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English today.

The modern world is becoming smaller all the time. Every day distances between diffe-rent countries seem less. For this reason it’s becoming more and more important to know diffe-

rent languages, especially English.

One billion people speak English today. That’s about 20 % of the world’s population.

400 million people speak English as their first language. For the other 600 million people it’s either a second language or a foreign language.

English is the first language in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. It is one of the official languages in Canada, The Irish Republic and the Republic if the South Africa.

As a second language English is spoken in more than 60 countries. It is used by the

government, businessmen and universities.

English is the language of politics and diplomacy, science and technology, business and trade, sport and pop music.

80% of all information in the world’s computers is in English.

75% of the world’s letters and faxes are in English.

60% of all international telephone calls are made in English.

More than 60% of all scientific journals are written in English.

To know English today is absolutely necessary for every educated person, for every good specialist. Everyone will speak English soon. We all need to understand each other. We need an international language, and that’s English.

Vocabulary

distance – расстояние

reason – причина

especially – в особенности

billion – биллион

population – население

official language – государственный язык

government – правительство

science - наука

trade – торговля

necessary - необходимо

educated - образованный

Questions

  1. Why is it necessary to know English today?

  2. English is a world language, isn’t it?

  3. How many people speak English?

  4. In what countries is English the official language?

Is English popular in Russia? Computer revolution

50 years ago people didn’t even heard of computers, and today we cannot imagine life without them.

Computer technology is the fastest-growing industry in the world. The first computer was the size of a minibus and weighted a ton. Today, its job can be done by a chip the size of a pin head. And the revolution is still going on.

Very soon we will have computers that we will wear on our wrists or even in our glasses and earrings.

The next generation of computers will be able to talk and even think for themselves. They will contain electronic “neural network”. Of course, they will be still a lot simpler than human brains, but it will be a great step forward. Such computers will help to diagnose illnesses, find minerals, identify criminals and control space travel.

Some people say that computers are dangerous, but they save a lot of time. They seldom make mistakes. It’s much faster and easier to surf the Internet than to go to the library.

On-line shopping makes it possible to find exactly what you want at the best price, saving both time and money.

E-mail is a great invention, too. It’s faster than sending a letter and cheaper than sending a telegram.

All in all, computers are a useful tool. They have changed our life for the better.

Vocabulary

fast-growing – быстрорастущий

minibus – микроавтобус

to weigh – весить

chip – чип, микросхема

pin head – булавочная головка

wrist – запястье

generation – поколение

neural network – нейронная сеть

to diagnose – ставить диагноз

to identify – опознавать

exactly – именно то

invention – изобретение

tool – инструмент


Questions

  1. Will computers become smaller in the future?

  2. What will the next generation of computers be able to do?

  3. What are the advantages of on-line shopping?

  4. What are the advantages of e-mail?

  5. Do you think computers are a useful tool?


TV or not TV?

Whether we realise it or not, TV plays a very important part in our lives.

It’s the main source of information and a cheap form of entertainment for millions of people.

It’s the window on the world which gives us an opportunity to “travel” all over the world, to “meet” different people and learn about their customs and traditions.

It has the power to educate and broaden our minds.

It helps us to relax after a hard day’s work and escape from reality.

There’s always a great variety of programmes on TV: news and sports programmes, talk shows and TV games, documentaries and feature films, concerts and theatre performances…

Of course, not all programmes are good. But many are made in good taste and with great professional skill.

Some people argue that television is a terrible waste of time. It makes us lazier. We stay at home instead of going out. We read less. We think less. We even talk less.

It’s true that some TV addicts spend hours in front of the “box” watching whatever’s on – from second-rate Mexican soap operas to silly commercials.

The trick is to learn to control television and use it intelligently. The ideal is to turn on the TV-set only when there’s a really interesting programme.

