englishmen meet, their first words will be "How are you?" And after the reply "Very well, thank you; how are you?" the next remark is almost certain to be about the weather. When they go abroad the English often surprise people of other nationalities by this tendency to talk about the weather, a topic of conversation that other people do not find so interesting.
The best time of the year in England is spring (of course, it rains in spring, too). The two worst months in Britain are January and February. They are cold, damp, and unpleasant. The best place in the world then is at home by the fire.
Summer months are rather cold and there can be a lot of rainy days. So most people, who look forward to summer holidays, plan to go abroad for the summer, to France or somewhere on the Continent.
The most unpleasant aspects of the weather in England are fog and smog.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and above five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244 000 square kilometers. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast respectively.
The British isles are separated from the European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea. The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called Lowlands. The north and west of England are mountainous, but all the rest - east, center and southeast - is a vast plain. Mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain. (1343 m)
There are a lot of rivers in GB, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one.
The UK is one of the world’s smallest countries. The population of the country is over 87 million and about 80% of it is urban. The UK is highly developed industrial country. It’s known as one of world’s largest producers and exporters of machinery, electronics, textile, aircraft and navigation equipment. The UK is constitutional monarchy. In law, the Head of State is the Queen, but in practice, the Queen reigns, but does not rule. The country is ruled by the elected government with the Prime Minister at the head. The British Parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
There are three main political parties in Great Britain: the Labour, the Conservative and the Liberal parties. The Liberal party is the ruling party nowadays.
12. London, Capital of Great Britain
London is the capital of Great Britain, its political, economic, and commercial centre. It is one of the largest cities in the world and the largest city in Europe. Its population is about 8 million.
London is divided into several parts: the City, Westminster, the West End, and the East End.
The heart of London is the City, its financial and business centre. Numerous banks, offices, and firms are situated there, including the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange, and the Old Bailey. Few people live here, but over a million people come to the City to work. There are some famous ancient buildings within the City. Perhaps the most striking of them is the St. Paul's Cathedral, the greatest of English churches. It was built in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren. The Tower of London was founded by Julius Caesar and in 1066 rebuilt by William the Conqueror. It was used as a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison. Now it is a museum.
Westminster is the governmental part of London.
Nearly all English kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey. Many outstanding statesmen, scientists, writers, poets, and painters are buried here: Newton, Darwin, Chaucer, Dickens, Tennyson, Kipling, etc.
Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, the seat of the British Parliament. The Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big bell, known as "Big Ben". Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen.
The West End is the richest and most beautiful part of London. It is the symbol of wealth and luxury. The best hotels, shops, restaurants, clubs, and theatres are situated there.
The Trafalgar Square is the geographical centre of London. It was named in memory of Admiral Nelson's victory in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The tall Nelson's Column stands in the middle of the square.
On the north side of the Trafalgar Square is the National Portrait Gallery. Not far away is the British Museum — the biggest museum in London. It contains a priceless collection of ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures, etc, and is also famous for its library.
There are a lot of factories, workshops, and docks in the East End.
13. The Russian Federation
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. It occupies about one-seventh of the earth's surface. It covers the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia. Its total area is about 17 million square kilometres.
The country is washed by 12 seas of 3 oceans: the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. In the south Russia borders on China, Mongolia, Korea, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the west it borders on Norway, Finland, the Baltic States, Byelorussia and Ukraine. It also has a sea-border with the USA.
There is hardly a country in the world where such a variety of scenery and vegetation can be found. We have steppes in the south, plains and forests in the midland, tundra and taiga in the north, highlands and deserts in the east.
There are two great plains in Russia: the Great Russian Plain and the West Siberian Lowland. There are several mountain chains on the territory of the country: the Urals, the Caucasus, the Altai and others. The largest mountain chain, the Urals, separates Europe from Asia.
There are over two million rivers in Russia. Europe's biggest river, the Volga, flows into the Caspian Sea. The main Siberian rivers — the Ob, the Yenisei and the Lena — flow from the south to the north. The Amur in the Far East flows into Pacific Ocean.
Russia is rich in beautiful lakes. The world's deepest lake (1600 meters) is Lake Baikal. It is much smaller than the Baltic Sea, but there is much more water in it than in the Baltic Sea. The water in the lake is so clear that if you look down you can count the stones on the bottom.
Russia has one-sixth of the world's forests. They are concentrated in the European north of the country, in Siberia and in the Far East.
