Реферат: Топики по английскому языку


    There are 8major holidays in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>.Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November is one ofthe oldest public holidays, and it was described previously. Besides the 8public holidays there are 2 Sundays which are observed in a special way. The 2ndSunday in May is known as Mother’s Day,which is a day when children honour their mothers.Every child does it in his or her own way. The 3rd Sunday in June is called Father’s Day, when children honour their fathers.

     We mustalso say that the Americans celebrate holidays which are observed in manycountries of the world. Among these are Christmas,which is celebrated on December 25, NewYear’s Day, January 1, and Easter,which always falls on a Sunday.

     The firstmajor American holiday in January is MartinLuther King’s Day, which is observed on the third Monday of every Januarybeginning in 1986. Martin Luther King was a black clergyman who became famousall over the world for his campaigns to win full civil rights for the blackpeople in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>.These campaigns were organized by King in the 1950s and 1960s, because theblack people in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>America</st1:place></st1:country-region>were discriminated in different spheres of life. For example, black people werenot allowed to eat in the same places with white people, they have to take backseats in public buses, their children could not study at schools together withwhite children. Today all these practices are abolished because of the movementwhich was led by Martin Luther King. King was against violence, and hiscampaigns were peaceful demonstrations. The whole world was shocked when Kingwas killed in 1968. Ever since Americans honoured hisbirthday on January 15, and the Congress decided to make the third Monday inJanuary a holiday in honour of Martin Luther King.

     President’s Dayisquite an old national holiday. For quite a long time it was observed onFebruary 22, the birthday of  GeorgeWashington, first president of  the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region></st1:place>. Inmost states Americans also celebrated Abraham Linkoln’sBirthday on February <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«12. In» w:st=«on»>12. In</st1:metricconverter>the 1970s the American Congress decided to honour allpast presidents of the country on a single day which was called President’sDay, and which is observed on the third Monday in February.

     Memorial Dayis the fourthMonday of every May, when the American’s honour thedead. They remember the dead of all wars and all other dead. Special ceremoniesare held in cemeteries, at monuments for the war dead, in churches, schools, orother public places. Memorial Day is also considered to be the beginning of thesummer season.

   The fourth obJuly is known as Independence Daywhen the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>was proclaimed an independent republic in 1776. It is a very great holidaymarked by parades, flying of flags all over the country and picnics. Fireworksdisplays fill the skies in the evening.

     Labour Dayisobserved on the first Monday of September since 1984. The traditions of thisholiday are even still older. On this day the Americans honourtheir working people. In many cities parades of different labourorganizations are held. This day also marks the end of the summer season.Public schools open just before or after Labour Day.

     We all knowthat the <st1:place w:st=«on»>New World</st1:place> was discovered byChristopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. Most countries of the Americancontinent celebrate this discovery on October 12, but in the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>United States</st1:country-region></st1:place> Columbus day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. A greatparade take place in <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:State w:st=«on»>New York</st1:State></st1:place>on this day.

     Veterans’ Dayis honoured on November 11. This was the date when the FirstWorld War ended in 1918. On Veterans’ Day the Americans honourveterans of all the wars in which the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>United States of America</st1:place></st1:country-region> took part.Organizations of war veterans organize parades and different ceremonies. Thepresident of the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region> places awreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Arlington</st1:PlaceName><st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>National</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Cemetery</st1:PlaceType>which is situated in <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:City w:st=«on»>Washington</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st=«on»>D.C.</st1:State></st1:place> Here soldiers are buriedfrom each war which was fought by the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>United States</st1:place></st1:country-region> since the First WorldWar (1914-18). There is much charity work on this day, when differentorganizations collect money for veterans, invalids and other people in need.

     As has beensaid Americans widely celebrate Easterand Christmas. Easter is a religiousholiday, but many follow old traditions during the holiday such as dyeinghard-boiled eggs, and making presents of chocolate eggs, rabbits and chicks.Many parents organize Easter egg hunts, in which children look for dyed eggshidden around the house or in the garden. The President of the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> evenorganizes the traditional Easter egg hunt on the lawn of the White House theday after Easter, knowm as Easter Monday. Christmas is a very great religiousholiday. As most Americans are Christians so it is widely celebrated in <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>America</st1:country-region></st1:place>.In this day many go to Church services to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.There are many Christmas traditions which are very popular, for example to givepresents to the children with the help of Santa Claus, who is said to live atthe north Pole, where he makes toys for children during the hole year.Grown-ups also exchange presents and Christmas greeting cards. Americansdecorate their homes for Christmas. They have a Christmas tree, which theydecorate with toys and small lights. The tree may be a real fir tree from theforest or an artificial one. Gifts are given not only to children, members ofthe family and close friends. They are given to people who do a lot of work forother people, for example, the postman, milkman. Many firms give their workersgifts of extra money for good work. Christmas is also a time when Americans doa lot of charity work. They help the poor people, organize Christmas dinnersfor the homeless people. Much help is given to sick people, invalids, people ofold age. During Christmas you can meet a lot people in the streets who collectmoney for those who are in need.

