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Темы для экзамена по английскому языку


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

Темы для экзамена по английскому языку

БИЛЕТ 1

Говорят, что школьные годы - самая счастливая пора. А ты можешь сказать, что ты был счастлив в школе? Почему?


School years
Some people think that school years are the happiest in their life. As for me, I cannot say whether it is right or wrong. I am still too young. I am 14 years old, and it is difficult for me to say whether my future will be more happy than my past. Moreover, school takes so much time that I hardly have time for anything else. I have classes in the first half of the day and in the evening I have to do my homework, which takes me several hours. Sometimes I have to sit up to write a composition, prepare a report, or learn a poem. Autumn and spring holidays are very short. In winter I have only two weeks free of school. Summer is the only time when I can forget about school. But it is impossible to do so. Little by little I start to understand that school plays a very important part in the life of every person, and knowledge gained at school is the key to the future success or failure.
School years may certainly be fairly happy. However, there are a lot of problems even today connected with school life and the formation of a personality. People think differently about this time of their life experience. In my opinion optimism or pessimism in the attitude to school years is equally wrong. School is the place where almost everything happens with a person for the first time. School years are the time of great expectations and great emotions. Not all emotions are always pleasant. School is the first true experience of the real life. At school a person makes his first friends, meets his first love, confronts the first betrayal. Here at school the person reads the first book and writes the first composition. He acquires basic knowledge of physics, mathematics, literature, history, biology, etc. But here at school the person not only accumulates knowledge, school helps the pupils to get on in life and become successful.
In a way it is a kind of society in miniature. School society is a model of real society with its advantages and disadvantages. School lessons are not given by teachers only. The harsh reality of everyday school life teaches pupils a lot of lessons which will be useful in their later life.
School plays a very important social role. It provides high-quality education for pupils between the ages of 6 and 17. It brings together children with different interests and experience. School offers pupils the opportunities to develop their abilities, satisfy their curiosity, and realise themselves as individuals. At school pupils are taught to be responsible, gallant, and honest. Pupils should be aware that generosity and sympathy might be as important as moral virtue. School helps pupils to establish for themselves a set of convictions and beliefs. Here at school pupils can compare themselves with each other in terms of academic ability and athletic achievements. Teachers are knowledgeable in their subjects. School provides high-quality conditions that will enable pupils and teachers to make the most of their time. Knowledge acquired at school enables pupils either to continue their education or start working.
Now I want to say some words about my school. My school is located in the centre of our city. Set up before World War II, it values its traditions, which, however, have changed in the course of time. When I started to go to school it was an old building with a garden around it. Every year on the first of September all the pupils and teachers of our school gather in the forecourt for a meeting at which the beginning of a new academic year is proclaimed. After the meeting the pupils go to their classrooms. The classrooms are very large. In our school mere are lour specialised classrooms. The first is a Biology classroom with a lot of flowers and two exotic trees. By taking care of the flowers and trees we learn to love and protect nature. The second is the Literature classroom. It resembles a library with a lot of bookcases around the walls and the portraits of the classics of Russian literature. The third is the History classroom. There are maps and archaeological artefacts in this classroom. I like history because it tells us about the events of the past. Most of all I like the English classroom. On the wall of the English classroom there are posters with London places of interest: Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, and the Tower of London. There are some portraits of the British and American writers such as Shakespeare, Byron, Hemingway, and Mark Twain there. Our English teacher teaches us not only the language of the Englishmen but their culture, history and traditions as well. By learning more about the life style of other peoples we start to appreciate customs and traditions of our country. During our English classes we read and translate texts, discuss some English books, and listen to the tape-recorder.
I spend much time at school. But at school we do not only study. We have some extracurricular activities as well. They are part of school life. Our social and cultural life is well organised. We have different clubs. We often go to the museums and theatres. At school I have many interesting subjects and they are all different. My favourite subjects are English, English literature and History. I like to learn new English words, dramatise texts and dialogues. I like to discuss interesting problems in English during our English classes. Everything that is connected with Great Britain is very important to me. I like my classmates, and we always spend our time together. I am sure that eventually they will be ready to enter our society as full-fledged citizens.
– What is one of the greatest problems of school life?
– One of the greatest problems of school life is connected with communication. There are about 30 boys and girls in a class, and they have to live and learn together for more than a decade. Every person has his own interests and attitudes to everything. It is very important for classmates to become friends. Sometimes some of them become real friends for the rest of their lives. In some cases pupils cannot establish contacts and good relations with their classmates. The pupils who accept all the difficulties of school life and break the wall of misunderstanding with their classmates are happy at school.
– What can you say about your school building?
– Our school has been recently rebuilt. Now it is a modern four-storied building. On the ground floor one can find administrative offices, a gym and a cloakroom. The assembly hall is on the third floor. On the first floor there are primary school classes. Teenagers are not allowed to spend time on the first floor, because primary school pupils are too small. On other floors there are different classrooms.
– What do you usually do during the breaks?
– Breaks at school are not very long. They can last from 5 to 20 minutes. Sometimes we hardly have enough time to move from one classroom to another. Usually we talk or play. During one of the longest breaks we have lunch, in early autumn, and late spring we can play in the school yard.
– What do you talk about with your classmates?
– Usually we express our views about the books we read, computer games we play or films we have seen or want to see. We discuss our plans for the weekends and decide how to spend our free time.
– Do you work hard at school?
– Yes, I do. I work very hard. I never miss classes and I always do my homework. Sometimes it really takes several hours to do it, but I do not complain. I am really interested in what I learn at school. Moreover, I understand perfectly well that in the nearest future this knowledge will help me a lot.
– Do you have many friends at school?
– There are 28 boys and girls in our class. We are all good friends. Nevertheless, I have a few good friends. There are six of us in our company. We usually spend our free time together. We meet after classes, and go to the museums and cinemas. We have a very good time together, especially at the weekends.
– Some people when they grow older do not like to speak about their school years. What do you think about it?
– School years are connected with hard mental activity. That is why some people dont like to speak about them. For self-assured people, whose character was moulding at that time, the recollection of their school years can be very pleasant. All unpleasant moments of their school life they present with humour. And this is the key to their success. This very attitude has been worked out at school and by school.

18/4-2012 0:49


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 2

Если ты хочешь продолжить свое образование, куда ты пойдешь учиться? Аргументируй свой выбор.

Russias institutions of higher education
There are a lot of institutions of higher education in our country. The Linguistic University, previously known as Maurice Thorez Institute of Foreign Languages, Pedagogic University, Peoples Friendship University of Russia are well known not only in Russia but also abroad. There are numerous regional educational centres in our country. Almost every city of Russia has its university and colleges.
Moscow State University is the largest educational institution in Russia. Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765) inspired the foundation of Moscow University. On the Day of St. Tatiana, Count I.I. Shuvalov officially asked the permission of Empress Elizabeth to establish the University. The University was set up by the edict of the Empress issued on January 12, 1755 (according to the Russian old style). Since that time St. Tatiana has become the patron saint of Moscow University, and January 25 is celebrated as University Day in Russia.
When Moscow University was founded there were three faculties - philosophy, law and medicine there. Today there are 24 faculties mere. From the outset the best Russian scholars lectured at Moscow University. Professors were invited from all European countries. The instructions were given in Russian and in Latin. Young people from all estates but serfs could be enrolled as students. Moscow University was the centre of advanced Russian science and social thought. In the Age of Enlightenment the University was patronised by Catherine the Great. In 1785 the Empress granted the University some land for the construction of the central building.
The fire of Moscow of 1812 destroyed the magnificent classical building of the University. Precious books and archives were also lost. The construction of the new building was carried out under the supervision of D.I. Zhilyardi. Today the Institute of Asia and Africa, one of the University faculties, is housed there. In 1832 Nicholas I granted the mansion of the Pashkovs to the University. Today the Journalist Faculty is located here. During the period 1833-1836 the mansion was reconstructed into a Lecture Block. The library was located in the left wing. The University Chapel occupied the right wing. Following the October Revolution of 1917, the University got the state status and became known as Moscow State University (MGU in Russian). In May 1940 it was named after M.V. Lomonosov. In 1953 the modern University building on the Vorobyevy Hills was constructed. Sciences faculties were transferred here. In the years 1950-1970 the University campus was laid out. Now almost all the faculties are located there.
Moscow State University teaches almost in all subject areas: Arts, Sciences, Law, Economics, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, etc. I do not know yet which faculty to choose. The Law Faculty is the centre of legal training in Russia. It is known for its high level of teaching. Professors of the Faculty do detailed research in the field of law. Moreover, they participate in the working out the Russia laws. The Lawyers, the Faculty graduates, use their knowledge in courts of law. The Faculty of Journalism is proud of its graduates who work in different fields of mass media: in editorial boards, television, radio stations and news agencies in Russia and abroad. Two-level system of economic and business education is offered at the Economics Faculty. At the Faculty students study Economics and business. They do research work and gain professional skills. The Faculty of Philosophy has always been the centre of progressive philosophical thought in Russia. The greatest Russian philosophers lectured at the Faculty. Today the best home and foreign scholars give lectures at the Faculty. Psychology was among the courses taught at first at the Faculty of Philosophy. The works of Russian psychologists are recognised in the whole world. The Biology Faculty, the largest scientific and research centre in the country, comprises the most important fields of modern Biology. Students take practical courses in Zoological Museum and Botanical Gardens. The Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics is one of the leading scientific centres in Russia. World leading professors deliver their lectures there. The Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics is popular among the applicants for entry too. Applied Mathematics and Computer Science undergo rapid changes. The usage of computers in various fields of education, science, technology, economics, management and linguistics is provided by the Faculty.
The top research institutions of Moscow State Lomonosov University enable to keep research and teaching up to date. Here students can learn skills, which fit them for a better career. Moscow State Lomonosov University reputation stays with its graduates - and their achievements in turn glorify it.
– Who can enter universities or colleges in Russia? -Any school-leaver can enter any university or college he likes if the entrance exams are passed successfully. Everything depends upon the ability of the applicant for entry to work hard. At school pupils acquire the necessary knowledge that will fit them for the competitive exams. Each University or Faculty within a University can choose what exams the applicants should take and what results should be considered worthy for an applicant to become a student. In order to apply for a University a person should have certificate a school-leaving, confirming that school-leaving exams have been passed successfully.
– Will you continue your education after finishing school? - Yes, certainly, I would like to continue my education. I am going to enter Moscow State Lomonosov University. This is the best institution of higher education in Russia. I have not made up my mind yet which faculty to choose. I have two years more at my disposal to think about it. Whatever faculty Ill choose, I am sure that knowledge Ill get at Moscow State Lomonosov University will enable me to become a good specialist in the chosen field.
– Is it difficult to make a conscious choice of the future profession?
– Now I am 14 but I think that even at 17 it is really difficult to make a proper choice of the future profession. The proper choice of the future profession is the pledge of success in life. Whatever my choice is, I know that at the moment my aim is to get knowledge that will enable me in two years to enter any institution of higher education Ill choose. It should be said that school provides pupils only with general knowledge thats why I want to continue my education in order to become a specialist in the chosen field.
– What should be done to help teenagers to find their way in life?
– Perhaps, first they should think over the possibilities of the future profession. Then, it is necessary to get as much information as only possible concerning it. When the teenagers do not know what to choose they should ask their parents or teachers to help them to make the right choice.