On the vast territory of the country there are various types of climate, from arctic in the north to subtropical in the south. In the middle of the country the climate is temperate and continental.
Russia is very rich in oil, coal, iron ore, natural gas, copper, nickel and other mineral resources.
Russia is a parliamentary republic. The Head of the State is the President. The legislative powers are exercised by the Duma.
The capital of Russia is Moscow. It is its largest political, scientific, cultural and industrial centre. It is one of the oldest Russian cities.
At present, the political and economic situation in the country is rather complicated. There are a lot of problems in the national economy of the Russian Federation.
But in spite of the problems Russia is facing at present, there are a lot of opportunities for this country to become one of the leading countries in the world.
Moscow is the capital of Russia, its political, economic, commercial and cultural centre. It was founded 8 centuries ago by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. Historians have accepted the year of 1147 as the start of Moscow’s history. Gradually the city became more and more powerful. In the 13th century Moscow was the centre of the struggle of Russian lands for the liberation from the tartar yoke. In the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible Moscow became the capital of the new united State. Though Peter the Great moved the capital to St Petersburg in 1712, Moscow remained the heart of Russia. That is why it became the main target of Napoleon’s attack. Three-quarters of the city was destroyed by fire during Napoleon’s occupation, but by the mid-19th century Moscow had been completely restored. After the October revolution Moscow became the capital again.
Now Moscow is one of the largest cities in Europe. Its total area is about nine hundred square kilometres (ancient Moscow occupied the territory of the present-day Kremlin). The population of the city is over 8 million.
Moscow is one of the most beautiful city in the world. The heart of Moscow is Red Square. It has more historic associations than any other place in Moscow. The Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral (Vasily Blazheny) are masterpieces of ancient Russian architecture. The mane Kremlin tower, the Spasskaya Tower, has become the symbol of the country. On the territory of the Kremlin you can see old cathedrals, the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great, the Palace of Congresses, the Tzar-Cannon and the Tzar-Bell, the biggest cannon and bell in the world. St Basil’s Cathedral was built In the mid-16th century in memory of the victory over Kazan. There is a legend that Ivan the Terrible blinded the architects Barma and Postnik, because he didn’t want them to create another masterpiece.
There are a lot of beautiful palaces, old mansions, cathedrals, churches and monuments in Moscow. Now Moscow is being reconstructed and we all hope that in a few years the city will become even more beautiful.
There are more than 80 museums in Moscow. The largest museums are the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the State Tretyakov Gallery. Other unique museums in Moscow include the All-Russia Museum of Folk Arts, the Andrei Rublev Museum of Early Russian Art, Alexei Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, Mikhail Glinka Museum of Musical Culture and many others.
Moscow is famous for its theatres. The best-known of them is the Bolshoi Opera House. Drama theatres and studios are also very popular.
Moscow is a city of students. There are over 80 higher educational institutions in it, including several universities.
Moscow is the seat of the Russian Parliament (the Duma) and the centre, of political life of the country.
St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as the "Window on the West". Thousands of workmen were brought from all parts of Russia to build a new city on the swampy land at the mouth of the Neva River. Peter the Great was in a hurry. The work was fast and hard, and workmen dropped dead by the hundreds. But the work went on.
In 1917 St Petersburg, a city of great beauty, with palaces, cathedrals, churches, government buildings became the capital. Under later rulers the new capital of the Russian Empire grew rapidly in wealth and beauty. Architects were brought from western Europe to lay out the city in harmonious squares.
Buildings were constructed of grey and rose-coloured granite. The Hermitage Palace and the Winter Palace, the homes of the tsars, were equal to any in Europe. When the First World War began in 1914, the German-sounding name, St Petersburg, was changed to Petrograd. After the October Revolution the city was renamed after Lenin.
During the Great Patriotic War the city suffered a great deal. The German armies laid siege to it in 1941, and for the next year and a half it was cut off from the rest of the country. No food could be brought in, and people died of starvation. Daily shelling and air raids destroyed parts of the city. Thousands of people were killed. Rebuilding took years.
Now St Petersburg is an important industrial, cultural and educational centre. The population of the city is over 5 million.
St Petersburg is indeed a wonderful city: at every turn there's something to catch your eye. The Winter Palace, the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, St Isaac's Cathedral, the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, the Admiralty building attract thousands of tourists from every corner of the world. Petersburg's many museums house some of the world's most famous art collections. The Hermitage, for example, contains the richest collection of pictures in the world.