     Americanscelebrate New Year’s Day very muchlike people in different countries of the world. The celebration take place thenight before, when Americans gather in homes or in restaurants or other publicplaces to enjoy food and different drinks and to wish each other a happy new year. There is much noise atmidnight when the old year passes away, and the new year arrives. People sing.Dance, the cars in the streets signal their horns.

     One otherday that most Americans, especially the young people, observe is Valentine’s Day.  It is on February 14, though it is not anofficial holiday. The tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day is very old.Very many years ago it was celebrated in honour of aChristian saint. On this day Americans send gifts to people they love. Theyalso send special greeting cards called Valentines to those whom they love.Usually the gifts are sweets, chocolates and flowers. The tradition ofcelebrating Valentine’s Day is well known in the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>,it was also a tradition in our country many years ago and many post-cards ofthe past reflect this tradition.


            When <st1:City w:st=«on»>Columbus</st1:City> landed in the <st1:place w:st=«on»>New World</st1:place>in October 1942, it took 6 months for the people in the old world to hear aboutit. But those who heard about it then did not quite understand where exactly hehad been. Ironically enough, not even Columbus himself knew. When in July 1969man made his first landing on the moon, live radio and TV broadcasts withinsecond reaches hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Such changesin mass communications hav taken place in the 20thcentury. We can date the beginning of mass communication with the invention ofGutenberg’s printing press in 1450. For the first time it was possible todistribute to a large public identical messages by a process of duplication.Motion pictures, radio and TV came along at the end of the 19th andin the early 20th century.

The right of thepeople to know is one of the central principles of American society.Recognizing this fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution (1791) says, inpart, that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or ofthe press ”. And subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court have extended thiscurb to all levels of government. That protection from control by the federalgovernment meant that anyone, regardless of his political or religious beliefs,could publish what he wished.

Over the past 2centuries the means of communication, what we call the “media”, “mass media”,“news media” have grown immensely. Early in American history the media were fewand simple, they included newspapers, pamphlets and books. Today the media alsoinclude TV, radio, films and cable TV (the so-called electronic press). Theterm “the press” has expanded to refer now to any news operation in any media,not jut print.

Most importantamong print media are large, mass-circulation national newspapers, such as the <st1:address w:st=«on»><st1:Street w:st=«on»>Wall Street</st1:Street> <st1:City w:st=«on»>Jornal</st1:City>, <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>USA</st1:country-region></st1:address> Today, the New York Times, and The <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:State w:st=«on»>Washington</st1:State></st1:place> Post. Among most popular newsmagazines are Time, Newsweek and <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> News andWorld Report. The electronic press includes radio and TV news programmingby such giants as the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), the ColumbiaBroadcasting System (CBS), the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), as well aspublic broadcasting, and the rapidly expanding cable networks (CNN).

The proportion of <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>America</st1:place></st1:country-region>’searliest press readers was quite small. These were the colonies’ upper classand community leaders, the people, who could read and who could afford to buynewspapers. The first regular newspaper was the <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Boston</st1:place></st1:City> News-letter, a weekly started in 1704by the city’s postmaster, John Campbell. Like most papers of the time, itpublished shipping information and news from <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>England</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Most Americans, out in thefields, rarely saw a newspaper. They depended on travelers or passing townsmenfor this news. An important feature of the press in the early years was thatthe newspapers reflected the interests of the political parties which werebeing formed. At the same time early American papers played a key role inAmerican democratic life, they supplied common people with access to politicalinformation. The growth of the press was phenomenal. At the beginning of the 19thcentury, the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>had about 200 little newspapers, few of which were dailies. By the beginning ofthe 20th century the number of the country’s newspapers was over12000. With the increase of the mass audience, number of readers, newspapersgradually emerged from the domination by political parties and became moreindependent. The press began to deal with a wide variety of subjects of popularinterest in addition to politics.

The tendency toobjective reporting made the New YorkTimes the nation’s most prestigious newspaper. This newspaper establisheditself as a serious alternative to sensationalist journalism. It presentsimportant national and international events, a tradition which still continues.The New York Times is only one ofmany daily newspapers that have become significant in shaping public opinion.Among the most prominent are TheWashington Post, the Los AngelesTimes, the Boston Globe, and the Christian Science Monitor. These are thenewspapers with the largest circulations (from 1 to 2 million copies).