18/4-2012 0:49


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 3
Выбрать профессию нелегко. Как ты думаешь, что может помочь тебе сделать выбор?
Choosing the future profession
The problem of choosing the future profession has always been very important. The profession a person chooses in many ways determines his future life. This is a universal problem of our epoch. Every generation in this or that way comes across it. For most people choosing a career is not an easy task. It is one of the most important decisions one makes in life. The properly chosen career makes a person happy and successful for the rest of his life.
There are several factors that influence the decision of young people to make their choice. They concern material and spiritual aspects of the future profession. It is generally believed that professions should be both prestigious and interesting. Everybody wants to benefit from the social privileges provided by the profession. At the same time other factors are important. Much depends on the inclinations and interests of the person. Although it is wonderful when ones hobby becomes ones profession it seldom happens in reality. Another important factor is social environment. The profession of the parents often in this or that way influences the future profession of their children. Today we have dynasties of physicians, historians, lawyers, economists, pilots, and military officers.
It is impossible to forget about the material aspect of the future profession. It indicates the level of the societys values. Today all professions can be classified as prestigious and not prestigious. The problem of prestige is subjective. Nobody can explain the meaning of this notion. «Prestigious» jobs give a chance to an individual to enter the upper circles of the society. When the job is prestigious money is of secondary importance. The future profession should be interesting and meet the demands of the person.
To avoid mistakes, I discuss career prospects with my friends even today. Some of us want to become physicians, others teachers, economists, historians, historians of art, mathematicians, biologists, and computer operators. All the professions are very useful. Physicians help people to be healthy and live a long life. They save the lives of their patients. This profession requires well-educated people. Mistakes are impossible in this profession. Physicians should be very patient and attentive with their patients.
Teachers also should be patient and kind. Teachers should not only give knowledge to their pupils but understand their problems, help them to become real citizens of their country, be honest and hard working. For education to be successful, teachers and pupils should work together. Every word and every gesture of the teacher should be carefully chosen, otherwise the misunderstanding is inevitable. Certainly, it is very difficult to be a teacher, because sometimes pupils do not behave properly. They can shout, whistle, and drum on the desk. Teachers should maintain discipline among the troublemakers. At the same time one should not forget that discipline should work hand in hand with freedom. Freedom is welcomed if it helps a pupil to learn. Teachers should encourage their pupils to do things successfully. Teachers should be well educated themselves. Unfortunately both professions - physician and teacher are not well paid in our country. One has to be an enthusiast to choose one of them. I do not know how to cope with this problem but it is said that a state declines if the government does not support health care and education.
Today the most popular professions are lawyers and economists. These professions are prestigious. After graduating from Law and Economics Faculties it is possible to find good jobs. Law and Economics students are better motivated to do their best because they have clearly set goals. Their competence and knowledge, required by the developing business economy, are well paid. To be a designer is attractive too. This profession can fit creative people who know how to make things around them look nice. For those young adults who choose the profession of a chemist, a mathematician or a physicist the determinant factor is not prestige but interest and inclination. To be a biologist is very prestigious and interesting today, because the biologists are at the forefront of cloning. They are on the threshold of great discoveries. I think that to be a sociologist or a psychologist is very interesting and useful too. Psychologists try to help people to cope with their spiritual problems. Sociologists study the health of the society.
One of the most fashionable and prestigious professions of today is that of a computer operator. Although computers came into our life only in the 1960s they quickly gained the ground of the contemporary society having become its indispensable part. Today our life is entirely connected with computers. With the help of computers people can do a lot of wonderful things from controlling spaceship up to buying books and participating in virtual conferences. New programmes are needed all the time to meet the increasing demands of our time. The roots of computer science lie primarily in the related fields of electrical engineering and mathematics. Electrical engineering physics and mathematics became the source of the development of computers. Boolean algebra developed in the 19-th century made its contribution to the elaboration of different programmes. Computers began to be widely used 40 years ago. From the start they were used for computational support of scientific and engineering disciplines and for business needs. Mathematicians did a lot for the development of the computer science. The significance of Mathematics in the general system of human knowledge constantly rises. Modern mathematical ideas and methods are used for the control of spaceship flights, different branches of industry, and transport systems. Applied Mathematics is part of different arts and sciences, such as Physics, Biology, Medicine, and Linguistics.
I think that to be a historian is also very important today. People think that it is possible to live without looking back at the historical past. But it is a mistaken view. We cannot live without history because it is around us. By analysing the past we can avoid the mistakes in the future. If people do not use the experience of the past they will inevitably make mistake in the present. Historians have always tried to understand past human lives and societies. History helps to understand the global historical process. Historians interpret the processes of the past to explain the processes of the present and foresee the processes of the future.
– Have you made up your mind which profession to choose?
– No, I have not made up my mind which profession to choose. There are neither good nor bad professions. The problem is that every profession should fit the person to make him happy.
– What should be done to choose the profession properly?
– It is necessary to know your own inclinations and interests. A person primarily should listen to himself and not to the recommendations given by others. He should not keep company with the friend following his choice, too.
– Will you make the decision concerning your future profession as soon as possible?
– I think the sooner a person chooses his future profession the better it is. He can attend specialised classes to be well prepared for the entrance exams. Some people try to postpone to take a decision. They think that they will take it later. They pretend that such a problem does not exist at all. I think that this way deprives the person of a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the necessity of making a conscious choice of the future profession. Some pupils simply follow blindly in the footsteps of their parents, relatives or friends. Such approach can bring about terrible mistakes.
I think that it is necessary to start thinking about the future profession as soon as possible. It is high time for discussing this problem with parents and friends.