The city is called the Northern Venice because there are 65 rivers, arms and canals there with artistically decorated bridges. It's also famous for its beautiful white nights.
The United States of America is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, and China). It occupies the southern part of North America and stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. It also includes Alaska in the north and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. The total area of the country is about nine and a half million square kilometres. The USA borders on Canada in the north and on Mexico in the south. It also has a sea boarder with Russia.
The USA is made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia where the capital of the country, Washington, is situated. The population of the country is about 250 million.
If we look at the map of the USA, we can see lowlands and mountains. The highest mountains are the Rocky Mountains, the Cordillera, and the Sierra Nevada. The highest peak is Mount McKinley, which is located in Alaska.
America's largest rivers are the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Rio Grande, and the Columbia. The Great Lakes on the border with Canada are the largest and deepest in the USA.
The climate of the country varies greatly. The coldest regions are in the north. The climate of Alaska is arctic. The climate of the central part of the country is continental. The south has subtropical climate. Hot winds blowing from the Gulf of Mexico often bring typhoons. The climate along the Pacific coast is much warmer than that of the Atlantic coast.
The USA is a highly developed industrial country. It is the leading producer of copper and oil and the worlds second producer of iron ore and coal. On the industrial enterprises of the country they produce aircrafts, cars, textiles, radio and television sets, weapon, furniture, and paper.
Though mainly European and African in origin, the Americans are made up from nearly all races and nations, including the Chinese and the native Americans — Indians.
The largest cities are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco, and others.
The United States is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, each of which has its own government. The seat of the central (federal) government is Washington, D. C. According to the Constitution of the USA, the powers of the government are divided into 3 branches: the executive, headed by the President, the legislative, exercised by the Congress, and the juridical. The Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are two main political parties in the USA: the Republican and the Democratic.
Washington is the capital of the United States of America. It is situated in the District of Columbia and is like no other city of the USA. It's the world's largest one-industry city. And that industry is government. The White House, where the US President lives and works, the Capitol, the home of the US Congress, and the Supreme Court, are all in Washington.
Washington was named after the first US President George Washington. He selected the place for the capital and Pierre L' Enfant, a French engineer, designed the city. Washington was settled in 1790 and since 1800 it has been the Federal capital. Washington is one of the most beautiful and unusual cities in the United States. In the very centre of it rises the huge dome of the Capitol — a big white dome standing on a circle of pillars. The 535 members of the Congress meet here to discuss the nation's affairs. It's easy to get lost in this huge building, full of paintings and statues.
Not far from the Capitol is the Library of Congress, the largest library in the States. It contains more than 13 million books and more than 19 million manuscripts, including the personal papers of the US Presidents.
The White House is the official residence of the US President. He works in the Oval Office.
One can hardly find a park, a square or an open area in Washington without a monument or a memorial. The most impressive and the best-known ones are the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
There are some important museums in Washington where you can see all kinds of things: famous paintings and sculptures, the dresses of Presidents' wives, the original of the Declaration of Independence, the largest blue diamond in the world, etc. There are 5 universities in Washington.
There are no skyscrapers in Washington, because they would hide the city's many monuments from view. No building in the city may be more than 40 metres tall.
The word library comes from the Latin word liber, meaning "a book". This is a place where information in print (books, manuscripts, periodicals and musical scores) and in other forms is collected and arranged to serve people of all ages and interests.
Libraries appeared in ancient times in Egypt, Assyria, Greece and Rome.
Perhaps the most famous library of that early day was at Alexandria. It was founded by Ptolomy I. Ptolomy ordered the librarians to collect all Greek texts as well as manuscripts in other languages from every part of the known world. By the middle of the 1st century BC there were about 700,000 papyrus rolls in the library.
The first libraries in Russia were established in medieval monasteries. Public libraries were opened in the 19 century at the Academy of Sciences and Moscow University.
The library today is a centre for all kinds of communications: printed, pictured, recorded, and even electronically stored. People go to the library to read, look, listen, search, inquire, relax, discuss, learn, and think.
Libraries can be found in many places. There are libraries in small towns and large cities, and there are libraries in schools, universities, colleges. The largest and best known libraries in the world are: the British National Library in London, the Library of Congress in Washington and the Russian State Library.
