Britain in Brief.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with an area of 244 000 square miles is situated on the British Isles, which are separated from the European continent by the North Sea, the Strait of Dover and the English Channel. Britain’s population is over 56 million. Four out of every five people live in towns. The largest cities of the country are London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The UK is a monarchy: the head of the state is a king or a queen. In practice, the Sovereign reigns, but does not rule: the UK is governed by the Government. The present Sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II.
The territory of Great Britain is small. Yet the country has a wide variety of scenery.
The heart of Britain is England. It is the richest, the most fertile and most populated in the country. The north and the west of England are mountainous, but all the rest of territory is a vast plain. In Northwest England, there are many beautiful lakes with green, wooded or grassy shores and grey mountains all around.
The smallest of Britain’s countries is Wales. The largest part of Wales is covered with rocky mountains, which are difficult to climb. Most people in Wales live in the coastal plains.
Scotland is a land of mountains, wild moorlands, narrow valleys and plains, famous lakes and no end of large and small islands. The Highlands of Scotland are among the oldest mountains in the world. One-third of the people in Scotland
live in or near its capital, Edinburgh, and its great industrial center, Glasgow.
The capital of Great Britain, London, stands on the Thames. The Thames is the busiest and the most important river in Great Britain, but it is not very long. The climate of Great Britain is mild.
Robert Burns is the national poet of Scotland. In his poems Burns sang the beauty and the glory of his native land.
Burns was born in Alloway, near Ayr, on 25 of January 1759. His father, a small farmer, was a hard-working man. When Robert was 6, he was sent to a school at Alloway Miln. Robert and his brother Gilbert were given a good knowledge of English. They progressed rapidly in reading and writing.
For some years Burns worked on the family field, plugging and reaping. The combination of hard physical labour and poor food in his youth that brought about the first symptoms of the heart disease which troubled him for much of his life and from which he died.
Burns wrote his first poem at the age of 14 for a girl who worked with him in the fields. After father’s death he immigrated to Jamaica. His most creative years were probably 1785 and 1786. During this period Burns wrote his most brilliant poems. Burns published his poems in August 1786. The success was great.
Soon, in April 1787, a second edition of his poems appeared in Edinburgh; 3000 copies were printed – a very large number for those times!
Now Burns had the opportunity to see more of his native land which he so dearly loved. He visited some historic places, which made a great impression on him.
During the last 5 years of his life Burns wrote some of his best poems and songs. After a short illness he died on 21 July 1796.
London is the capital of the United Kingdom, its economic, political and cultural center. It is one of the world’s most important ports and one of the largest cities in the world. London with its suburbs has a population of about 11 million people.
London has been a capital for nearly a thousand years. Many of its ancient buildings still stand. The most famous of them are the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Most visitors also want to see the Houses of Parliament and the many magnificent museums.
Once London was a small Roman town of the north bank of the Thames. Slowly it grew into one of the world’s major cities.
Different areas of London seem like different cities. The West End is a rich man’s world of shops, offices and theatres. The City of London is the district where most offices and banks are concentrated; the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England are here, too. The East End is a district where mostly working people live. The old port area is now called «Docklands». There are now new office buildings in Docklands, and thousands of new flats and houses.
By the day the whole of London is busy. At night, offices are quiet and empty, but the West End stays alive, because this is where Londoners come to enjoy themselves. There are two opera houses here, several concert halls and many theatres, as well as cinemas. In nearby Soho the pubs and restaurants and nightclubs are busy half the night
Moscow is the capital of Russia, its political, economic and cultural center. It was founded 8 centuries ago by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. Historians have accepted the year of 1147 as the start of Moscow’s history. Gradually the city became more and more powerful. In the 13th century Moscow was the center of the struggle of Russian lands for the liberation from the tartar yoke. In the 16th century under Ivan the Terrible Moscow became the capital of the new united state. Though Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg in 1712, Moscow remained the heart of Russia.
Now Moscow is one of the largest cities in Europe. Its total area is about 900 square km. The population of the city is over 8 million people.
Moscow is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The heart of Moscow is Red Square. The Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral are masterpieces of ancient Russian architecture. The main Kremlin tower, the Spasskaya Tower, has become the symbol of the country. On the territory of Kremlin you can see old cathedrals, the Bell Tower, the Palace of Congress, the Tzar-Cannon and the Tzar-Bell, the biggest cannon and bell in the world. St. Basil’s Cathedral was built in the mid-16th century in memory of the victory over Kazan. There is a legend, that Ivan the Terrible blinded the architects Barma and Postnik, because he didn’t want them to create another masterpiece.