A number ofmagazines have even larger circulations. At the top of the list among those thatprint mainly political news is Time,which sells 4,5 million copies each week. Timewas the first magazine to organize news into separate departments, such asnational affairs, business and science. Other prominent news weeklies are Newsweek, using much the same format, Business Week and US News and World Report. But the largest audiences of readerswere won by magazines that catered to Americans’ increasing leisure time andappetite for consumer goods, such as Cosmopolitan,the Ladies Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post. Publishers are nolonger just selling reading material; they are selling readers to advertisers.Among all magazines the leading is the monthly Reader’s Digest, with a circulation of over 18 million copies. The1st commercial radio station in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> began operating in 1922, and in1950 about 2150 stations were on the air. Though mostly entertaining, theradio’s instant, on-the-spot reports of dramatic events drew huge audiencesthroughout the 1930s and World War II. Radio also introduced governmentregulation into the media, though the press and telecommunications in thecountry are privately owned and operated, with the fewest possible governmentalregulations.

In the late 1940sand 1950s TV was establishing itself as an entertainment medium. Like radiobefore it, TV focused on entertainment to provide large audiences toadvertisers. TV production rapidly became concentrated in 3 major networks:CBS, NBC and ABC. One 30-second commercial on ABC-TV’s evening news costs 50000dollars. It was not until the 1960s that TV news came into its own. Watching TVsoon became a social ritual. Traditional family ways were weakening. Millionsof people set up their activities and lifestyles around TV’s programmes. The average American spends a great amount oftime in front of a TV-set, about 20 hours a week! TV has become the main sourcefrom which most Americans get the information.

By the beginningof the 1990s the use of media in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> was at record levels. Over 98%of homes in the country had at least one TV-set, and 1114 stations were inoperation. There were 9151 newspapers and nearly 11000 magazines and journals.

Technologycontinues to change the media. Computers are already revolutionizing theprinting process. Cables and satellites are expanding potentialities of  TV.


The early Englishcolonists in the new world were speaking Elizabethan English, the language ofShakespeare and Marlow, when they came to <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>America</st1:country-region></st1:place>. This is important andnecessary for our understanding of some of the features which American Englishwas to develop later on. There are very few pure languages. English has beenknown as a word borrower. In the formation of the American English theEnglish-speaking colonists were brought into contact with the different peopleswho spoke different languages. Many words, derived from these languages, wereadded to the 17th century form of English. First in importance comethe words derived from the speech of various Indian tribes. This was caused bythe necessity of talking about new things, qualities, operations, concepts, andideas. The movement of a people to a new and different environment not onlycreates a problem of communication but makes it urgent.

The firstcolonists saw plants and animals which were new to them. Some of the fish theycaught in the coastal waters were unlike anything they had seen before. Theland was occupied by tribes who spoke strange languages, wore strange clothing,prepared strange foods. Even the landscape was greatly different from theneatly tailored English countryside. Names had to be given to all these aspectsof their new life. So, from the Indians were borrowed not only the manygeographical names of rivers, lakes, mountains, but names for objects (plants,animals), as well as implements and food preparations of a new kind, such ascanoe, moccasin, wigwam, toboggan, tomahawk, totem, igloo, hammock, etc.

Besides thevarious Indian influences, American English reflects the other non-Englishcultures which the colonists men in their conquest o the continent. In thewestward expansion of their territory, the English-speaking colonists soon cameinto contact with the casual French settlements in the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Middle West</st1:place>. From the French a considerable number of words were derived, e.g. rapids, prairies, etc. More substantial borrowings were made from theSpanish colonization and culture as the English-speaking settlers movedsouthward and westward toward the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Pacific Ocean</st1:place>.Spanish words were adopted at two different periods. In the early colonialdays, American English received creole, mulatto.Then, after the Mexican war (1846-48) contact with the Spanish-speaking inhabitantsof <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:State w:st=«on»>Texas</st1:State></st1:place> andthe Spanish West resulted in borrowing of such words as canyon, ranch,sombrero. The Dutch settlers of <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>New York</st1:place></st1:State> contributed to American English the followingwords: boss, cookie, Santa Claus.

The increasinginfluence of the mass media has caused a steady infiltration of American wordsand expressions into British English. The word “okay”, for example, onceexclusively American, is today normal British usage. And the word “commuter”,meaning a person who travels to and from his work daily with a season ticket,is rapidly passing into British English. It is shorter and easier than theBritish equivalent, “season ticket holder”. Americans are constantly inventingnew words, many of which have found a permanent place first in American and thenin British usage. In this category we have formations like “to televise” from“television”, and compound words like “cablegram” from “cable” and “telegram”and “sport-cast” from “sport” and “broadcast”. The use of nouns as verbs andvice versa has also given rise to new words. Thus we have “to park”, which nowmeans “to put in a safe place until needed”, and today we park not only carsbut also children, dogs and even chewing gum. A cheap article of good qualityis a “good buy”, things to eat are “eats”, and a technical designer whoproduces a perfect “lay-out” (design) has “know-how”. Foreign students with aknowledge of English often experience considerable difficulty in their firstcontacts with American speakers. The problem here, however, usually has more todo with pronunciation than with the language itself. Apart from the typicallynasal quality of American speech, there are the number of basic differencesbetween British and American pronunciation:

a)<span Times New Roman"">     

Wordsending in –aryand –oryhave a stress on the text to last syllable in American: secretary, laboratory;

b)<span Times New Roman"">     

Americansoften pronounce [r] in position where it is not pronounced in British English: car, here;

c)<span Times New Roman"">     

In suchwords as bath, news the American pronunciation will be [bæθ],[nu:z];

d)<span Times New Roman"">     

Otherwords which are pronounced differently tomato,address.

In AmericanEnglish the pronunciation is [tә’meitәυ]and [‘ædres].

In AmericanEnglish there is an increasing tendency to employ a simplified spelling. Thecommonest feature of this

simplified spelling is the use of –or in all words that in English contain –our: thus Americans writelabor, honor, honorable, also manyAmericans write trufor through, Malboro for <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:City w:st=«on»>Marlborough</st1:City></st1:place>.

There are,however, a number of cases in which British and American people continue to usedifferent words to mean

the same thing. These words are still in constant useand have retained their national character. Here are a few examplesillustrating certain variations in the two languages.

British                                                                            American


booking                                                          office  ticket window

         bonnet (of a car)                                                        hood

                                               car park                                                                   parking lot

                                                Circus (Piccadilly)                                      Circle

                                               coach                                                                      bus

                                               engine-driver                                                           engineer

                                                garage                                                                       service station

                                               guard (of a train)                                                     conductor

                                               goods train                                                   freight train

                                                 layby                                                                      rest area (on highway)

                                                lift                                                                elevator

                                                lorry                                                             truck

                                                petrol                                                                       gas or gasoline

                                                pram                                                                        baby-carriage

                                                 railway                                                                    railroad


Out of more than 3million students who graduate from high school each year, about 1 million go onfor “higher education”. It is not easy to enter a college at a leadinguniversity in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>.Such a college may accept only one out every 10 who apply. At present there areover 3300 different institutions of higher education in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region> with morethan 12 million students.

Successfulapplicants at colleges of higher education are usually chosen on the basis of(a) their high school records which included their class rank, the list of allthe courses taken and all the grades received in high school, test results; (b)recommendations from their high school teachers; (c) the impression they make duringinterviews at the university, which is in fact a serious examination; and (d)their scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SATs). The SAT is a test inmathematics and English language which was introduced in 1947. The SAT is takenin the 11th grade of high school (over 1,5 million high schoolstudents take it yearly). If a student gets 1600 scores it is considered as agood result, if he or she gets 400 scores such a result is considered to bepoor. A SAT can be taken 2 or 3 times, so that the student can improve theresults if he or she wishes to do so.

The system ofhigher education includes 4 categories of institutions: (1) the two*year, orcommunity college, which is financed by the local authorities and which isintended to satisfy the needs of the local community in different professions.Tuition fees are low in these colleges, that is why about 40% of all Americanstudents of higher education study at these colleges. On graduation from suchcolleges American students can start to work or may transfer to four-yearcolleges or universities; (2) the technical training institution, at which highschool graduates may take courses ranging from 6 months to 3-4 years, and learndifferent technical skills, which may include design, business, computer programming,accounting, etc., (3) the four-year college which is not part of a university.The graduates receive the degree of bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor ofscience (BS), (4) the university, which may contain (a) several colleges forstudents who want to receive the bachelor’s degree after four years of study;and (b) one or more graduate schools for those who want to continue theirstudies after college for about two years to receive a master’s degree (Masterof Arts (MA)) or of Science (MS) or a doctoral degree (Ph. D. – Doctor ofPhilosophy, in some science). There are 156 universities in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>.

 Any of this institutions of higher educationmay be either public or private. The public institutions are financed by thestate. Of the four-year institutions 28% are public, and 72% are private, butmost of the students, about 80%, study at public institutions of highereducation, because tuition fees here are much lower. If at the end of the 1980stuition fees at private institutions were 12 thousand dollars a year and evenhigher, at public institutions they were 2-5 thousand dollars a year.

Many students needfinancial aid to attend college. When a family applies for aid, an analysis ismade of the parents’ income. The aid may be given in the form of a grant, orstipend which the student doesn’t need to pay back. It may be given as a loan,which the student must pay back after college. The third type of aid may begiven in the form of some kind of work, which the student has to do at theuniversity or college, for which he gets some money. Most students work,especially during the summer vacation.