The national libraries of different countries keep in touch and exchange books and information. Most libraries have a professionally educated staff whose first duty is to help you. Librarians also select and purchase books and other materials, organize materials so that you can easily use them, answer questions about facts, people, events, or advise you how to find the information you need.
Many people have books at home. These are the books of their favourite authors, dictionaries and reference books and the like. My family also has a home library. It was my grandfather who started to collect it at the beginning of the century. There are over two thousand books in it. The authors I like most of all are Chekhov, Bulgakov, Fitzgerald, Cortasar and others.
I've recently read a book which has made a very deep impression on me. It's called Gone with the Wind and it makes really unforgettable reading. The author of the book is Margaret Mitchell. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia, into a family of the president of the Atlanta Historical Society. All the family were interested in American history and she grew up in an atmosphere of stories about the Civil War.
After graduating from college Margaret Mitchell worked for a time for the Atlanta Journal. In 1925 she got married. In the following ten years she put on paper all the stories she had heard about the Civil War. The result was Gone with the Wind. It was first published in 1936 and became the talking point of all America. In 1939 it was made into a highly successful film. Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable played the leading roles. Vivien Leigh won the Oscar. Everyone loved her high-spirited and beautiful heroine, Scarlett O'Hara.
The story is set around the time of the American Civil War (1861-65) when the Southern States went to war with the North to defend their way of life. It was a way of life in which rich gentry lived in large houses and owned huge areas of land, cultivated by black slaves. Scarlett O'Hara was born into one of these rich houses. When this way of life was destroyed and all her family's wealth taken away by the advancing Northerners, the spoilt, willful Scarlet had to grow up and use all her wit and intelligence — and beauty — to build a new life.
But Gone with the Wind is also about a love triangle. While Scarlett loves the quiet, gentlemanly Ashley Wilkes, the wild and decidedly ungentlemanly Rhett Butler is in love with her. After Ashley marries someone else, and after many adventures of her own, Scarlett does marry Rhett — but only for money.
The marriage is stormy and eventually Rhett walks out on her, but by that time Scarlett has realized that she loves him after all. Scarlett thinks of some way of getting him back, but we never know if she does.
Margaret Mitchell never wrote a sequel to answer this burning question.
She died in 1949 in a car crash.
In 1991 a publishing company asked Alexandra Ripley, a historical novelist to do the job. Her novel Scarlett was not in the same class as the original. Critics have been writing very bad reviews of Scarlett, but the book is popular with the public.
Press in Britain
Probably in no other country are there such great differences between the various national daily newspapers — in the type of news they report and the way they report it.
On the one hand, there are the "quality" newspapers: The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, the Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph. These concern themselves, as far as possible, with factual reports of major national and international events, with the world of politics and business and with the arts and sport.
On the other hand, there are the "populars" and "tabloids," so-called because of their smaller size. The tabloids — the most widely read of which are The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Daily Star — concentrate on more emotive reporting of stories often featuring sex, violence, the Royal Family, film and pop stars, and sport. It's often said that the popular press aims to entertain its readers rather than inform them.
The tabloid press is much more popular than the quality press. In some countries, newspapers are owned by government or by political parties. This is not the case in Britain. Newspapers here are mostly owned by individuals or by publishing companies, and the editors of the papers are usually allowed considerate freedom of expression. This is not to say that newspapers are without political bias. Papers like The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and The Sun, for example, usually reflect Conservative opinions in their comment and reporting, while the Daily Mirror and The Guardian have a more left-wing bias.
In addition to the 12 national daily newspapers there are nine national papers which are published on Sundays. Most of the "Sundays" contain more reading matter than daily papers, and several of them also include "colour supplements" — separate colour magazines which contain photographically illustrated feature articles. Reading a Sunday paper, like having a big Sunday lunch, is an important tradition in many British households.
Besides, nearly every area in Britain has one or more local newspapers. The British are one of the biggest newspaper-reading nations in the world.
The history of the cinema
Cinema is much younger than theatre. It was born at the end of the 19th century. The first people who showed the first movies to a paying public were the Lumiere Btothers of France. They did this on the 20th February 1896 at the Grand Cafe, Boulevard des Capucines, Paris. This was the first cinema show and it was quickly followed by many others in all parts of the world. All the 1996 we celebrated the hundredth anniversary of cinematography.
The first films showed moving people and transport or newsreels of processions and wars, and short comedies. In 1901 France was the first country to produce a dramatic film, The Story of a Crime, which was followed by The Great Train Robbery in the United States in 1903.