18/4-2012 0:50


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 4
Существуют разные возможности познания мира (средства массовой информации, книги, путешествия, посещения музеев, встречи с интересными людьми и т.д.). Какие из них ты предпочитаешь?
Ways of exploring the world
There are many ways of exploring the world. Previously the choice of the means of exploring the world was rather limited. It was confined to books and meeting other people. Transport was poorly developed to allow people to travel throughout the world without difficulties. With the appearance of newspapers in the 17-th century people had a chance to learn about current events more quickly. The technical progress of the 20-th centuries has made our planet a small world. Any distance is covered in a twinkle of an eye. Today besides books and travelling the world can be explored with the help of mass media and the Internet.
Books are considered to be a traditional way of learning about the world around us. This is quite natural because books give information about various subjects. From the point of view of the 21-st century it is possible to say that this source of knowledge is proved by time. Books introduce us to the experience of the present, past, and future. In every day life we are limited by Time. We cannot enter the distant future or return to the past. Every moment we live only in the present. Books make an easily accessible time machine. They give everybody a wonderful opportunity to travel into the past and future. With the help of books we can almost eyewitness the major historical events, the way people lived in distant epochs. Ancient and medieval writers show us the world of the past centuries as it was. For example, by reading books about the expeditions to the North and South Poles we live the lives of the people who participated in them. From books we derive all possible knowledge of arts and sciences. Textbooks and manuals are written to give knowledge and information about different special things. It is held that nothing can be more important but the book acquired in time. All the revolutions are conceived first in mind and then put into practice. From the books we understand that the idea of an ideal society has interested people since antiquity. The stories about an ideal society were written by Plato, Thomas Moor, Adam Smith; modern scholars developed them. In the last two centuries attempts were made to put the dream into reality through a number of successive revolutions. I think that books play a very important part in our education. Every specialist first derives information from books.
Travelling as a way of learning also has a long tradition. In the past travelling was the final stage of the education of aristocrats. Lord Byron described his journey in his poem «Childe Harolde». It is very useful to visit different countries and get familiar with different cultures. People today are travelling far more than they ever used to. In the past people did not travel so much as we do today; they set sail in search of new lands and trade routes. Now a person travels in order to learn more about the culture of the country he is visiting and compare the real life of the people with the information given in the books. Sometimes the reality and the books do not coincide. The information given in the books does not often reflect the reality of the day. For example, the pictures of the great painters given in the albums do not show the size, colour or emotion of the paintings. That is why it is better to see paintings, sculpture and architecture in the original. Travelling is indispensable for learning foreign languages. Pupils go to different countries to learn the chosen language. In all European countries there are a lot of summer schools. They are not expensive, but are very useful. The effect is great. After studying at such schools pupils can speak English more fluently. They do not have a language barrier any more. They can establish contacts with people easier. Travelling is very popular today. The most fantastic wishes are put into life due to modern technologies. Millions of people move from their own countries. By mountain biking or skiing, flying into outerspace, feeding sharks or just sight seeing people explore both themselves and the world around them. It should be said that now people travel by car, train, plane, ship, spacecraft or on foot. Travelling, going from one place to another, gives a person a kind of social experience.
I am fond of travelling because it is the best way to learn the world. It gives me a chance to see new places and meet new people. Reminiscences about my travelling experience will stay with me forever and a day. I guess that the most impressive was the trip to Greece a year ago. I spent there a fascinating fortnight. I visited Athens, Delphi, and Corinth. The trip was especially important to me because we were through with the history of Ancient Greece and it gave a rare opportunity to see the place where Ancient Greek history happened. I saw the region where ancient heroes lived, fought and died. I visited the temples of incomparable beauty, especially the Parthenon. And may be there in Greece I made up my mind to be a historian.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Greek monuments and ancient cities lie in ruins. Everything that I saw seemed unreal to me. The temple in Delphi, the citadel in Mycenae, the theatre in Epidaurus, the tombs of the ancient kings seemed to be the remnants of an alien race to which we do not belong. People had abandoned the cities before they were forgotten for centuries to come. Only excavations returned most of the monuments to humanity. I saw St. Pauls Pulpit in Ancient Corinth, the mask of Agamemnon from Mycenae, the reconstructed Athenian treasury in the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. Although the Ancient Greek civilisation has vanished we still admire its temples and statues. We want to know more about the people who erected them. Nauplia, the first capital of modern Greece, is full of life. The fortress, erected by the Venetians in the 18-th century, has become a museum to remind people of the heroic deeds of the past. In 1822 it was the stronghold of the rebellious Greeks that led them to independence from the Turks.
By travelling we get new information. The period of extensive travelling is called the Age of Discovery. Tourism, activity or practice of touring for pleasure, is the phenomenon of the 20-th century.
Another phenomenon of the 20-th century is the Internet. It is a brand-new way of exploring the world. This symbol of the 20-th century is becoming more and more popular among the people of different ages and social standing. Through the Internet people get all kind of information. The Internet as a means of communication is very convenient: a person can get a lot of information without leaving his apartment. The Internet breaks the traditional frontiers. Through it a person, who lives in Moscow, gets information which is stored in the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge or Washington.
The Internet is the global communication system. With its help a person can find friends, who share his interests and tastes in any part of the world. Such programmes as ICQ (I Seek You) and AOL (America Online) Messenger, specifically designed for communication, make it easy and thrilling. Through the Internet it is not only possible to receive messages from a friend in the United States, but see a picture of him and hear his voice. The only problem is that people in different countries speak different languages and in order to explore the full depth of the Internet one should know the universal language of international communications, English. The invention of the mobile phone, the wireless means of communication, allows a contemporary man to communicate and get information 24 hours wherever he/she is.
We can not imagine our life without mass media. They are one more source of information. Mass media give not only the current information about the situation in the world. They impose certain values on contemporary man. Sometimes information given by television, radio, newspapers is contradictory and man must decide which one is more reliable. The received information moulds the way of thinking. It is imposed on people in such a way that they hardly understand that they are robots and the greatest task of mass media is to programme man to do certain things. Of course it is possible to switch everything off and live in isolation but then people will deprive themselves of one of the sources of information. Previously it took news months to travel from Asia to Europe; today it takes it only several seconds. It is better to be selective to all the received information, for it is really important to live with mass media.
– What are other ways of getting information?
– Films can be regarded as one more source of information, especially educational and documentary. It is better to watch such films at home with the help of television or video.
– Does television help pupils in their education?
– Yes, it does. There are educational programmes, which help pupils to study history, geography, biology, and learn foreign languages.
– Which way of getting information is the best for you?
– I cannot say which way of getting information is the best. It depends upon various factors. Sometimes it is necessary to travel to get more information. I think that books continue to be the best and the most traditional way of getting information. We cannot deny that to get information through the Internet is very convenient. As for me, I think that all the above mentioned manners are useful and important. It is impossible for me to chose one way at the expense of others.
– Do you often go to the museums?
– No, I do not. Unfortunately I do not have much free time. But I like to go to the museums, especially to the art galleries. Visiting museums is another possible way of exploring the world. There are a lot of museums in Moscow. I like to go to the State Tretyakov Gallery. There I can walk for hours to enjoy my favourite paintings by Bryullov, Vrubel, Petrov-Vodkin, and other great artists.

18/4-2012 0:50


Kursorefka

kursorefka.gif

Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 4
Существуют разные возможности познания мира (средства массовой информации, книги, путешествия, посещения музеев, встречи с интересными людьми и т.д.). Какие из них ты предпочитаешь?
Ways of exploring the world
There are many ways of exploring the world. Previously the choice of the means of exploring the world was rather limited. It was confined to books and meeting other people. Transport was poorly developed to allow people to travel throughout the world without difficulties. With the appearance of newspapers in the 17-th century people had a chance to learn about current events more quickly. The technical progress of the 20-th centuries has made our planet a small world. Any distance is covered in a twinkle of an eye. Today besides books and travelling the world can be explored with the help of mass media and the Internet.
Books are considered to be a traditional way of learning about the world around us. This is quite natural because books give information about various subjects. From the point of view of the 21-st century it is possible to say that this source of knowledge is proved by time. Books introduce us to the experience of the present, past, and future. In every day life we are limited by Time. We cannot enter the distant future or return to the past. Every moment we live only in the present. Books make an easily accessible time machine. They give everybody a wonderful opportunity to travel into the past and future. With the help of books we can almost eyewitness the major historical events, the way people lived in distant epochs. Ancient and medieval writers show us the world of the past centuries as it was. For example, by reading books about the expeditions to the North and South Poles we live the lives of the people who participated in them. From books we derive all possible knowledge of arts and sciences. Textbooks and manuals are written to give knowledge and information about different special things. It is held that nothing can be more important but the book acquired in time. All the revolutions are conceived first in mind and then put into practice. From the books we understand that the idea of an ideal society has interested people since antiquity. The stories about an ideal society were written by Plato, Thomas Moor, Adam Smith; modern scholars developed them. In the last two centuries attempts were made to put the dream into reality through a number of successive revolutions. I think that books play a very important part in our education. Every specialist first derives information from books.
Travelling as a way of learning also has a long tradition. In the past travelling was the final stage of the education of aristocrats. Lord Byron described his journey in his poem «Childe Harolde». It is very useful to visit different countries and get familiar with different cultures. People today are travelling far more than they ever used to. In the past people did not travel so much as we do today; they set sail in search of new lands and trade routes. Now a person travels in order to learn more about the culture of the country he is visiting and compare the real life of the people with the information given in the books. Sometimes the reality and the books do not coincide. The information given in the books does not often reflect the reality of the day. For example, the pictures of the great painters given in the albums do not show the size, colour or emotion of the paintings. That is why it is better to see paintings, sculpture and architecture in the original. Travelling is indispensable for learning foreign languages. Pupils go to different countries to learn the chosen language. In all European countries there are a lot of summer schools. They are not expensive, but are very useful. The effect is great. After studying at such schools pupils can speak English more fluently. They do not have a language barrier any more. They can establish contacts with people easier. Travelling is very popular today. The most fantastic wishes are put into life due to modern technologies. Millions of people move from their own countries. By mountain biking or skiing, flying into outerspace, feeding sharks or just sight seeing people explore both themselves and the world around them. It should be said that now people travel by car, train, plane, ship, spacecraft or on foot. Travelling, going from one place to another, gives a person a kind of social experience.
I am fond of travelling because it is the best way to learn the world. It gives me a chance to see new places and meet new people. Reminiscences about my travelling experience will stay with me forever and a day. I guess that the most impressive was the trip to Greece a year ago. I spent there a fascinating fortnight. I visited Athens, Delphi, and Corinth. The trip was especially important to me because we were through with the history of Ancient Greece and it gave a rare opportunity to see the place where Ancient Greek history happened. I saw the region where ancient heroes lived, fought and died. I visited the temples of incomparable beauty, especially the Parthenon. And may be there in Greece I made up my mind to be a historian.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Greek monuments and ancient cities lie in ruins. Everything that I saw seemed unreal to me. The temple in Delphi, the citadel in Mycenae, the theatre in Epidaurus, the tombs of the ancient kings seemed to be the remnants of an alien race to which we do not belong. People had abandoned the cities before they were forgotten for centuries to come. Only excavations returned most of the monuments to humanity. I saw St. Pauls Pulpit in Ancient Corinth, the mask of Agamemnon from Mycenae, the reconstructed Athenian treasury in the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. Although the Ancient Greek civilisation has vanished we still admire its temples and statues. We want to know more about the people who erected them. Nauplia, the first capital of modern Greece, is full of life. The fortress, erected by the Venetians in the 18-th century, has become a museum to remind people of the heroic deeds of the past. In 1822 it was the stronghold of the rebellious Greeks that led them to independence from the Turks.
By travelling we get new information. The period of extensive travelling is called the Age of Discovery. Tourism, activity or practice of touring for pleasure, is the phenomenon of the 20-th century.
Another phenomenon of the 20-th century is the Internet. It is a brand-new way of exploring the world. This symbol of the 20-th century is becoming more and more popular among the people of different ages and social standing. Through the Internet people get all kind of information. The Internet as a means of communication is very convenient: a person can get a lot of information without leaving his apartment. The Internet breaks the traditional frontiers. Through it a person, who lives in Moscow, gets information which is stored in the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge or Washington.
The Internet is the global communication system. With its help a person can find friends, who share his interests and tastes in any part of the world. Such programmes as ICQ (I Seek You) and AOL (America Online) Messenger, specifically designed for communication, make it easy and thrilling. Through the Internet it is not only possible to receive messages from a friend in the United States, but see a picture of him and hear his voice. The only problem is that people in different countries speak different languages and in order to explore the full depth of the Internet one should know the universal language of international communications, English. The invention of the mobile phone, the wireless means of communication, allows a contemporary man to communicate and get information 24 hours wherever he/she is.
We can not imagine our life without mass media. They are one more source of information. Mass media give not only the current information about the situation in the world. They impose certain values on contemporary man. Sometimes information given by television, radio, newspapers is contradictory and man must decide which one is more reliable. The received information moulds the way of thinking. It is imposed on people in such a way that they hardly understand that they are robots and the greatest task of mass media is to programme man to do certain things. Of course it is possible to switch everything off and live in isolation but then people will deprive themselves of one of the sources of information. Previously it took news months to travel from Asia to Europe; today it takes it only several seconds. It is better to be selective to all the received information, for it is really important to live with mass media.
– What are other ways of getting information?
– Films can be regarded as one more source of information, especially educational and documentary. It is better to watch such films at home with the help of television or video.
– Does television help pupils in their education?
– Yes, it does. There are educational programmes, which help pupils to study history, geography, biology, and learn foreign languages.
– Which way of getting information is the best for you?
– I cannot say which way of getting information is the best. It depends upon various factors. Sometimes it is necessary to travel to get more information. I think that books continue to be the best and the most traditional way of getting information. We cannot deny that to get information through the Internet is very convenient. As for me, I think that all the above mentioned manners are useful and important. It is impossible for me to chose one way at the expense of others.
– Do you often go to the museums?
– No, I do not. Unfortunately I do not have much free time. But I like to go to the museums, especially to the art galleries. Visiting museums is another possible way of exploring the world. There are a lot of museums in Moscow. I like to go to the State Tretyakov Gallery. There I can walk for hours to enjoy my favourite paintings by Bryullov, Vrubel, Petrov-Vodkin, and other great artists.