The academic yearis usually nine months, or two semesters of 4 and a half months each. Studiesusually begin in September and end in July. There are summer classes for thosewho want to improve the grades or take up additional courses. Students whostudy at the university or four-year college are known as undergraduates. Thosewho have received a degree after 4 years of studies are known as graduates.They may continue with their studies and research work to another 2 years asgraduates in order to get a higher degree. The undergraduate students who studyfor four years are called as follows: (a) the first-year student is called afreshman; (b) the second-year student is called a sophomore; (c) the student ofthe third year is known as a junior; and (d) the fourth-year student – asenior.

During one term orsemester a student will study four or five different subjects. The students’progress is controlled through oral or written tests, term or course papers anda final examination in each course. Each part of a student’s work in a courseis given a mark which helps to determine his final grade. A student’s recordconsists of his grade in each course. College grades are usually on afive-point scale: A – is the highest mark and is usually equal to 5 points,B=4, C=3, D=2, E or F means failure. To points make it possible to calculatethe GPA (grade point average). Normally, a minimum GPA of 3,5, points isnecessary to continue or university and to graduate.

Each college oruniversity has its own curriculum. There are courses that every student has totake an order to receive a degree. These courses or subjects are called majorsubjects or “majors”. At the same time there are subjects, which the studentmay choose himself for his future life. These courses are called “electives”. Astudent has to earn a certain number of “credits” (about 120) in order toreceive a degree at the end of four years of college. Credits are earned byattending lectures or laboratory classes and completing assignments andexaminations. One credit usually equals one hour of class per week in a singlecourse during the semester.

Thus, we see thatthe American system of higher education gives the student much choice which hemay realize according to his will. His achievements in his studies and futurework depend upon himself. At the same time many Americans are not satisfiedwith the condition of higher education in their country. The high tuition feesmake it difficult for law-paid American families to send their children touniversity. This is especially true for young people from minority groups – theBlacks, Asians, etc. Though much is spent by the state for education, Americanuniversities complain that this funds are becoming smaller with every new year.The equipment which is used at the universities for research is not modernenough, and the universities do not have the money to install new equipment.Under such conditions tuition fees are growing and many talented young peoplecannot receive higher education. Critics point out that one every eight highlytalented high school graduates does not go on to university or college, andonly half the students who enter college for a bachelor’s degree actuallyachieve their aim. All these problems are widely discussed today in Americansociety.



When the 1stcensus was taken in 1790 much of the country had not even been explored, andmuch of it did not belong to the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region>,but to <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>France</st1:country-region> and <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>Spain</st1:country-region></st1:place>.The “western settlers” of that day were in the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Appalachian Mountains</st1:place>, and the total population was about 4 million. By 1854the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>had acquired the western part of the country. This region had been unifiedpolitically. The population then was about 24 million. The speed with which itactually was settled is one of the most exciting stories in American history.Within the period of a single lifetime, vast territories of forest and prairieswere converted into farms and industrial cities. The dramatic movement of thepopulation from the East to the Pacific was caused by the discovery of gold innorthern <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>California</st1:place></st1:State>.

A vital role inthe formation of the population of the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> was played by the immigration.Very many people came from abroad, mostly from <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>,in search of political or religious freedom. Others fled from poverty andhunger. Before 1880 most of the immigrants came from northern and westernEurope, and after that from southern and eastern <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>.Thousand of Asians came to the Pacific coast. The peak of movement was reachedin the period from 1901 to 1910 during which some 8.8 million persons enteredthe country.

The firstEuropeans to establish permanent settlements along the Pacific coast were theRussians. They came late in the eighteens century in search of easily extractedriches. Here that proved to be furs, and they established a number of tradingposts and missionary activities that eventually reached as far south asnorthern <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>California</st1:place></st1:State>.However, they were concentrated in <st1:place w:st=«on»>Southeastern Alaska</st1:place>,These posts never became self-sufficient in foodstuffs, and the costs ofmaintaining these scattered, distant posts consumed most of the profits. So in1867 <st1:State w:st=«on»>Alaska</st1:State> was sold to the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> for a priceof 7.2 million dollars. Many Americans considered the price far too high, andthe government was seriously criticized for the purchase. Evidence of thisRussian presence can still be seen in some parts of <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:State w:st=«on»>Alaska</st1:State></st1:place> in wooden architecture, onion-domedchurches, cemeteries, and the Russian Orthodox faith.

Immigrants fromdifferent countries very often live by solid communities – Franco-Canadians inthe north of New England, Germans in <st1:State w:st=«on»>Pennsylvania</st1:State>,Swedes in <st1:State w:st=«on»>Minnesota</st1:State>, the French in <st1:State w:st=«on»>Louisiana</st1:State>, the Slavs in the northeast and the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Lake District</st1:place>. They use their native languages and keepthe customs and traditions of their forefathers. Representatives of manynationalities and ethnic groups took part in the formation of the Americannation and it is a very complicated product.