Vocabulary

source – источник

opportunity – возможность

power – сила

broaden one’s mind – расширять кругозор

hard day’s work – тяжелый трудовой день

to escape – исчезать

variety – разнообразие

feature film – художественный фильм

in good taste – со вкусом

professional skill – профессиональное мастерство

waste of time – трата времени

addict – заядлый любитель

box” – «ящик», телевизор

whatevers on – что бы ни показывали (по телевизору)

commercial – телереклама

intelligently – с умом


Questions

  1. Do you agree that television has the power to educate?

  2. Why is TV often called “the window on the world”?

  3. Do you use TV intelligently?

  4. How often do you watch TV?

  5. What are your favourite programmes?


Travelling

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’s 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 laze 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, waterfalls, forests; different kinds of trees, flowers and plants, animals and birds.

Later, perhaps years later, they will be reminded by the photos of the happy time they have had.

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.

Vocabulary

ancient – древний

change of scene – перемена обстановки

rhythm – ритм

сity-dweller – горожанин

to bathe – купаться

to laze in the sun – валяться на солнце

holiday-maker – отдыхающий

sight – вид

view – вид

valley – долина

waterfall –водопад

to remind – напоминать


Questions

  1. Why do people travel?

  2. Why do people take a camera with them?

  3. What do people usually photograph?

  4. What do we see and learn while traveling?

  5. What countries would you like to visit?



Will we live in space?

People have dreamed of travelling in space for thousands of years. But it was not until 1957 that it became a reality.

On October 4, 1957 Russia launched the first man-made satellite into space. It was called Sputnik 1.

On April 12, 1961 the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth.

The first spacewoman in the world was Valentina Tereshkova. She made 48 orbits in 1963 in her Vostok 6.

On July 20, 1969 the American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon.

In 1986 the Russian space station Mir was launched.

Progress is inevitable and soon we’ll be able to visit and even live on other planets. The 21st century may turn science fiction into science fact.

Science are already at work on the International Space Station, a “city of space”. The next step will be the first moonbase. 20 or 30 scientists will live inside a dome with an artificial atmosphere. This will make it possible for them to live and work without spacesuits. It also means that they will be able to grow food.

If the moonbase is a success, the first lunar city will be built. It will have school and universities, cinemas and discos, scientific laboratories and hospitals. Even babies will be born on the moon! Space awaits the 21st century’s pioneers.

Vocabulary

to launch – запускать

man-made – искусственный

satellite – спутник

to orbit – облететь вокруг

to set foot on – ступить на

inevitable – неизбежный

science fiction – научная фантастика

moonbase – лунная база

dome – купол

artificial – искусственный

spacesuit – скафандр

to await – ждать

Questions

  1. When was Sputnik 1 launched?

  2. Who was the first man to orbit our planet?

  3. Who was the first spacewoman in the world?

  4. Who was the first man to land on the Moon?

  5. Do you believe that there’s life on other planets?


Football stopped a war

Football started in Britain. The University of Cambridge made the first rules in 1848. In fact, many other countries played a game like football for many centuries before that. The Chinese played tsu chu over two thousand years ago. “Tsu” means to kick, and “chu” means ball. Before the 19th century, often hundreds of people played at one time. These games were very often dangerous, and they became illegal. In the 19th century the game was very popular in English schools and universities. Finally, in 1863, a group of people started the Football Association. The word “soccer” comes from the word “association”, and in England many people call the game by this name.

Today, football is the most popular sport in the world. You can see The World Cup on television in about one hundred different countries. But Europe still has the most players – 14 million. South America also is very strong. Here there are far fewer players, but they do very well in the World Cup. Perhaps the most successful team of modern times is Brazil, and the most famous player, Brazil’s Pele.

People started to watch football in the industrial towns of Britain in the late 19th century, mostly on Saturday afternoons. In 1876 a Scot, James Lang, was the first man to earn money from football – the first professional. Just over one hundred years later, in 1978, most Liverpool players earned six hundred pounds each week, but the best earned a quarter of a million pounds a year.