18/4-2012 0:51


Kursorefka

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Путешествие - один из способов узнать другие страны Чем привлекает туристов Россия? Что бы ты показал своим зарубежным друзьям?
Russia
Tourism provides one of the possibilities to know more about other countries. Now people travel much more than they ever used to. Many people travel in their own country and millions of them travel abroad.
Russia, the largest country in the world, has always attracted visitors from neighbouring and distant countries. Russia is proud of its architecture, painting, and music. A lot of tourists come to our country to see its beauty and to admire its cultural achievements. As a rule they want to visit Moscow, St. Petersburg and the towns of the «Golden Ring».
Russia is located in the eastern part of Europe and in the northern part of Asia. It boarders on thirteen countries. Russia is washed by twelve seas and three oceans. Russia is connected with the Atlantic Ocean through the Baltic Sea in the west and the Black Sea in the south. The Arctic Ocean and its seas including the White, Barents, Kara, Laptev, East-Siberian Seas wash Russia in the north. The Pacific Ocean and its seas the Bering, Okhotsk, and Japanese Seas are in the east of Russia.
The Russian Plain, the Ural Mountains, the West Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau, and the Far East are the main areas of Russia The Russian Plain occupies the European part of Russia. The Ural Mountains separate Europe from Asia. The West Siberian Plain links with the Central Siberian Plateau. The Far East of Russia comprises the Kamchatka and Chukchi peninsulas and the Kuril and Sakhalin islands.
Russias greatest rivers are the Don and Volga in its European part, and the Ob and Yenisey in West Siberia. The Ob is the longest river in Russia, but the Volga is the most important one. Many Russian towns are located along the Volga river.
Russia is densely populated, but its population is unequally distributed. People prefer to live in the European part of the country. Siberia is thinly inhabited. There are more than sixty nationalities and ethnic groups in Russia. Russia is an urban country - the majority of the Russian citizens live in cities. As Russia occupies vast territories there are various climatic zones in the country. Continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers prevails on the territory of Russia.
Russia is rich in mineral deposits such as coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as of iron ore, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, aluminium, and tin. Natural resources determine the development of the Russian economy. Russias heavy industries produce much of the nations steel and most of its heavy machinery.
The Russian Federation was founded in 1991. The Constitution was adopted in 1993. Russia is a Presidential Republic. It is headed by the President. The President is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, he makes treaties, enforces laws, appoints the Prime Minister, cabinet members, and key judges.
The Russian government consists of three branches: the legislative, the executive and the judicial. The power is distributed in such a way that each branch checks and balances the others. The legislative power is vested in the Federal Assembly. It consists of the Federation Council (upper house) and the State Duma (lower house). The members of the State Duma are elected by popular vote for a four-year period. The Federation Council is not elected. It is formed of the heads of the regions. Each Chamber is headed by the Chairman. Legislature is initiated in the State Duma. But to become a law a bill must be approved by the Lower and Upper Houses and signed by the President. The executive power belongs to the Government. The judicial branch is represented by the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and regional courts.
The national flag of the Russian Federation is three coloured: white, blue and red. The symbol of the country is a two-headed eagle. Russias hymn was created by Alexandrov and Mikhalkov.
According to the Chronicle the history of Early Russia began in the year 862. That year Rurik became the first Russian prince having merged Novgorod and Kiev. Ruriks successor Prince Oleg did his best to strengthen and expand the nascent state. In 988 Prince Vladimir, the Red Sun, baptised Russia. After the adoption of Christianity churches and monasteries sprang up in the country. The beautiful cathedrals and churches of Early Russia still stand in their glory. From the 10-th to the 12-th centuries Russia was a progressive Christian state. With the development of feudalism the Russian state disintegrated into separate principalities. The princes quarrelled among themselves and waged feudal wars. The hordes of armed nomads conquered the Russian land. The yoke lasted till 1380. Russias strength was diminishing. Lands on the Black sea coast and along the Volga river were lost. The campaign to liberate Russia was headed by Moscow. For the first time Moscow was mentioned by the chroniclers in 1147. At that time Russian lands began to unite round Moscow, which led to the establishment of a strong centralised state.
During its long history Moscow was exposed to several invasions. In 1237 it fell under the power of the Golden Horde. Moscow began to rise in the 14-th century. Under Ivan III the Great, in the mid-fifteenth century, Moscow became the principal city of the state of Muscovy. During the Time of Troubles Moscow was occupied by the Polish invaders but they were defeated by the popular levy headed by Minin and Pozharsky. The army of Napoleon entered Moscow on September 15, 1812. The emperor was disappointed that no Russian bowed forward, offering him the city keys. Napoleon settled in the Kremlin. The city was set ablaze. Fires spread to the edge of the Kremlin. Napoleon tried to open peace talks. But Alexander I, who was in St. Petersburg, did not wish to discuss peace. Napoleon left Moscow. His warriors were routed by the Russian troops. In 1941 the German armies were defeated not far from Moscow.
Nowadays Moscow is the capital of Russia. It is the largest city of the country. Moscow lies in the valley of the Moskva river. Moscow is a political, administrative, economic, industrial, educational and cultural centre of the Russian Federation. A lot of educational institutions are located here.
There are many places of interest in Moscow. There are a lot of historical monuments, museums, art galleries and theatres in the city. The Historical Museum, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the State Tretyakov Gallery are known all over the world. The Bolshoy, Mali and Art theatres are famous too.
The Kremlin - the oldest historical and architectural centre - is the heart of Moscow. At first the Kremlin was a wooden fort. Under Dmitry Donskoy the Kremlin was built of white stone. Redbrick walls and towers replaced the walls of white stone at the end of the 15th century. The most ancient tower is the Secret one. It was built in 1485. The Saviour Tower with its Kremlin chimes is the symbol of Russia. The chiming clock was established in 1625. Ivan III invited Italian architects to construct the Kremlin cathedrals. In 1547 Ivan the Terrible was the first Russian tsar to be crowned in the five-domed Assumption Cathedral. From 1721 the coronations of all Russian Emperors were held there. The Archangel Cathedral was the burial place of the Russian Princes and Tsars. Grand Prince Ivan Kalita was the first to be buried here. Altogether there are 53 royal tombs there. The Annunciation Cathedral is the main Russian Cathedral. It is famous for the icons created by Andrew Rublev and his apprentices. Not far from the Assumption Cathedral we can see the Faceted Palace. It is the oldest secular building in Moscow. All coronation feasts were held here. Ivan the Great Bell Tower, the construction of the 16th century, rises in the centre of the Kremlin. On the stone pedestal at the foot of the Bell Tower stands the Tsar-Bell, the largest bell in the world. The bell was cast for the Assumption Belfry. It was damaged during the great fire of Moscow in 1737. In 1836 it was put on the pedestal. Not far from it is the Tsar-Cannon. Senate Square is located between the Senate and the Arsenal. The Grand Kremlin Palace is situated not far from Senate Square. The Russian Emperors usually stayed in the palace when they came to Moscow. It was designed by the architect K. A. Ton in 1840. The Armoury Chamber is the famous museum where military trophies, Tsars regalia and church ceremonial items are displayed. The Kremlin workshop was made a museum of military glory after the battle of Poltava in 1709 by Peter Гs order.
All the ceremonies are held in Red Square. At its one end we can see St. Basils Cathedral the Blessed. It was built in the mid-16 century for Tsar Ivan IV to commemorate the victory over the Golden Horde. Lobnoye Mesto, a lifted railed platform of white stone, is situated to the left of St. Basils Cathedral. Built in the 16-th century it was the place from which all Tsars edicts were announced. Lenins Mausoleum, designed by A. Shchusev in 1924, is located in Red Square. Until recently it was a monument of great significance. The Historical Museum locks the other end of Red Square. Next to it one can see the reconstructed Iverskay Chapel and the Resurrection gates. Alexander Gardens, laid out at the beginning of the 19-th century, are located beneath the Kremlin walls. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is near the entrance to the Gardens. It is the major memorial to the warriors of the Great Patriotic War.
St. Petersburg is the second Russias largest city. St. Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities of Europe, has played an important role in Russian history. It was founded by Peter I in 1703. St. Petersburg is situated on the Neva river. The city once spread across nearly 100 islands. Canals and natural channels make St. Petersburg a city of waterways and bridges. For two centuries St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire. After the revolutions of 1917, which took place in St. Petersburg it was renamed into Leningrad. During World War II the city was besieged and fiercely defended. Today the city is an important industrial centre and the nations largest seaport. In 1991 St. Petersburg got its original name back.
Central St. Petersburg is divided by the Neva River into four parts: the Admiralty Side, Vasilyevsky Island, the Petrograd Side, and the Vyborg Side. The Admiralty Side is rich in museums, monuments, historical buildings and squares. From the Admiralty, the heart of Peters city, an avenue known as Nevsky Prospect runs eastward. There are a lot of palaces, churches, stores, cafes, and theatres there.
St. Petersburg is proud of its rich architecture that includes the cathedral of the Peter-Paul Fortress, the Summer Palace, the Winter Palace, the Smolny Convent, the Kazan and St. Isaacs cathedrals, the Smolny Institute, the new Admiralty, and the Senate. There are many important educational and scientific research centres in St. Petersburg. Among these are: the University of Saint Petersburg, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Institute of Mines, and the Military Medical Academy.
St. Petersburg is a city of culture. There are a lot of theatres and concert halls there. The Mariinsky Theatre has long enjoyed an international reputation. Famous museums include the State Russian Museum, which specialises in Russian painting, and the Hermitage with a rich collection of western European painting. In 1764 the Hermitage was established by Catherine II. It was opened to the public in 1852. In St. Petersburg there are many stadiums and other outdoor recreation facilities provided by the Kirov Park, the Zoo, the botanical gardens, and numerous other parks and gardens.
The «Golden Ring» is a very popular tourist route. It includes towns and villages in the north-eastern part of the former State of Muscovy. It is rich in historical and architectural monuments. Among the most notable towns of the «Golden Ring» route are Pereslavl-Zalessky, the birthplace of the Russian Prince Alexander Nevsky; Rostov Veliky, the finest and largest town of Prince Andrew Bogolyubskys principality; Borisoglebsky, the Fortress-Monastery, founded for the protection of the travellers; Uglich, the tragic stage of Tsarevich Dmitry death; Kostroma, known for its elaborate churches and cathedrals; Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Suzdal, and others. All these towns played a very important role in the making of the state of Russia.
The history of Vladimir dates back to the year 1108 when it was founded by Vladimir Monomakh. Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky moved his capital from Kiev to Vladimir in 1157. In 1160 he invited craftsmen to build the Assumption Cathedral. By the 15-th century the city declined. Now Vladimir is famous for its architecture of early Russia.
Suzdal was the capital city of Yury Dolgorukys Rostov-Suzdal Principality. After the fall of Kiev Suzdal became a religious, political and economic centre of medieval Russia. Many of its monasteries and convents are associated with the banished princes and nobility. Numerous churches and monasteries were built in Suzdal during the reign of Andrew Bogolyubsky. In the 13-th and 14-th centuries Suzdal-Vladimir principality disintegrated.
I am sure that everything that our foreign guests will see in Russia they will never be able to forget.
– How long are the Urals?
– The Urals stretch for about 2,100 km from north to south.
– What is the highest peak of the Ural Mountains?
– The highest peak, Mount Narodnaya, reaches 1,895 m, and other maintain tops range from 900 to 1,500 m.
– Is Moscow your native city?
– Yes, it is. I was born in Moscow.
– Have you recently visited any museums or theatres?
– Recently I have been to the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts to enjoy the Impressionists works of art and the Picasso. As for the theatre, the performance that impressed me greatly was «Tsar Fyodor Ioanovich» at the Mali Theatre. This classical play was wonderfully performed.
– What monuments would you recommend your foreign guests to see?
– ~ First of all they should visit Red Square. There they will see the monuments connected with the history of Russia. In Red Square they will see a monument to Minin and Pozharsky. It was erected in 1818 to commemorate their victory over the Polish invaders in 1612. In front of the Historical museum they will see a monument to Marshal Zhukov. Under his leadership the Soviet Union won World War II. The monument was erected in May 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of the victory over Fascist Germany. Then walking up Tverskaya Street their attention can be attracted by the monument to Yury Dolgoruky, the founder of Moscow. In Pushkin Square they will see the monument to Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian poet. In Mayakovskaya Square there is a monument to Vladimir Mayakovsky, the Russian poet of the 20-th century. If our guests want to see the dismantled monuments to the political leaders of the previous epoch I shall take them to the square attached to the Central House of Painters.