A constituent partof the American nation are about 30 million Negro people, or Afro-Americans (over 12 % of the whole population).Half of them live in the South, in the states of <st1:State w:st=«on»>Alabama</st1:State>,<st1:State w:st=«on»>Mississippi</st1:State>, <st1:State w:st=«on»>Louisiana</st1:State>,<st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Georgia</st1:place></st1:country-region>,North and South Carolinas, Virginia. The group of Spanish-speaking Americansalso constitutes a considerable proportion of the population – about 17million. The native people comprise Indians (1.5 million), Eskimos and Aleuts. <st1:place w:st=«on»>North Alaska</st1:place> has been the home of Eskimos for countlesscenturies. It is believed that the Eskimos moved there from <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>Mongolia</st1:country-region> or Siberia, probably crossing BeringStrait, named for Vitus Bering, the Danish seacaptain who discovered <st1:State w:st=«on»>Alaska</st1:State> on his voyagefor <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Russia</st1:place></st1:country-region>in 1741. The Eskimos, the Aleuts of the southwest, and the Indians of thesoutheast are the state’s earliest known inhabitants. There are about 4 millionpeople belonging to other ethnic groups. But the great majority of the peopleof the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region></st1:place>are English-speaking Americans (over 80%), though their language under newconditions of life and immigrant environment acquired a number of new phonetical and lexical peculiarities.

In number ofpopulation (over 260 million) the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region>holds one of the first places in the world (after <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>China</st1:country-region>and <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>India</st1:place></st1:country-region>).The average density of population as a whole, without <st1:State w:st=«on»>Alaska</st1:State>and <st1:State w:st=«on»>Hawaii</st1:State>, is 26.2 people per 1 square kilometre, i.e. considerably less than in most of thecountries of <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>. More than half of thepopulation is concentrated in the industrial Northeast, and the density ofpopulation here is very high – 374 people per 1 square kilometre.The density of the population of the South is over 30 people per 2 square kilometre. On the Pacific coast the density is high again –64 people per 1 square kilometre (<st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>California</st1:place></st1:State>). Meanwhile, <st1:State w:st=«on»>California</st1:State>is the most populous state – 27 million people, <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>New York</st1:place></st1:State> is second – 18 million. In theindustrial and agrarian states of the Lake District the density of populationis lower and decreases sharply in the purely agricultural states – North andSouth Dakotas and <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Nebraska</st1:place></st1:State>– 4-7 people per 1 square kilometre. In themountainous Cordillera States the density ranges from 2 people (<st1:State w:st=«on»>Wyoming</st1:State>) to 12 people per 1 square kilometrein <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:State w:st=«on»>Colorado</st1:State></st1:place>.

The lowest densityof population is <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>– 0.3 people per 1 square kilometer. But the tendency of movement of thepopulation from one region to another never stopped. Interregional migrationsof the population are closely connected with considerable territorialdifferences in the level and rate of economic development and reflect changesin the structure and distribution of economy. As a result of the reduction ofemployment in agriculture and the increase of those employed in industry,trade, finance, government, service, the urban population of the country iscontinuously growing, now it is 74 %. The proportion of rural population isonly 26 %. The principal reason today for population movement is the growth ofnew industries, especially in the West and South.

The population of50 largest American cities constitutes 37.8 million people (16.6 % of thecountry’s population). At the top of the list is the urban agglomeration of <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>New York</st1:place></st1:State> – thepopulation of which is 17.9 million. It is followed by <st1:City w:st=«on»>Los Angeles</st1:City> – 13 million, Chicago – 8.1 million, <st1:City w:st=«on»>San Francisco</st1:City> – 5.8 million, <st1:City w:st=«on»>Philadelphia</st1:City>– 5.8 million, <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Detroit</st1:place></st1:City>– 4.6 million, etc. As a whole, the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region></st1:place> has 182 cities with thepopulation of over 100 thousand people.

Today 95% of thepopulation of the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region></st1:place>are the people who were born here. The great majority of the Americans belongsto the Protestant and Catholic churches. As regards sex structure the ratio offemales and males is 51.4 to 48.6%. The expectation of life for a white man is71.3 and for a black man 65.4 years, for a white woman 78.3 and for a blackwoman 73.6 years. The <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>is one of the few countries in the world that has no “official” nationallanguage. English is the common language by use, but it is not the nationallanguage by law. About 30 million Americans speak a language other that Englishat home. This means, for example, that if you meet an American in <st1:State w:st=«on»>New Mexico</st1:State> who speaks Spanish as his first language, hecould be a recent immigrant, having arrived in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>USA</st1:country-region>only few years ago, or his grandparents could have arrived in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> a hundredyears ago. It could also be that his ancestors had been living in the areayears before the thirteen American colonies were established on the East Coast.A social foreign accent does not necessarily mean that an individual is (oreven was) a foreigner.