Moscow is famous for its theatres. The best known of them is the Bolshoi Opera House. Drama theatres and studios are also very popular.
Moscow is a city of students. There are over 80 higher educational institutions in it, including several universities.
Moscow is the seat of the Russian Parliament and the center of political life of the country.
Most schools in our city are comprehensive. Ours is a lyceum so our pupils come from different parts of the city. The school holds over 1200 pupils and about 100 teachers. The
classrooms for junior forms are on the ground floor. They look cozy. The walls are decorated with pictures and there are nice curtains on the large windows. I think, children feel at home here. The classrooms for senior students are on the upper floors. Our principal’s office is on the ground floor. At the beginning of the corridor, on the right are gym and a workshop for girls, and on the left – workshop for boys. The library and the canteen are on the first floor. The computer class is on the first floor, too. It is very popular with our pupils, as many of them are fond of computer games. It’s a pity we have no Assembly Hall and all school celebrations and gatherings are held in the gym. The school is rather well equipped. Tape recorders and record players are used at different lessons. Chemistry, physics and biology are taught in well-equipped labs. The students carry out experiments and make careful observations there. Our classes start at half past eight and are over at half past one. Some pupils live far from school so they have to get there by bus, by tram or by trolley-bus. My school is from Monday till Saturday so we have only one day off. If we had one more day off we would devote our spare time to entertainment, theatres, museums, sports and different hobby clubs.
The Russian Federation.
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. Its total area is about 17 million square kilometers. It occupies most of Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Russia is bordered by Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Litva, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and China.
Russian Federation is located on two plains, the Great Russian Plain and the West Siberian Lowland. The longest mountain chains are the Urals, the Caucasus and the Altai. Russia’s most important rivers are the Volga, the main Siberian rivers and the Amur. The total number of rivers in Russia is over two million. The world’s deepest lake – Lake Baikal, with the deeps of 1600 metres, is situated in Russia, too. The climate in Russia varies from the arctic in the north to subtropical in the south. The current population of Russia is about 150 million people.
Russia is a highly-developed-agrarian republic. Its vast mineral resources include oil, natural gas, coal, iron, zinc, lead nickel, aluminum, gold and other non-ferrous metals.
The capital of the Russian Federation is Moscow, with the population of about 10 million people.
Russia is a constitutional republic with president as Head of State. The legislative power is vested in the Federal Assembly, consisting of the Council of Federation and the State Duma.
Science is important to most people living in the modern world for a number of reasons. In particular, science is important to world peace and understanding, to the understanding of technology, and to our understanding of the world.
Science is important to world peace in many ways. On one hand, scientists have helped to develop many of the modern tools of war. On the other hand, they have also helped to keep the peace through research, which has improved life for people. Scientists have helped us understand the problem of supplying the world with enough energy; using energy from the sun and from the atom. Scientists have also analysed the world’s resources. Scientists studies the Universe and how to use its possibilities for the benefit of men.
Scientists are also important to everyone who is affected by modern technology. Many of the things that make our lives easier and better are the results of advances in technology. In some cases, such as technology for taking salt out of ocean water, technology may be essential for our lives on Earth.
Scientists are learning to predict earthquakes, to study many other natural events such as storms. Scientists are also studying various aspects of human biology and the origin and developments of the human race. The study of the natural world may help improve life for many people all over the world.
A basic knowledge of science is essential for everyone. It helps people to find their way in the changing world.
Sport in a pub.
There are many public houses in London and elsewhere, where beer, wine and spirits may be bought and drunk at certain times of the day. These are suitable for all classes of the community and provide a place, where people may meet together and talk, and perhaps play at darts or other games, as well as drink.
In the bar of every English «pub» there is a dartboard, and on most evenings the game of darts is being played. This is a traditional English game. The first record of something like the modern game appears in a sixteenth century. In this tournament people threw missiles in a target by hand, instead of using a bow.
The dartboard has numbered sections and the score depends on the section in which the dart lands. The darts are small, about 12 cm long, and have a steel point, a metal body and the three feathers. A set of three darts is used and each player throws them in turns. Expert players usually have their own private set of darts, but pubs always provide a set for occasional players. If you hit the very middle – you hit the bull’s eye, which give you the highest score.
Pubs are really an essential part of English life. Most customers in the smaller pubs play games such as dominoes, darts or snooker. Snooker is a variation of billiards played with 15 red balls and 6 variously colored ones. And in many local pubs there are the teams of players of snooker who play matches against teams from other pubs. The idea has developed so far that there are even national championships in snooker and darts.
Sport in Our Life.
People all over the world are fond of sports and games. Sport makes people healthy, keeps them fit, more organized and better disciplined. It unites people of different classes and nationalities.