18/4-2012 0:51


Kursorefka

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БИЛЕТ 6
Каждая страна имеет свои особенности. С чем у тебя ассоциируется страна изучаемого языка и ее жители?
The United Kingdom of Great Britain
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All these parts of the country are represented in Parliament in London. England is noted for its «high-tech» and car industries. Scotland is a land of mountains, lakes and romantic castles. Wales is famous for its high mountains and pretty valleys, factories and coal mines, music and myths. Northern Island, with farming land, is beautiful too.
The UK lies on the British Isles. The English Channel and the Strait of Dover separate Britain from the continent. The climate on the British Isles is temperate. The Gulf Stream makes the climate warmer in winter and cooler in summer. There is much humidity in the air of England. Britain is known as a foggy country. Geographically Great Britain is divided into Lowlands, Midlands, and Highlands.
The history of the UK dates back to the ancient times. From the sixth to the third centuries BC, the British Isles were invaded by Celtic tribes. They came from central Europe, and settled in southern England. The Celts were pagans. Their priests, known as Druids, had all education in their hands. They administered justice, and made a disobedient layman an outlaw.
In AD 43, the Romans invaded southern Britain. It became a Roman colony called Britannia. The Romans set up their capital in London and built such cities as Bath, Chester and York. The Roman invasion was not peaceful. In AD 60, the Iceni, a tribe led by Queen Boadicea, destroyed three cities, including London. In AD 122, Emperor Hadrian built a long wall to defend the border between England and Scotland. In the fourth century the Roman Empire was collapsing and the Roman legions left Britain.
From about AD 350 the Saxons, Jutes and Angles began invading south-east England. The native people could not stop the new enemy. The Celts fled north and west taking their ancient arts and languages with them. Celtic languages have disappeared from most of Europe, but are still spoken in parts of Wales, Ireland and Scotland. The Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity by Saint Augustine of Rome in AD 597. As Christianity spread, churches and monasteries were built in England.
About AD 790, the Vikings started to invade England. The north and east of England were settled by the Danes. The Vikings were excellent traders and navigators. They traded in silk and furs as far as Russia. In 1016, England became part of the Scandinavian empire under king Cnut. In 1066 England was conquered by the Normans. William Duke of Normandy, known as William the Conqueror, won the battle of Hastings and became King of England. William I established a strong, centralised country under military rule. The Normans built castles all over England to control England better. Norman power was absolute, and the language of the new rulers, Norman French, had a lasting effect on English. Since 1066, England has never been invaded.
For many centuries this country was known simply as England. It had a strong army and navy. It waged numerous colonial wars.
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The Queen is the head of State, but her power is limited by Parliament. The branches of government are: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature is the supreme authority. It comprises two chambers - the House of Lords and the House of Commons - together with the Queen in her constitutional role. The executive consists of the central Government - that is the Prime Minister, Cabinet, and other ministers. The judiciary determines common law and interprets statutes and is independent of both the legislature and the executive.
The Government derives its authority from the elected House of Commons. The Government is formed by the political party in power. The second largest party becomes Her Majestys Loyal Opposition with its own leader and Shadow Cabinet. In Great Britain there is no written constitution, only customs, traditions and precedents.
London is the capital of the UK. It was founded by the Romans in the 1st century AD. In the 11-th century it became the capital of England. In 1215 its citizens won the right to elect their Lord Mayor. The town experienced tremendous growth in trade and population during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. After the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed three-quarters of London, the town began its extensive building. London became the main centre not only of the country but of the growing British Empire. During the 19-th century London expanded into the suburbs. As a result of it new forms of transport were developed, including the underground railway system. During World War II London was heavily bombed. The reconstruction that followed was of mixed quality. Replacement of industrial enterprises and docks made London a centre of international trade, finance and tourism.
Today Greater London consists of 33 separate boroughs, including the City, the West End, and the East End. The City is the financial centre of the UK. The Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, and the Stock Exchange are located here.
The West End is noted for its historical places and parks. These are Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the principal government offices, New Scotland Yard, the Tate Gallery, and the National Gallery. The most celebrated parks are Kensington Gardens with the Victorian Gothic Albert Memorial; Hyde Park, with its famous Speakers Corner; and Regents Park, home of the Zoological Gardens and Regents Canal. The West End is the area of wealth and goods of high quality.
Londons East End is historically associated with the Cockney dialect. It was an infamous slum during the 19th century. The port of London until recently was in the East End. The area of docks played an important part in the countrys commerce.
Londons major cultural institutions also include the British Museum, which houses collections of antiquities, prints, and manuscripts and the national library; the Victoria and Albert Museum of decorative arts; and the music and arts complex located on the South Bank of the Thames.
Westminster is now the political centre of London, but originally it was a sacred place. King Edward the Confessor built a great abbey church here. It was consecrated in 1065. In 1245 Henry III replaced it with the present abbey church in the pointed Gothic style of the period. Since William the Conqueror, every British sovereign has been crowned in the abbey. Many kings and queens are buried here. There are memorials to eminent men and women. But the most popular ones are those to writers, actors and musicians in Poets Corner. The grave of the «Unknown Warrior», whose remains were brought from Flanders in 1920, is in the centre of the west nave.
Alongside the Abbey Edward the Confessor ordered to construct a palace. The Palace of Westminster was the royal residence and also the countrys main court of law. Parliament met here since the 16-th century until the 19-th century. The present Houses of Parliament, the seat of the legislative body of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, were built after the old palace burnt down in 1834. On the corner next to Westminster Bridge stands St. Stephens Tower, which houses the famous tower clock. A light at the top of the tower at night indicates that parliament is sitting.
Saint Pauls Cathedral was designed in a classical Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. It was constructed between 1675 and 1710. Many famous persons are buried in the Cathedral.
Trafalgar Square was named for Lord Nelsons naval victory in the Battle of Trafalgar. In the centre of the square is Nelsons Column that includes his high statue. At the corners of the column are four sculptured lions. Trafalgar Square is the site of the National Gallery. Traditionally political meetings are held here. Each December a large Christmas tree sent from Norway is erected in Trafalgar Square.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has always played an important role in world politics.
– What is the name of the Queen of Great Britain?
– The name of the British Queen is Elizabeth II. She ascended the British throne in 1953.
– What parties are there in Great Britain?
– In Great Britain there are two major political parties - the Conservative party and the Labour party. The Labour party is in power now in Great Britain. Anthony Charles Lynton Blair who is usually called simply Tony Blair is the Prime Minister. He became Prime Minister as a result of the May 1, 1997 elections.
– Can you name the capitals of the parts of Great Britain?
– London is the capital of England. The centre of government of Scotland is Edinburgh. It is large and busy. The principal city of Wales is Cardiff. It has plenty of industry. Belfast is the seat of government of Northern Ireland. It is a large industrial city with many fine buildings and a big port.
– What do you know about Big Ben?
– Big Ben is a tower clock. It is famous for its accuracy and for its 13-ton bell, designed by Edmund Beckett, Baron Grimthorpe. Big Ben is housed in the tower at the eastern end of the Houses of Parliament. The clock was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, commissioner of works at the time of its installation in 1859. Originally applied only to the bell, eventually it came to indicate the clock itself.
– What is the Tower of London notable for?
– Many important events in the history of Great Britain are connected with the Tower of London. It has served as citadel, palace, prison, mint, and menagerie. Now it is a museum. In 1078 William the Conqueror built the White Tower to defend the city. The Tower is famous for its illustrious prisoners. Many great people lost their heads on the executioners block. The Yeoman Warders known as Beefeaters guard the Tower. They wear traditional Tudor costumes.
– What are the principal rivers in England?
– The Thames and Severn are the principal rivers in England. The Severn is the longest river. The Thames is the most important one. It should be said that a hundred years ago, the Thames was crowded with ships, leaving for Java, New Zealand and New York, but now people travel by air, and Heathrow, Londons main airport, is one of the busiest in the world.
– What are the main rivers in other parts of the UK?
– The Clyde, Spey, and Tweed are the main rivers in Scotland. The major rivers in Northern Ireland are the Barm, Erne, and Foyle. The Dee, Tywi, and Teifi are the main rivers in Wales.
– What is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom?
– Ben Nevis is the highest point in the United Kingdom. It is located in the Northern Highlands in Scotland.
– Is the United Kingdom rich in mineral resources?
– The United Kingdom has very few mineral resources. The ancient tin mines of Cornwall and the iron-ore deposits of north-central England, which helped to build the Industrial Revolution, were exhausted or uneconomical to work by the late 20th century. Since the early 1950s the output of coal steadily declined. Recently deposits of oil and natural-gas have been found in the British sector of the North Sea.
– What ethnic groups constitute the population of Great Britain?
– The English, Scots, Irish, and Welsh constitute the population of Great Britain. Since the early 1950s Commonwealth immigrants, particularly from India, the West Indies, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have increased the population of the country.
– What do you know about the educational system in Britain?
– In Great Britain education is compulsory and free, in state-supported schools, between the ages of 5 and 16. General education may lead to technical or commercial study or to higher education. Internationally prominent universities include those of Oxford, which was founded in the 12-th century, and Cambridge, which was founded in the 13-th century. Today the educational system is primarily administered by elected local education officials.

