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Федеральное агентство по образованию
Государственное образовательное учреждение высшего профессионального образования


Кафедра иностранных языков

Методические указания для студентов всех форм обучения

Волгоград, 2000г.

ББК – Ш 143. 21 – 92.

Великобритания: Методические указания для студентов всех форм обучения. / Новоженина Е.В., Леднева О.В., Багметова Н.В., Маркова О.В., Игнатенко О.М. / ВолгГТУ, Волгоград, 2000 - 32с.

Методические указания предназначены для студентов всех специальностей и всех форм обучения. Методические указания содержат обширный страноведческий материал по теме Великобритания. Особое внимание уделяется информации, связанной с географическим положением Великобритании, ее государственным устройством, экономикой и явлениями общественной жизни.

В каждом разделе представлен текстовый материал и разнообразные упражнения, целью которых является развитие коммуникативных умений.

Рецензент: кандидат педагогических наук Митина А.М.

Печатается по решению редакционно-издательского совета Волгоградского государственного технического университета.

©Волгоградский государственный технический университет, 2000.
Great Britain: General Acquaintance.

Read and translate.

Text A.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles lying to the north-west of Europe .The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and some five thousand small islands. The country is usually called simply Great Britain.

The United Kingdom is one of the world’s smaller countries (it is twice smaller than France or Spain), with an area of some 244,110 sq. km.

The United Kingdom is made up of four parts: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales and doesn’t include Northern Ireland. The capital of the UK is London.

Great Britain is separated from the European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel, the narrower part of which is called the Strait of Dover. From the west the UK is washed by the Atlantic Ocean, from the east by the stormy North Sea and the southern coast is washed by the English Channel. The Irish Sea lies between England and Ireland.

The climate, in general, is mild, chilly, and often wet. Rain or overcast skies can be expected for up to 300 days per year. These conditions make Britain lush and green, known for a variety of scenery found on such a small area: a low-lying land and hilly areas, flat fields as well as lofty mountains. The surface of Eastern England is flat. Scotland and Wales are hilly and mountainous. The mountains are not very high as compared with those of the world, the loftiest one - Ben Nevis (Scotland) - is only 4400 feet (1343m) in height. In the west the Cambrian Mountains occupy the greater part of Wales; in the north - the Cheviot Hills separate England from Scotland, the Pennines - to the south of the Cheviot Hills and Cumbrian Mountains are famous for the number and beauty of their lakes. There are sixteen lakes here and this part of the country, called the Lake District, is the most beautiful and the wettest part of Great Britain.

There are many rivers in Britain but very few of them are navigable except near the mouth for anything but smaller vessels. Many of the rivers have been connected with each other by means of canals. The principal rivers are the Severn, the Thames and the Trent. The Severn is the longest river in Britain but the Thames is the most important one. The Severn is 210 miles in length, the Thames is a little over 200 miles.

The seas surrounding the British Isles are shallow - usually less than 300 feet deep. The shallowness is in some way an advantage. Shallow water is warmer than deep water and helps to keep the shores from extreme cold. It is too the home of plenty of fish, a million tons of which are caught every year. Britain’s coastline contains numerous harbours serving as convenient ports, among which are London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Portsmouth and others.

Britain has the richest energy sources in the European Union (EU), and its abundant resources of oil and natural gas which were discovered in the North Sea off the eastern coast of Britain in 1969 are of vital importance to the British economy. Britain also has a number of nuclear energy facilities. Recently much research has been devoted to developing biofuels, solar energy, wind power, and waterpower.

The population of Great Britain (1996 estimate) is 58,489,975. The largest cities in Great Britain are London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Glasgow.

Great Britain is highly developed economically, preeminent in the arts and sciences, sophisticated in technology, and highly prosperous and peaceful. In general, British subjects belong to one of the more affluent states of Europe and enjoy a high standard of living compared to the rest of the world.

Exercise 1. Finish up the sentences according to the model:

Englishmen live in England, they speak English.

.........................in Scotland ..............................

.........................in Ireland................................. .

.........................in Wales .................................. .

.........................in Sweden ............................... .

.........................in Spain ................................... .

.........................in Denmark .............................. .

.........................in Holland ................................ .

.........................in Switzerland .......................... .

Exercise 2. Pick out from Text A synonyms of the following.

To contain, to name, to form, to divide, near, shore, prosperous, too, ship, suitable, lofty, crucial, well-known, several.