Things change slowly in football. Liverpool, the English champions of 1900-1901, were still the best team in the late 1970s. In Scotland, two teams, Celtic and Rangers, have won 66 of 81 championships up to 1978. Now there are many international competitions and football is of interest world-wide. Only one major country today – the USA – still does not have enough good players for international football.

For the rest of the world soccer is very important. When Pele went to Nigeria during the Biafran war, both sides stopped fighting for two days.

Vocabulary

association – ассоциация, общество, союз

soccer - от Assoc(iation) + er – футбол

The World Cup - an international competition held between national teams in various sports,

most notably association football

Biafra - a region of Nigeria

Questions

  1. Where did football start?

  2. Where and when were the first rules made?

  3. What does tsu chu mean?

  4. How did Pele stop the war?

  5. Do you find time for sports? What is your favourite kind of sports?




Water

Water is hydrogen and oxygen. It boils at one hundred degrees Celsius (100° C) and it freezes at zero degrees Celsius (0° C).

Without water there could be no life on the Earth. On no other planet there is as much of it as on our own. 71% (per cent) of the surface of the planet is water and more than 70% of our bodies is water.

The oceans and the rivers of the world contain most of the water. The five oceans and the many seas together have 97, 2 %. The Pacific Ocean alone is larger than all the land in the world. And on the land there are lakes. Many of them are larger than countries the size of Belgium. There are also huge rivers, thirty of them more than 2000 km long.

The great areas of ice in the world, such as the Antarctic, contain another 15% of the world’s water; the rest is in rocks and underground.

Water is usually liquid, such as rainwater, or seawater. It can also be solid, such as ice or snow.

And it can be a gas or vapour. For example, in the Antarctic the thickness of the ice is about 3700 m that is there are over 22 million kilograms of water above one square kilometer of land.

Water is always moving. It moves all the time in a cycle. Rain falls to the ground from rain clouds. Some of this water goes deep into the earth through rocks and becomes underground water. Some water, as vapour, rises from the earth and makes new clouds. This vapour comes from plants and trees, from the rivers and from the ground. It also comes from the oceans and seas. So, the cycle is complete. The rain falls from clouds, and it rises again to make new clouds.

Vocabulary

hydrogen – водород

oxygen – кислород

to boil – кипеть

surface – земная поверхность

contain – содержать в себе

The Pacific Ocean – Тихий океан

underground – под землей

liquid - жидкость

solid – твердый

vapour – пар

water cycle – круговорот воды

Questions

  1. What is water?

  2. How many per cent of the surface of the planet is water?

  3. How many per cent of our bodies is water?

  4. What states (состояние) of water do you know?

  5. Describe the water cycle in nature.




Baseball

Baseball is America’s most popular sport. In a baseball game there are two teams of nine players. Players must hit a ball with a bat and then run around four bases. A player who goes around all the bases scores a run for his team. The team that finishes with more runs wins the game.

Where did baseball come from? No one knows for sure. Many people believe that the idea came from a game played by children in England. Other people believe that a man named Abner Doubleday invented the game in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. But the first real rules of baseball were written in 1845 by Alexander Cartwright. Two teams from New York played a game following Cartwright’s rules. The rules worked well. Soon there were many teams.

These early teams were not professional. They played only for fun, not money. But baseball was very popular from the start. Businessmen saw that they could make money with professional baseball teams.

The first professional team was started in 1869. This team was the Red Stockings of Cincinnati. Within a few years there were professional teams in other cities. In 1876 these teams came together in a league, or group, called the National League. The teams in the National League played one another.

In 1901 a new league, called the American League, was formed. To create some excitement, in 1903 the two leagues decided to have their first-place teams play each other. This event was called the World Series.

Each year since then the National League winner and the American League winner play in the World Series. And, each year, millions of people look forward to this exciting sports event.