At first, films were shown anywhere: in music halls, clubs and shops. By 1908, special film theatres were being built to give regular programmes. At this time cinema rapidly developed in both the New and the Old World. Charlie Chaplin made his first film, Making a living, in 1914 in the USA. At that time the world was crazy about Charlie, that was created by Charlie Spencer Chaplin. His Charlie, small and clumsy yet kind-hearted, generous and brave, has attracted the hearts of simple people in different countries. Sometimes they would stand in long queues to see a film with their favourite actor. The first films in the West were mainly melodramas or comedies.
Then, in 1927, Warner Brothers in Hollywood made the first film in which an actor sang and spoke. The film was called Jazz Singer. It opened a new era in films - the era of the “talkies”. The film mostly told its story with titles, but it had three songs and a short dialogue. There were long lines of people in front of the Warner Theatre in New York. The silent film was dead within a year. The first one hundred percent sound film. Lights of New York, appeared in 1928.
The first colour films were made in the 1930s, but the black-and-white films are made even today.
24. MY FAVOURITE SINGER
My favourite singer is Michael Jackson. I like his songs very much because they are full of energy and very melodic. I also like the way he dances.
There were nine children in Michael's family. They lived in a small four room house. Today he lives in a house which has seventeen rooms downstairs and sixteen rooms upstairs. It stands in 2,700 acres of ground. Besides the house there are guest houses, a golf course, a swimming pool, tennis courts, stables, gardens, lakes, forests and a zoo.
A lot of strange stories are told about Jackson. It's difficult to decide whether they are true or not. Michael never gives interviews and is rarely seen in public, except on stage. Certainly his behaviour may seem eccentric. In public he often wears a face mask to protect himself from germs, he sleeps inside an oxygen capsule, which he believes will help him to live longer. But his manager says that Jackson isn't eccentric. He is just shy. Michael sang in public for the first time when he was five. Since that time he has always been in the public eye. And since that time he has been working like a grown-up.
There were times when he came home from school and he only had time to put his books and get ready for the studio. He often sang until late at night, even if it was past his bedtime. There was a park across the street from the studio, and Michael looked at the kids playing games. And he just stared at them in wonder — he couldn't imagine such freedom, such a carefree life.
Now he says about himself that in the crowd he is afraid, on stage he is safe. Off stage he feels happiest with animals and children. He is well-known for his childish tastes. It's not a secret that his favourite hero is Peter Pan.
Michael has been called "the child who never grew up", but I think he is a grown-up who was never allowed to be a child.
Whether he is crazy, childish, eccentric or just shy, he is no fool. He has created a brilliantly successful image, he makes a lot of money and spends it on the things he wants. Who wouldn't like to do the same?
The poisoning of the world's land, air, and water is the fastest-spreading disease of civilization. It probably produces fewer headlines than wars, earthquakes and floods, but it is potentially one of history's greatest dangers to human life on earth. If present trends continue for the next several decades, our planet will become uninhabitable.
Overpopulation, pollution and energy consumption have created such planet-wide problems as massive deforestation, ozone depletion, acid rains and the global warming that is believed to be caused by the greenhouse effect.
The seas are in danger. They are filled with poison: industrial and nuclear waste, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The Mediterranean is already nearly dead; the North Sea is following. The Aral Sea is on the brink of extinction. If nothing is done about it, one day nothing will be able to live in the seas.
Every ten minutes one kind of animal, plant or insect dies out for ever. If nothing is done about it, one million species that are alive today will have become extinct twenty years from now.
Air pollution is a very serious problem. In Cairo just breathing the air is life threatening- equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The same holds true for Mexico City and 600 cities of the former Soviet Union.
Industrial enterprises emit tons of harmful substances. These emissions have disastrous consequences for our planet. They are the main reason for the greenhouse effect and acid rains. An even greater environmental threat is nuclear power station. We all know how tragic the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster are.
People are beginning to realize that environmental problems are not somebody else's. They join and support various international organization and green parties. If governments wake up to what is happening- perhaps we'll be able to avoid the disaster that threatens the natural world and all of us with it.
|Подраздел||Другие методич. материалы|
Свидетельство о публикации данного материала автор может скачать в разделе «Достижения» своего сайта.
|Включите уведомления прямо сейчас и мы сразу сообщим Вам о важных новостях. Не волнуйтесь, мы будем отправлять только самое главное.|