Exercise 3. Pick out from Text A antonyms of the following.

Far, deep, low, wide, to stand, disadvantage, mountainous, northern, dry, artificial, poor, small.

Exercise 4.Translate the following sentences into Russian and make up your own ones about the country (city) you live in using the italicized words and phrases.

The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands.

The shallow waters surrounding the island provide excellent fishing grounds.

The mild climate, ample rain and long growing season in Britain support a great variety of plants, which grow exceptionally well.

Great Britain’s western coast tends to be warmer than the eastern coast, and the southern regions tend to be warmer than the northern regions.

The mean annual temperature in the far north of Scotland is 6° C (43° F), and in warmer southwestern England it is 11° C (52° F).

  1. Winds blowing off the Atlantic Ocean bring clouds and large amounts of moisture to the British Isles.

  2. As the world's first industrialized society, Britain has a long history of dealing with environmental problems.

  3. Britain has a diverse population that includes people with connections to every continent of the world.

Exercise 5. Answer the questions.

  1. The UK is an island state, isn’t it? Where is it situated?

  2. What countries is the UK made up of? What are their capitals?

  3. What are the names of the waters washing the coasts of the British Isles?

  4. Why is the climate of Great Britain mild?

  5. What are the names of the mountains and where are they situated?

  6. Are there a lot of long and deep rivers?

  7. Why is the shallowness in some way an advantage?

  8. What are the mineral and natural resources of Great Britain?

  9. How many people live in Great Britain?

  10. What can you say about the standard of living in this country?

Exercise.6. Translate into English.

У северно-западного побережья Европы лежат два крупных острова. Тот, что побольше, отдаленно напоминающий треугольник с извилистыми сторонами, протянулся на 1200 километров в длину, и именуется Великобританией. Второй остров, расположенный к западу от первого, зовется Ирландией. Северо-западная часть Ирландии, известная как Северная Ирландия, входит в состав Соединенного Королевства Великобритании и Северной Ирландии. Великобритания состоит из трех стран: Англии, Шотландии и Уэльса. Граждане Соединенного Королевства известны как британцы, хотя обитатели островов считают себя кто англичанами, кто шотландцами, кто валлийцами. Соединенное Королевство для краткости именуют Британией. Англия, население которой примерно в пять раз превосходит население остальных трех стран, вместе взятых, просто обречена на доминирование. Однако Британии не следует игнорировать Шотландию, Уэльс и Северную Ирландию, иначе ей нельзя будет уважать саму себя.

Read the advertisement below for touring the Hope Valley line.
Text B.
The Green Way to Discover the Hope Valley.
Spanning 43 miles between Sheffield and Manchester the Hope Valley line crosses the Peak District. The Peak District is the best-loved of Britain’s eleven national parks and the Hope Valley is especially popular with over 2 million visitors a year.

It crosses an area known as the Dark Park dominated by gritstone crags and moors and intersected by sheltered, green valleys.

Why not travel on the Hope Valley line and discover for yourself the spirit of the Peak District. Leave the car at home and travel the green way - by foot, by bike, by bus, by train and experience the quiet rural stations, the footpaths leading up into the hills and the freedom from congestion and traffic jams.

Take time to enjoy the dramatic limestone scenery. Explore some of Derbyshire’s prettiest villages, the quiet river valleys and rugged hillsides. Descend underground to visit one of Castleton’s show caves, come and watch the Derbyshire well dressing. Or simply relax and enjoy a pint in one of the Hope Valley’s excellent pubs and stop for Sunday lunch.

Contact the Hope Valley Tourism Association on 01433 621372 (Underleigh house,

Off Edale Road, Hope, Derbyshire S30 2RF) for further details.

Exercise 1. Comment on the following:

The location of the Hope Valley line.

The activities to be done.

The advantages of travelling the green way.

Whether you would enjoy a place of this kind.
Exercise 2. Write a similar advertisement for some place in your region or country.
Exercise 3. Bring two pictures or postcards showing some English scenery. Describe what there is in the pictures, what feelings you have about the views.
Exercise 4. Describe (in writing) a sight or a view that once struck you as picturesque, beautiful or unusual.
Exercise 5. Discuss the following topics (use the map and some additional sources of information):

  1. Physical background of Great Britain.

  2. English scenery and climate.

  3. Big cities of Great Britain.

  4. Four parts of the country.

The Political System.

Read and translate.

Text A.