18/4-2012 0:51


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 7
Каждая страна гордится своими достижениями. Какими достижениями своей страны гордишься ты?
Russias achievements
Russia is proud of its achievements in satellite technology and investigation of outerspace. On October 4, 1957, the worlds first artificial satellite was launched in our country. With «Sputnik-1» a great deal of programmes of space exploration were implemented. Over the next few years a number of unmanned spaceships of various kinds, ranging from meteorological and communications satellites to lunar probes were launched.
On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union launched «Vostok-1». For the first time in the history of mankind a manned spacecraft was launched into outerspace. It carried Yury Gagarin in a single orbit around the Earth. German Titov piloted «Vostok-2» spacecraft. It was launched on August 6, 1961, on the first manned spaceflight of more than a single orbit. Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel into space, was launched on June 16, 1963 in «Vostok-6», which completed 48 orbits in 71 hours. In space at the same time was Valery Bykovsky, who had been launched two days earlier in «Vostok-5»; both of them landed on June 19.
«Vostok» flights had demonstrated that man could function while weightless in space. The «Vostok» spacecraft enabled the preparation of new, more complicated flights. Taking over the traditions of the single-sitter «Vostok», multi-sitter «Voskhod» and «Soyuz» spacecraft began to circle around the orbits of the Earth. «Voskhod-2», a two-piloted spacecraft was constructed in such a way that the cosmonaut could leave the ship during flight. On March 18, 1965, Aleksey Leonov left the spacecraft through an airlock to become the first man to float free in space.
Developed for the Earth-orbital space station programme «Soyuz» aircraft were equipped for extended missions of scientific experimentation while in the Earth orbit of up to 30 days duration. There were 40 manned and unmanned «Soyuz» spaceships which were launched between 1967 and 1981. It should be stressed that 30 «Soyuz» flights involved its docking with an orbiting «Salyut» space station. The first record for the longest manned mission in spaceflight history was set in 1981 by the crew of «Soyuz-35». It remained on board «Salyut-6» for 185 days. Other notable «Soyuz» flights include «Apollo-Soyuz» Test Project, the first joint space venture undertaken by the United States and the Soviet Union. During this mission, conducted in July 1975, a three-man U.S. «Apollo» spacecraft met and docked with the two-man «Soyuz-19» craft. The crews performed joint experiments for two days. The joint «Apollo-Soyuz» mission achieved all its major objectives.
«Salyut-1», launched April 19, 1971, was the worlds first space station. In 1986 the Soviet Union launched a more advanced type of space station «Mir». This station - a large, permanent, multimanned orbiting complex - was designed to accommodate various modules for crew living quarters and research facilities. On March 13, 1986, cosmonauts Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyev were sent aboard a «Soyuz» spacecraft to dock with «Mir» and become its first occupants. They spent 53 days adjusting equipment and bringing the complex into workable order. Other cosmonauts later visited the station. In 1987 Yury Romanenko set a new endurance record of 326 days in space. The previous record 237 days, was set in 1984 by a Soviet crew in «Salyut-7» space station. In the 1970s and 1980s our scientists concentrated their efforts on numerous experiments into outerspace which involved the cosmonauts repeated docking. Various «Salyut» orbiting laboratories were equipped for extended missions of scientific experimentation. On board «Salyut» stations our cosmonauts conducted scientific research and made valuable observations of the solar system.
– How long did it take Yury Alekseyevich Gagarin to orbit the Earth?
– It took Yury Alekseyevich Gagarin 1 hour 29 minutes to orbit the Earth.
– How was the first cosmonaut awarded?
– Yury Gagarins spaceflight brought him world-wide fame. The first cosmonaut was awarded the Order of Lenin and given the titles of Hero of the Soviet Union and Pilot Cosmonaut of the Soviet Union. Monuments were raised to him and streets were renamed in his honour across the Soviet Union.
– What do you know about the first cosmonaut?
– In 1951 Yury Gagarin, the son of a carpenter, finished as a moulder a trade school near Moscow. He continued his studies at the industrial college at Saratov. At the same time he took a course in flying. When Gagarin finished this course he entered the Soviet Air Force cadet school at Orenburg. He finished it in 1957. Yury Gagarin never went into space again. He participated in training other cosmonauts. Yury Gagarin visited several countries following his historic flight. From 1962 he served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet.
– What do you know about the second Soviet cosmonaut?
– German Titov, the second Soviet cosmonaut, was accepted in 1953 for aviation cadet training. In 1957 he graduated from the Stalingrad Flying Academy as a jet fighter pilot. In 1960 Titov entered cosmonaut training. During this course he received the Order of Lenin for an engineering proposal. The «Vostok-2» flight lasted 25 hours 18 minutes. Titov was given a code name «Eagle.» His radio signal, «I am Eagle!» was spoken with excitement and impressed people all over the world. After his flight Titov became a Hero of the Soviet Union. In 1962 he became a deputy of the Supreme Soviet. He held the position until 1970. In 1968 Titov graduated from the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy. He became a major general in 1975. In subsequent years Titov was an assistant to the chief editor of the Journal «Aviation and Cosmonautics».
– When did the USA launch the first satellite?
– The first U.S. satellite «Explorer-1» was launched on January 31, 1958, about four months after «Sputnik-1».
– How many satellites were launched by our country and the United States?
– For forty years both nations successfully launched more than 5,000 satellites and space probes of all varieties for conducting scientific research, communications, meteorological, photographic reconnaissance, and navigation satellites, lunar and planetary probes, and manned space flights.
– When did the USA launch its first manned spacecraft?
– On May 5, 1961, the United States launched its first manned spacecraft, a «Mercury» capsule in which astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr., made a 15 minute suborbital flight.
– When were men landed on the surface of the Moon?
– On July 20, 1969, the United States landed men on the surface of the Moon.
– Who was the first to step on the Moon?
– On July 16, 1969, Armstrong, with Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins, blasted off in the «Apollo-11» vehicle toward the Moon. Four days later, the «Eagle» lunar landing module, guided manually by Armstrong, touched down on a plain near the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquillity. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong stepped from the «Eagle» onto the Moons dusty surface with the words, «Thats one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.» Armstrong and Aldrin left the module for more than two hours and deployed scientific instruments, collected surface samples, and took numerous photographs. On July 21, after 21 hours and 36 minutes on the Moon, they lifted off to rendezvous with Collins and begin the voyage back to the Earth. The astronauts splashed down in the Pacific on July 24. They visited 21 nations.
– How many lunar landings were made by the USA?
– The USA made five more lunar landings on subsequent «Apollo» flights. During the lunar landings astronauts explored the surface of the Moon, collected rock and soil samples, and performed a variety of scientific experiments. The last lunar landing was made in December 1972.
– What has the USA devoted its attention to since the mid- 1970s?
– Since the mid-1970s, the United States has devoted its attention to developing the space shuttle, a reusable space vehicle that lifts off like a rocket and lands like an ordinary aeroplane. The shuttle craft have been used to deploy and repair satellites in the Earth orbit.
– When did the United States launch the first reusable manned vehicle?
– On April 12, 1981 the United States launched the first reusable manned vehicle. It was the 20th anniversary of manned space flight.
– What can you say about planetary studies carried out by the U.S. and Soviet scientists?
– Although the United States and the Soviet Union made manned flight a major goal in their space programmes, during the 1960s and 70s, the scientists of both countries undertook ambitious planetary studies with unmanned deep-space probes. The most significant missions were the «Viking» landings on the Mars; the «Voyager» flybys of the Jupiter, the Saturn, and the Uranus. The Soviet Union did not land men on the Moon. It launched a series of robot lunar probes («Luna» and «Zond») that returned important data and soil samples. «Luna-16», for example, made a soft-landing on the Moon in September 1970, obtained a core sample of soil, and returned it to the Earth in a sealed capsule.
– What do people want to gain by exploring outer space?
– The flight into outerspace allows man to penetrate into new spheres of unpredictable discoveries. Scientists are interested in space exploration because today physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy need new data, which can not be found on the Earth. Moreover, Space Age has given mankind a chance to find thinking creatures in other Galaxies. It is believed that there are more than 100 million civilisations throughout the world. It is known far and wide that since early times the human beings have been interested in the study of the Universe. Their hopes have been connected with the discovery of intellectual creatures on the planets of other galaxies. The idea of other worlds existing in the Universe cost Giordano Bruno his life. Now all the beliefs may become true, and living beings may be found in the distant worlds of other solar systems.