Many people do sports on their personal initiative. They go in for skiing, skating, table tennis, swimming, volleyball, football, bodybuilding, etc. All necessary facilities are provided for them: stadiums, sport grounds, swimming pools, skating rinks, skiing stations, football fields. Sport is
paid much attention to in our educational establishments. Gymnastics is a part of children’s daily activity in the kindergartens. Physical culture is a compulsory subject at schools and colleges.
Professional sport is also paid much attention to in our republic. There are different sporting societies clubs and complexes. The most famous of them are the Olympic complexes «Luzhniki», «Dynamo» stadium, etc. They are used for international and world competitions.
Practically all kinds of sports are popular in our republic but football; gymnastics and tennis enjoy the greatest popularity.
As for me, I go in for swimming. It needs mobility, liveliness and much energy. It keeps a person in a good form. I have been swimming for a 5 years. I get a real joy taking part in competitions or a simply swimming with my friends. Certainly, it`s a great distance between my manner of swimming and such favorites as Popov, but I do my training with great pleasure and hope to swim well as our best swimmers do.
Thomas Alva Edison
Most people know that Thomas Edison invented first working light bulb, but they don’t know anything else about him. Edison had almost no formal schooling, yet he invented over 1000 different things. Among Edison’s inventions are: the phonograph (record player), the movie camera and the movie projector.
Thomas Edison invented his electric light bulb in 1879, but there was still much work to do. No one knew how to use electricity outside of laboratory before Thomas Edison. He and his workers had to create a safe electric system. First they had to build a factory. Then they had to build the dynamos to make the electricity. Next they had to send out the electricity.
To show people that he was serious, Edison began his project in New York City. By 1887, much of New York City had electricity. Edison founded the Edison Electric Light Company and continued to supply electricity to New York and other places.
Thomas Edison lived until 1931. He continued to invent all his life. After the War, he tried to invent a substitute for rubber because of the shortage that the war caused.
Thomas Edison was a true genius, but he never went to a college or university. The only time Edison attended school was when he was 7 years old. He stayed for 3 months and never returned. Thomas Edison was a school dropout, yet he became one of America’s most famous and most honoured man.
The United States is a federal union, which is made up of 50 states and one independent district – the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia is the territory of the national capital of the USA, Washington, with its own laws and regulations. Washington, D.C. is situated on both banks of the Potomac river, between the two states, Maryland and Virginia.
This place was chosen by the first American President George Washington. In 1790 George Washington laid the corner-stone of the Capitol where the Congress sits. The place was called the District of Columbia in honour of Columbus, the discoverer of America. The capital got the name of Washington after the name of its founder. Washington has been the federal capital since 1800.
Washington is sometimes called the heart of America. It is the capital where the federal government works and where each President of the United States lives. Washington is smaller in size than the largest cities of the USA. The population of Washington is about 11 million people. The buildings in Washington are not very tall because no building must be taller than the Capitol. But in political sense Washington is the centre of the country and the most important city in the United States.
William Shakespeare is the greatest of all playwrights and poets of all times. Not much is known of his life. He was probably the son of a businessman and was born in 1564 in Stradford-upon-Avon. He probably attended the local grammar school and got a classical education. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway and had 3 children. Little is known of his life before 1592, when he appeared as a playwright in London. Soon he became an actor playing supporting roles like the ghost in «Hamlet». In 1599 Shakespeare became a part owner of the Globe Theatre in London.
Shakespeare’s work as a playwright is subdivided into 3 periods. Written in the first period, Shakespeare’s plays are mostly history plays like «Henry VI», and comedies with strong elements of farce. His masterpiece of this period is «Romeo and Juliet».
In the second period Shakespeare wrote a number of comedies where he moved away from farce towards romance. In the third period, after 1600, appeared his major tragedies – «Hamlet», «Othello». They presented a clear opposition of order to chaos, good to evil.
Shakespeare was a great poet and would be well known for his poetry alone. His major achievement as a poet is his sonnets, first published in 1609. A sonnet is a poem consisting of 14 lines, with a moral at the end. The sonnets are addressed to some «W.H.», and to mysterious «Dark Lady of Sonnets». The sonnets deal with the great themes of love, friendship, death, change and immortality. Shakespeare looks at his own poetry as a means of immortality. Shakespeare’s sonnets are excellent. They are full of harmony and music; they praise love, friendship and beauty, though there is no sentimentality in them.
Shakespeare’s poetry is at the summit of human achievement. Many centuries have passed since his death in 1616, but Shakespeare is still considered to be the greatest of all playwrights and poets.