The United Kingdom is a constitutional (or parliamentary) monarchy without a written constitution. The country has a monarch (a king or a queen) as its Head of State. The monarch has very little power and can only reign with the support of parliament. Parliament consists of two chambers known as the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Parliament and the monarch have different roles in the government of the country, and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as the coronation of a new monarch or the opening of Parliament. In reality, the House of Commons is the only one of the three which has true power. It is here that new bills are introduced and debated. If the majority of the members are in favour of a bill it goes to the House of Lords to be debated and finally to the monarch to be signed. Only then does it become law. Although a bill must be supported by all three bodies, the House of Lords only has limited powers, and the monarch has not refused to sign one since the modern political system began over 200 years ago.

“Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” is the official Head of State and, for many people, a symbol of the unity of the nation. For a thousand years England (and later the whole of the United Kingdom) has been united under one sovereign. The hereditary principal still operates and the Crown is passed on to the sovereign’s eldest son (or daughter if there are no sons).

The Queen has a certain role in state affairs, not only through her ceremonial functions, such as opening Parliament, but also because she meets the Prime Minister every week and receives copies of all Cabinet papers. Functions of the Sovereign are as follows:

  • opening and closing Parliament;

  • approving of the appointment of the Prime Minister;

  • giving her Royal Assent to bills;

  • Head of the Commonwealth;

  • Head of the Church of England;

  • Commander-in-Chief of the armed Forces.

The House of Lords has more than 1,000 members, although only about 250 take an active part in the work of the House. The chairman of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor, who sits on the Woolsack.

The House of Lords like the Monarch has now lost most of its powers and cannot influence the process of decision-making in Parliament. In practice, the powers of the House of Lords have been truncated to limited revising and delaying functions. Members of the House of Lords debate a bill after it has been passed by the House of Commons. Changes may be recommended, and agreement between the two Houses is reached by negotiation. The Lord’s main power consists of being able only to delay non-financial bills passed by the House of Commons for a period of a few months, but they can also introduce certain types of bills. One of the oldest functions of the House of Lords is judicial. It works as the highest and final Court of Appeal.

The two Houses of Parliament, the Lords and the Commons share the same building, the Palace of Westminster.

The House of Commons is made up of 650 elected members, known as Members of Parliament, or MPs. The Commons debating chamber, usually called “the House”, and has seats for only about 370 MPs. They are elected by popular vote and represent the counties and borough constituencies.

The House of Commons is presided over by the Speaker. A Speaker is customarily reappointed to his office in each new Parliament. As soon as a party member becomes a Speaker he must abandon party politics.

The life of Parliament is divided into periods called “sessions’. A session normally lasts for about a year, from late October of one year to about the same date of the next year. MPs have holidays of about four weeks over Christmas, two weeks each at Easter and Whitsun, and about eleven weeks – from early August to mid-October – in the summer.

The beginning of a new session, called “the State Opening of Parliament”, is a fine ceremonial occasion, beginning with the royal procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster.

The United Kingdom is divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies, each with an electorate of about 60,000 voters. Each constituency is represented by one Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. The main political parties are usually represented at the elections and sometimes candidates representing minority parties stand. The winner is the candidate who gets more votes than any other single candidate.

The leader of the party with most votes becomes Prime Minister and forms a government, which can remain in power for up to five years. The second biggest party becomes the official Opposition. Its leader forms a “Shadow Cabinet”.

The Prime Minister chooses the date of the next General elections, but doesn’t have to wait until the end of five years. Voting takes place on Polling Day. The national result is known by the next morning at the latest.

As soon as it is clear that one party has a majority of seats in the House of Commons, its leader is formally invited by the Sovereign to form a government. The modern government is arranged in about fifteen departments each with a minister at its head. Normally, all the heads of the departments are members of the House of Commons, though sometimes one is in the House of Lords. They form the cabinet, which meets about once a week in Number 10 Downing Street, a rather ordinary-looking house, which also contains the Prime Minister’s personal office.
Exercise 1. Turn the following nouns into adjectives.
Constitution; politics; symbol; ceremony; parliament; democracy; finance; royalty.
Exercise 2. Find English equivalents in the text.

Избирательный округ; представить законопроект; оставаться у власти; быть сторонником чего-либо; наследственный принцип; ограниченные полномочия; достигать соглашения; представлять на выборах; судебная функция; подписывать документы; государственные дела.

Exercise 3. Complete the following sentences.