18/4-2012 0:52


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 8
О ком из людей, прославивших нашу страну, ты рассказал бы своим зарубежным друзьям? Кем из знаменитых людей страны изучаемого языка ты восхищаешься?
Outstanding personalities
Russia gave the world a lot of great writers, artists, musicians, philosophers, sportsmen, and politicians. The names of Russian scientists and inventors are known all over the world. Almost in all branches of science and technology the Russian scientists played the leading role.
The achievements of the Russian scientists are great.
Vladimir Vernadsky (1863-1945), a Russian scientist, is considered to be one of the founders of geochemistry and biogeochemistry. The son of a professor, Vernadsky graduated from St. Petersburg University in 1885 and became curator of the universitys mineralogical collection in 1886. In 1890 he became a lecturer on mineralogy and crystallography at Moscow University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1897. He served as a professor at Moscow University from 1898 to 1911. After the Revolution he was active in scientific and organisational activities. He founded and directed (from 1927) the biogeochemical laboratory of the Academy of Sciences at Leningrad (St. Petersburg).
Vernadskys initial work was in mineralogy. He was also a pioneer in geochemistry. He made a detailed study of the Earth and chemical processes going on in its crust, including the migration of chemical elements.
Vernadsky was one of the first scientists to recognise the tremendous potential of radioactivity as a source of energy, and he was also one of the first to put forward the idea that radioactivity is vital to many processes of the Earths life. His later years were taken up with the study of the life processes in the atmosphere and in the Earths crust. Vernadsky is regarded the founder of the theory of the biosphere, that is the total mass of living organisms, which process and recycle the energy and nutrients available from the environment. His name is well known today. For example, an avenue and a metro station in Moscow bear the name of Vernadsky.
I also admire the work of Alexander Tchijevsky (1897-1964), a Russian scientist of space biophysics, and a young friend of Tsiolkovsky. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) was among the first to work out the theoretical problems of rocket travel in space. He is the greatest Russian research scientist in aeronautics and astronautics who pioneered rocket and space research.
Tchijevsky worked in the tradition of late Cosmic Philosophy. The son of a Russian general, Tchijevsky spent the early years of his life in Kaluga. There he got his education and then worked. In this town he made friends with Tsiolkovsky, who became his advisor and scientific colleague.
For the rest of his life Tchijevsky lived and worked at different research institutions in Moscow. His theories of sunspot activity and human activity stated that sunspot cycle activity increased and decreased in a cycle of approximately 11 years. During World War I Tchijevsky continued his studies at the war front. He noticed that a dependence existed between the severe battles and solar activity.
To test his hypothesis that sunspot cycle influenced human lives, Tchijevsky analysed the data covering each year form 500 BC to 1922 AD. Then he studied the histories of 72 countries during that period, noting signs of human unrest such as wars, revolutions, riots, expeditions and migrations. Tchijevsky found that 80 percent of the most significant events occurred during the years of maximum sunspot activity. Tchijevsky observed that the Russian Revolution of 1917 occurred during the height of the sunspot activity. The scientist spent long years in Soviet prisons because his theory challenged the established system.
Tchijevsky did not believe that solar disturbances caused discontent among people. Solar activity simply served as detonators that set off the reaction of the people who had many grievances and causes for complaint. The recent studies tend to confirm Tchijevskys hypothesis.
– Can you tell us about an outstanding American personality?
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States (1961-63), faced a number of foreign crises, especially in Cuba and Berlin, but managed to secure such achievements as the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and the Alliance for Progress.
John Kennedy grew up in a large family. He was the second of nine children, and his father wanted all his children to compete physically and intellectually with each other. Kennedy graduated from Harvard University. For six months in 1938 he served as secretary to his father, then U.S. ambassador to Great Britain.
In the fall of 1941 Kennedy joined the U.S. Navy and two years later was sent to fight in the Pacific against the Japanese during Word War II. Originally Johns elder brother was to become the U.S. president, but he was killed during the war. So, John who originally planned to become a scholar or a journalist was to replace his brother. In 1960 the Democratic Party nominated Kennedy as its official candidate for the presidency.
In 1960 John Kennedy became one of the most famous political figures in the country. He was young and ambitious, people believed that he would open a new era in the American history. During the television debates Kennedy appeared as a good looking and promising person. Kennedy won the election and in 1961 he became the president of the United States. John F. Kennedy was the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic ever elected to the presidency of the United States. His slogan was «Lets get this country moving again». His administration lasted 1,037 days. From the onset he was concerned with foreign affairs.
Kennedy was an immensely popular president, at home and abroad. At times he seemed to be everywhere at once, encouraging better physical fitness, improving the morale of government workers, bringing brilliant advisers to the White House, and beautifying Washington, D.C. His wife joined him as an advocate for U.S. culture. Their two young children were known throughout the country. In 1963 John Kennedy was killed, but the Kennedy mystique was alive.
– Who glorified Great Britain?
– Great Britain is proud of its writers such as William Shakespeare, Daniel Defoe, Robert Burns, George Gordon Byron, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wild, John Golsworthy. James Cook, William Harvey, Michael Faraday, Edward Jenner, Alexander Mackenzie, Isaac Newton, George Stephenson, James Watt - glorified Great Britain too.
– What are they famous for?
– In 1628 William Harvey discovered the circulation of blood and this led to great advances in medicine in the study of human body. James Cook discovered Australia and New Zealand, and sailed round the world three times. Isaac Newton formulated the law of gravitation, he discovered that white light was made up of rays of different colours, and developed a mathematical method, which is known as the Binomial Theorem, and also differential and integral calculus. Michael Faraday is famous for his work in electricity; he is known as the father of electric motor. James Watt invented the universal steam-engine. Smallpox has almost disappeared due to Edward Jenner who introduced the smallpox vaccination in 1800. The name of George Stephenson is connected with the first railway; he is often called the «Father of Railways». Alexander Mackenzie is known for his exploration of the Arctic.
– Well, what can you tell us about Russian painting? When did a truly Russian tradition of painting begin?
– A truly Russian tradition of painting began in the 1870s with the appearance of the «Wanderers» - the Peredvizhniki. This society was formed by a group of Romantic artists who regarded themselves as Realists. Rejecting the classicism of the Russian Academy they formed a new realist art that served the common men. The «Wanderers» depicted Russian middle-class and peasant life in an easily understood style.
– Why did the «Wanderers» organise mobile exhibitions?
– When they set up a Society of Wandering Exhibitions, they organised mobile exhibitions of their works in order to bring serious art to the people.
– Who belonged to this group?
– The greatest Russian artists of the 1870s and 1880s, including Ivan Kramskoy, Ilya Repin, Vassily Surikov, Vassily Perov, and Vassily Vereshchagin, belonged to this group. The Wanderers attached much importance to the moral. Their artistic creed was realism, national feeling, and social consciousness. The Wanderers were dominant in Russia for nearly 30 years.
– Can you describe the «Wanderers» paintings?
– I am impressed by Ilya Repins paintings. He is known for the power and drama of his works. He created realistic and historical paintings. His powerful «Volga Boatmen», depicting bargemen harnessed together like beasts of burden, is full of realism. In his «Religious Procession in the Kursk Guberniya» Repin depicted almost all the estates of provincial Russia. With the development of realism, historical painting underwent great changes. In his large historical paintings «Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan, November 16, 1581» and «Zaporozhian Cossacks» Repin revived the spirit of historical events, he recreated historical characters, their fates and passions. The painter also made portraits of his great contemporaries, such as Leo Tolstoy, Mikhail Glinka, and Modest Mussorgsky.
– What do you know about English painting?
– English painting up to the 18th century was dominated by foreign portraitists. The modern British school of painting originated in England in the 18-th century. Its founder was William Hogarth. He invented a new form of secular narrative painting. In his moralizing paintings William Hogarth showed the life of his contemporaries. Thomas Gainsborough is known for his landscapes and elegant portraits. The mainstream of English painting in the first half of the nineteenth century was landscape. Constable and Turner were the greatest landscapists of that time.
– Can you dwell on one of them?
– Yes, of course. Ill tell you about John Constable. The son of a miller Constable honoured all that was natural and traditional. He never left England and made dutiful sketching tours through regions of scenic beauty. «The Hay Wain» sums up Constables ideals and achievements. The painting shows Constables beloved river Stour with its trees, a mill, and distant fields. In 1829 Constable became member of the Royal Academy. One of his late works of art is «Stroke-by-Nayland». In this large canvas John Constable depicted the distant church tower, the wagon, the plough, the horses, and the boy looking over the gate. The breadth of the picture, and colours painted in a rapid technique are equalled to Titians or Rembrandts landscape backgrounds.