            Everyautumn more than 44 million young Americans walk through the doorways of about106 thousand elementary and secondary schools for the start of a new schoolyear. The young people fill classrooms after leaving the kindergartens andcontinue to study up to the 12th grade. (In the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>USA</st1:country-region> they use the term “grade” instead of thewords “class” or “form”, which are used in <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>or in our country). The children attend classes usually for five hours a day,and five days a week until the beginning of the following summer. Like in ourcountry they don’t attend classes on public holidays, or when they have theirvacation for Christmas or Easter.

            Inthe <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>there are two types of schools – public schools which are supported by thestate and where schooling is free-of-charge, and private schools, where thefamilies have to pay special attendance fees. These schools are usuallycontrolled by different churches or religious groups. In such schools religiousteachings are a part of the curriculum, which also includes the traditionalacademic subjects which are taught in public schools.

            Eachof the 50 states in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>USA</st1:place></st1:country-region>has his own laws regulating education. From state some laws are the same, inothers they are not. For example, all states require young people to attendschool, but the age limits are different. They may be from 7 to 16, or 6 to 18,etc. Thus, every child in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>America</st1:place></st1:country-region>is guaranteed up to 13 years of education. This is true, regardless of achild’s race, religion, sex, learning problems, whether he or she is physicallyhandicapped or not. About 85% of American schoolchildren attend public schools,and 15% private schools. Public schools are controlled by boards of educationof the state or the district where the school is situated. These boards areresponsible for the curriculum, the selection of the teachers and other aspectsof school life.

            Americanschoolchildren pass through two main stages of school education on their way toget a high school diploma. They attend the elementary school and then thesecondary school. Of the 44 million schoolchildren about 27 million attendelementary schools and 17 million secondary schools.

The elementary school may include 8 grades in someplaces, and 6 grades in other. Sometimes grades 4,5 and 6 make up what iscalled a “middle grade” school. Many Americans call the elementary school a“grammar school”.

Secondaryeducation may begin with grade 9 or with grade 7. It depends on the wayelementary education is organized in this or that state or district. Usually“secondary school” means grades 9-12. These grades are popularly called “highschool”, and the young people who attend these schools are called high schoolstudents. So you must not mix up with those young people, who study atuniversities or colleges. They are also called students.

            Inmany districts secondary education begins with grade <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«7. In» w:st=«on»>7. In</st1:metricconverter> these cases grades 7-9are called “junior high school”. And when grades 7-9 are included with the 10th,11th and 12th grades, all 6 are said to form a “seniorhigh school”.

            Thoughthere is no national curriculum in the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region> certain subject are taught inall the 12 grades across the country.

            Almostevery elementary school provides instruction in the subjects: mathematics,language (a subject that includes reading, grammar, composition andliterature); penmanship (the rules of writing); science; social studies (asubject that includes history, geography citizenship and economics); music;art; and physical education. In many elementary schools, courses in the use ofcomputers have been introduced. And in some cases they begin to study a foreignlanguage.

            Mostsecondary schools have the same number of required “basic” subjects: English,mathematics, science, social studies and physical education. But school boardsdiffer greatly from one district to another in the amount of class time theywant high school students to spend on these subjects. In some high schools, forexample, students must complete 3 years of mathematics before leaving school.

            Inthe <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>the usual requirements for high school graduation are about 18 “units” is equalto about 120 hours of classes in one subject (3 hours a week). Students whoplan to attend college need over 20 units.

            Highschool students are helped by school counselors in choosing the subjects, whichare called “electives”, because they are not necessary for everybody. A studentchooses the electives which he thinks will be necessary for him for his futurework or further education at the university or college. A student may take 1year of American history, and then a year of European history. The electivecourses differ from school to school. Some high schools specialize in 1 groupof subjects, for example, in business, engineering, trade. Another high schoolmay offer to study foreign languages, science, music. A student planning tobecome a doctor would want to attend a school where there are many electives inscience, health. Another student who plans to start to work after leavingschool will pay more attention to get practical knowledge and developpractical  skills.

            Thoughmuch is spent by the state for education, American schools face many problems.As the schools depend greatly on what they get from local authorities, theydiffer from one another in the quality of education. The private schools, wherethe parents have to pay special fees, are attended by children from richfamilies. Here education is very good. Thus, we see that not always youngpeople have equal chances to get good education. Schools in the poor districtsof many big cities do not give the required level of education.

            Oneof the problems of the American school today is connected with the “drop-out”of high school students. Unfortunately, many high school students leave or dropout of schools before graduation because of poor material conditions at home.They have to work to help their families. Many specialists in the field ofeducation consider that more attention must be paid to the quality of educationso that the school graduates should be better prepared for work and furthereducation.