Vocabulary

base – база

team - команда

for sure – достоверно

rule – правило

league – лига

Questions

  1. Where did baseball come from?

  2. Who wrote the first real rules of baseball?

  3. When was the first professional team started?

  4. When was the American League formed?

  5. Do you find time for sports? What is your favourite kind of sports?


Do we live to eat?

Scientists say that we eat about half-a-ton of food a year – not counting drink! Some people eat even more.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), Americans are the fattest people in the world. 55% of women and 63% of men over 25 are overweight nation.

Britain has replaced Germany as Europe’s most overweight nation.

Russia, the Czech Republic and Finland also have some of the heaviest people in Europe.

Even in such countries as France, Italy and Sweden, Europe’s slimmest nations, people (especially women) are becoming fatter. The epidemic is spreading! The world is getting fatter.

If you are young and fit, don’t think this doesn’t concern you. Teenagers, too, are getting fatter. Obesity rates in teens, according to experts, are doubling!

Surveys show that the favourite foods among teenagers both in Europe and the USA are:

- hamburgers (cheeseburgers, fishburgers, beefburgers…in fact anythingburgers!)

- chips (they are called French fries in America)

- hot dogs

- pizzas

- ice-cream

Besides, young people watch too much TV. The average British teenager, for example, spends 27 hours a week in front of the “box”, and nobody knows how much time he sits in front of the computer.

What will today’s teenagers look like when they grow up? Imagine yourself as a lazy, fat old man or woman with eyes glued to the TV screen, hands down a packet of chips, munch-munch, staring at the glaring pictures. A real nightmare! But this is the danger hanging over your life! So think twice before you start eating!

Vocabulary

overweight - избыточный вес

fat – упитанный, тучный

slim - стройный

to spread – распространяться

obesity – ожирение

grow up – взрослеть

Questions

1. What is the article about?

  1. What are the favourite foods among teenagers?

  2. How much time does the average British teenager spend in front of the “box” and computer?

  3. Have you ever eaten at McDonald’s?

  4. What should you eat to be healthy?



Snowboarding

Snowboarding is the fastest-growing winter sport. It’s catching on all over the world and is now included in the Olympic Games.

Did we say sport? Snowboarding is also a way of life, with its own equipment, style, music, clothing and even language.

The “father” of snowboarding is Jake Burton. He became hooked on the idea when he was a teenager and took 15 years to develop the perfect snowboard. Now he owns the largest snowboard business in the world.

Snowboarding is different from skiing. “The only thing skiing has in common with snowboarding is the snow”, says one snowboarding fan.

A snowboard looks like a big skateboard without wheels. While standing up with both feet on a board, a snowboarder slides down a slope, controlling the direction with the same small movements that a skateboarder uses. The most difficult thing is, of course, to keep balance.

Skiers, however, aren’t happy about the latest craze. They say that snowboards ruin the surface of the snow, and snowboarders can be intimidating as they fly down hills at amazing speeds. Besides, their baggy trousers, baseball caps, bright shirts and Walkmans playing Hip Hop music are not what traditional, conservative skiers are used to.

But snowboarders will give you a long list of reasons why snowboarding is better than skiing.

Snowboarding is especially popular with teenagers and college students (some say as many as 90% of snowboarders is between the ages 10 and 25). “Skiing is for old people”, says a student from Colorado. “Snowboarding is for the young. You can go crazy when you snowboard and that’s cool”.

Vocabulary

fast-growing – быстрорастущий

to catch on – завоевать популярность

equipment – снаряжение

to hook on – увлечься

to have in common – связывать

slope - cклон

to intimidatепугать, устрашать

baggy trousers – мешковатые брюки

walkman – плеер

Questions

  1. Who is the “father” of snowboarding?

  2. What does skiing have in common with snowboarding?

  3. How does a snowboard look like?

  4. What is the most difficult thing while standing up on a board?

  5. Do you find time for sports? What is your favourite kind of sports?











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