18/4-2012 0:52


Kursorefka

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Days: 2739

Posts: 45

БИЛЕТ 9
Что бы ты рассказал своим зарубежным друзьям о традиционных русских праздниках? Что ты знаешь о праздниках в странах изучаемого языка?
Holidays in Russia, Britain and the USA
Feasts and festivals serve to meet specific social and psychological needs of the people of the country. Holidays can be religious and secular, national and local, official and unofficial. The dates that are memorable to every Russian citizen are Victory Day, May Day, Constitution Day, Womens Day, and the Day of Sovereignty of the Russian Federation. These are national holidays; people do not work on these days. The most important date in Russia is Victory Day. Observed on May 9, it commemorates the Victory of the Russian troops over the Nazi invaders. On that day the veterans meet in the parks and squares of the cities to recollect the days of war and exchange greetings. Wartime music is played everywhere. At night fireworks are let off. May Day is also very popular in our country. This is the day of friendship and support.
One of the biggest festivals of the year is New Year. Peter I the Great decreed that New Year should be marked in Russia on January 1. The coming of New Year is celebrated with a New Year Tree, presents, Grandpa Frost, European Santa Claus, and a hearty meal. In our country New Year is toasted in champagne at family gatherings. New Years feasts are widely covered by mass media.
Recently new national holidays have been introduced in our country. These are Christmas and Easter. Christmas and Easter are both religious holidays. Now they are officially marked throughout our country. In Russia Christmas is celebrated on January 7. Easter is the most important holiday for the Orthodox. Besides the religious significance, these holidays have become the days of family reunion and happiness.
The major holidays in Great Britain are New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labour Day (May 1), Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Public holidays are called Bank Holidays, because on these days banks, most of the shops and offices are closed. The Bank Holidays were appointed by the Act of Parliament in 1871.
Christmas is the festival that everyone celebrates on December 25. On Christmas people usually stay with their families. On Christmas Eve children hang stockings at the ends of their beds for Father Christmas to fill them with toys. Boxing Day, marked on December 26, is the day on which boxes of presents are given to the people who have given service during a year. New Year is marked in accordance with the family tradition and personal taste.
Easter Peace Marches have become the feature of the epoch. They are held during Easter Holidays. The first Easter Peace March was held in 1958. The peak of the Easter Peace Marches was reached in the 1960s. These Marches bring together the people who are concerned with the global problems of the future of our planet. In Britain May Day, the day of the workers struggle and solidarity, is observed with marches and rallies. It marks a new stage in workers efforts to win a better life.
On Whit-Monday (last Monday in May) and the first Monday in August all parks and holiday-places are crowded. In London some people go to Hampton Court Palace, to the Tower of London or to the Zoo.
But besides public holidays the British observe certain traditions on such days as Pancake Day, Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night, April Fools Day, Mothers Day, which unless they fall on Sunday are ordinary working days. Carnival-like celebrations were held in England on Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, the day before the Lenten fast began, until the 19-th century. Feasts of pancakes and much drinking followed the contests; one of them was all-over-town ball game. Today the only regularly observed custom is pancake eating. This tradition of merrymaking and feasting continues also in the United States on Shrove Tuesday in Louisiana. The first of April is known as April Fools Day or All Fools Day. It is the day of jokes and any person can become a victim of traditional tricks of the undone shoelace or a crooked tie or a false invitation to a party. For three centuries Mothers Day has been the day of family reunion when adult children come back to their parents with boxes of presents. A typical British festival takes place on November 5. On that day in 1605 Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He failed in doing so, but the children of Britain never forget him. Every year, on «Guy Fawkes Night» they make «guys» to burn on bonfires, and let off fireworks.
There are local festivals all through the year. In spring, village children dance round the Maypole. Maypole is an ancient fertility emblem of the beginning of summer. In ancient times it was a pagan spring festival. It was celebrated with garlands and flowers, dancing and games on the village green. A tall pole decorated with flowers, maypole, was erected to which ribbons were attached and held by the dancers. In autumn, people take vegetables and fruit to church for the Harvest Festival, and once a year Lord Mayor of London puts on a show and rides through the streets in the golden coach.
National festivals in the United States include Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, St. Patricks Day, Mothers Day, and Memorial Day. Independence Day is observed on July 4. On this day, in 1776, America adopted the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, and started the fight for freedom from the British rule. The celebration of it began in the American Revolution. Since then it has been a patriotic holiday. People go out into the streets on July 4, dress up and take part in parades and open-air meetings. In the evening there are always parties and fireworks.
Another big holiday in the USA is Thanksgiving Day. It commemorates colonial celebrations following the first successful harvests in 1621. The first national Thanksgiving Day, proclaimed by George Washington, was celebrated on November 26, 1789. Abraham Lincoln revived the custom in 1863. In 1941 Congress provided that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November. On this day American families meet for a special dinner, usually with turkey and pumpkin pie. They give thanks to God for the past year.
Children always have fun at Halloween on October 31. They dress up like ghosts and witches. They cut up a pumpkin to look like a frightening face and put a light inside. They go from house to house and say «Trick» or «Treat»? If they get a «Treat» (sweets or an apple), they go away happy. But if they dont, they play tricks.
Memorial Day falls on the fourth Monday of May. It is the day on which the Americans honour the dead. At first it was the day on which flags or flowers were placed on graves of the soldiers who perished in the American Civil War. Now it has become the day on which the dead of all wars and all other dead are remembered. On this day veterans of military services hold special ceremonies in cemeteries or at war monuments. Parades or special programmes are held at schools or public meeting places. In addition to the widely recognised holidays listed above, two Sundays are observed in a very special way. These are the second Sunday in May, which is always Mothers Day and the other is the third Sunday in June, which is Fathers Day.
In the USA there are 50 states, and there are many holidays that are not observed nation-wide but are celebrated in certain states only. Columbus Day is observed on October 12 in 34 states. It commemorates the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus who landed in the New World on October 12, 1492. The major celebration of the day takes place in New York City, which holds a huge parade each year.
Until the mid-1970s February 22, the birthday of George Washington, the first President of the USA, was observed as a federal holiday. In addition many states celebrated the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12. In the 1970s Congress declared that in order to honour all past presidents of the USA, a single holiday, called Presidents Day, would be observed on the third Monday in February.
Labour Day is observed on the first Monday in September. It has been a federal holiday since 1894, but it was observed in some places before that date as a result of campaigns launched by an organisation of workers called the «Knights of Labour». Its purpose is to honour the working people of the country. In many cities the day is marked by parades of working people representing the labour unions.
– How do Americans honour their war veterans?
– Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, was established to honour those Americans who had served in World War I. It falls on November 11, the day on which that war ended. Now it honours veterans of all the wars in which the USA has been involved. Organisations of war veterans hold parades or other special ceremonies. The President or another high official places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington. The soldiers from each war the United States has fought in since World War I are buried there.
– What holidays are celebrated throughout the world?
– Feasts and festivals vary greatly in type. Some of them are religious in character; others have flourished in modern civilisations. Secular modern festivals are often mixed with previous religious festivals. Christmas is the most important religious holiday for Christians. They attend special church services to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. On this day most banks and offices are closed and the workers including government employees have the day off. May Day is a springtime fertility festival that can be traced back to the Great Mother festival of Greco-Roman times. It has become a festival of the labouring class of the world. At the same time May Day commemorates the suppression of the workers in Chicago on May 1, 1886, who were struggling for an eight-hour working day. In 1889 American Labour Unions decided to hold such demonstrations everywhere. This social festival is observed in different countries. St. Valentines Day is celebrated on February 14. It is not an official holiday, but people in many countries celebrate it in a very special manner. They send greeting cards to the people they love. Such cards are called «Valentines». This day is named after a Christian martyr, whose feast day is observed on that day. It is held that Valentine before his execution sent a message of friendship to his prison wardens blind daughter. Nowadays New Year is celebrated at midnight on 31st in many countries. Although certain countries calculate time by other calendars, most countries number their years according to the Gregorian calendar introduced in the 16-th century by Pope Gregory XIII. Although certain countries follow their national calendar, they always remember January 1. New Years Day is a cultural festival. Bells ring out around the world to welcome New Year.
– Is there anything common in the celebration of New Years Day in different countries?
– New Year is a family day. On this day everyone gives and receives presents. Both adults and children love it. People believe that a miracle is a must on this day. They are also convinced that if New Year begins well it will continue like that. On the New Year night people visit their friends or stay at home and watch TV. The dancing goes on all night. On January 1 business offices, banks, schools are closed so that people can feast, dance, and generally enjoy themselves.
– Are there differences in the celebrations and customs of New Year in European countries?
– In Scotland New Years Eve is called Hogmanay. It is notable for its Flambeaux Procession and the custom of First-Footing. Most differences in European tradition are connected with a meal or special food. Food is essential because most people prefer to stay up all night to welcome New Year. In Switzerland special bread, rich in butter, eggs and raisins is baked and a roasted goose is cooked. In Spain there is a custom to eat 12 grapes at midnight. In Greece some people play cards believing that they will be lucky the whole year if they win. In Turkey celebrations are held in restaurants all night long.

18/4-2012 0:53

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