  1. The United Kingdom is divided into …

2) Prime Minister is the leader of the party that …

3) The role of the monarch is …

4) The executive power in the UK belongs to …

5) The House of Lords can not reject bills that …

6) A “Shadow Cabinet” is formed by …

7) Members of the Government are not elected by the House of Commons, they are…

  1. The official residence of the British Prime Minister is ...

  2. The party which has majority of seats in the House of Commons forms …

10) MPs have holidays which last … .
Exercise 4. Agree or disagree to the following. Give your comments.

  1. The Queen’s powers in Britain are unlimited.

  2. The Prime Minister is the leader of the party, which has majority in the House of Lords.

  3. The Queen opens the first session of Parliament with a throne speech.

  4. The Royal family is the principal aristocratic house in Britain.

  5. The Cabinet formulates comprehensive policy covering all major issues both at home and abroad.

  6. The maximum life of the House of Commons has been restricted to 4 years since the Parliament Act 1911.

  7. The House of Lords can influence the process of decision making in Parliament.

  8. A bill becomes Act of Parliament when the Speaker signs it.

Exercise 5. Discuss the following points.

  1. What do you see as advantages and disadvantages of having a monarch?

  2. Which members of the Royal family are best known in Russia? Why?

  3. What differences are there between Parliament and the Government?

  4. What do you know about the elective procedure to the House of Lords?

  5. List the differences and similarities between the UK parliamentary system and that of Russia.

Exercise 6. Divide the text into several logical parts and think of the title for each part of the text.
Exercise 7. Translate into English.

  1. В Великобритании нет избираемого отдельно президента, их премьер – лидер крупнейшей партии в парламенте.

  2. Премьер-министр назначает министров, которые с помощью государственной службы руководят различными министерствами.

  3. Самые важные министры во главе с премьер-министром образуют кабинет из примерно 20 членов.

  4. Предложения правительства выносятся на обсуждение парламента: они дебатируются в палате общин, а позднее – в палате лордов.

  5. Исторически парламентская система стала источником как законодательной, так и исполнительной власти.

  6. Британское изобретение – должным образом выстроенная «лояльная оппозиция», которая обладает не только правом, но и обязанностью оппонировать правительству.

  7. Права британского монарха носят формальный, а не практический характер.

  8. Каждый вторник, когда королева в Лондоне, премьер отправляется в Букингемский дворец, чтобы проинформировать ее о событиях.

Exercise 8. Find some additional information on one of the following topics and describe it.

  1. The Royal family.

  2. The electoral system of Great Britain.

  3. Procedure of passing bills.

  4. The Prime minister’s duties.

  5. Parliamentary monarchy.

Read and translate.

Text B.
The Political Parties.
The British democratic system depends on political parties and there has been a party system of some kind since the 17th century. The Conservative and the Liberal parties are the oldest and until the last years of the 19th century they were the only parties elected to the House of Commons.

The Conservatives, often called the Tories, have always been the party of the Right, the party of big business, industry, commerce and landowners. It can broadly be described as the party of the middle and upper classes although it does receive some working class support. The party represents those who believe in private enterprise as opposed to state-owned undertakings. The Tories are the most powerful party and are often called a party of business directors. (The word “Tories” is an Irish name for thieves and was applied to the Conservatives by their opponents, but later they adopted the name to describe themselves).

The Tories were opposed by the Whigs, a rude name for cattle drivers. In the middle of the 19th century the Liberal Party (or the Whigs) represented the trading and manufacturing classes. Its slogan of that time was “Civil and Religious Liberty”. During the second half of the 19th century many working people looked at the Liberal Party as an alternative to the Conservatives and their policy. At the end of the 19th century and in the first two decades of the 20th century, the Liberals lost the support of working – class voters.

Around 1900 the Labour Party was formed as the political arm of the trade unions. It was the party that drew away working people’s support. The Labour Party has always had strong links with the trade unions and receives financial support from them. While many Labour voters are middle-class or intellectuals, the traditional Labour Party support is still strongest in industrial areas.

There are also some other parties: the Social Democratic Party, the Liberal Democrats. The Green Party, The Communist Party, the National Front, the Scottish National Party and the Welsh National Party.
Exercise 1. Turn the following verbs into nouns denoting the doer of the action.

To support; to vote; to manufacture; to own; to oppose; to believe; to elect; to win; to defend; to direct; to represent; to preside.

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