            Schoolreform is a major issue in modern American life. The parents are oftendispleased with the low level of knowledge of public school leavers. ManyAmericans demand that a national curriculum for school should be worked out.President Clinton expressed his concern about the problems of Americaneducation, emphasizing that crime and violence are a result of the inefficiencyof many public schools.


            Thephysical features of the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region></st1:place>are also greatly diverse. The majestic Rocky Mountains stretch all the way from<st1:country-region w:st=«on»>Mexico</st1:country-region> to the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Arctic</st1:place>. They divide country into 2 parts – the East andthe West. The East is occupied by the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Appalachian Mountains</st1:place>, the Atlantic Plains. The West is under the powerfulCordillera Mountain System, and the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Rockies</st1:place>are part of this system. Close to the Pacific coast, lying between mountainranges, stretches the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>California</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Valley</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, a narrow strip oflowlands.

            Themountain ranges or the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>stretch longitudinally and afford no protection against the cold northerlywinds. This accounts for the country’s climate, which is notably colder thanthat of Western Europe or <st1:place w:st=«on»>North Africa</st1:place> in thesame latitudes.

            The <st1:place w:st=«on»>Appalachian Mountains</st1:place> run along the Atlantic coast of thecountry. Compared with the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Rockies</st1:place> in theWest, they are ancient, strongly destroyed mountains of no great height(2000m). Railroad lines run along the river valleys and over the low mountainpasses, thus connecting the Atlantic coast with the interior of the country.The eastern slopes of the Appalachians merge with the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which,expanding in the south, adjoins the Gulf Coastal Plain and the lowlands of the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Peninsula</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Florida</st1:PlaceName></st1:place>. The greatest width of theAppalachian belt in the south is nearly <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«320 kilometres» w:st=«on»>320 kilometres</st1:metricconverter>,and in the north – some <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«100 kilometres» w:st=«on»>100 kilometres</st1:metricconverter>.

            TheAppalachian Mountains consist mainly of the numerous mountain ranges which arenearly parallel with the Atlantic coastline and extend from near the Gulf ofMexico north into <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>Canada</st1:country-region></st1:place>.

            Nearlyall the Western part of the <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>US</st1:place></st1:country-region>is occupied by the Cordillera Mountain System. The <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Cordillera</st1:PlaceName><st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Mountains</st1:PlaceType> extend from <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>Mexico</st1:country-region> to <st1:country-region w:st=«on»>Canada</st1:country-region>and <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Alaska</st1:place></st1:State>.In the south they are drained by the Colorado River, in the north – by the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Columbia River</st1:place>. It is a region of high plateaus crossedby streams which flow through deep canyons.

            TheCordillera Mountain System includes a number of lofty ranges or chains andplateaus. The Rocky Mountains form the eastern chain of the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Cordilleras</st1:place>.They rank among the greatest of the world mountain ranges. They are high (over <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«4000 metres» w:st=«on»>4000 metres</st1:metricconverter>),sharp and rugged. As compared with the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Appalachians</st1:place>,they are young and their peaks are caped with snow. When the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Rocky Mountains</st1:place> were formed (over 100 million years ago) the molten rockwhich was forced up carried with it gold, copper, lead, silver and othermetals, so they are very rich in minerals.

            Anothersubdivision of the Cordilleras is the Sierra Nevada – <st1:place w:st=«on»>Cascade Range</st1:place>, which extends from the Canadian border to the Mexicanboundary. It forms an almost unbroken mountain wall between inland US and thePacific coast land. The only east route from the interior to the coast is atthe point where the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Columbia River</st1:place> cutsthrough the mountains in a wide pass. There are great forests in the Cascadesand large gold deposits in the Sierra Nevadas.

            ThePacific slope of the <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Cordillera</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Mountains</st1:PlaceType> includes the Pacific valleys and the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Coast Ranges</st1:place>. These ranges form two parallel mountainsystems stretching along the Pacific coast. The <st1:place w:st=«on»>Coast Ranges</st1:place> are known also as the Maritime Cordilleras.

            Theeastern and western chains of the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Cordilleras</st1:place>enclose the Great North American Plateau. The climate here is markedlycontinental and dry, vegetation – of the desert and semi-desert types. Thecentral part of the Great North-American Plateau – the Great Basin – is asemi-desert area with the only large sheet of water – the <st1:place w:st=«on»>Great Salt Lake</st1:place>. In the region between <st1:City w:st=«on»>Salt Lake City</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st=«on»>Utah</st1:State>, and <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:City w:st=«on»>Reno</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st=«on»>Nevada</st1:State></st1:place>,there is nothing but dead lakes, dry rivers, snakes and small animal life,enormous mineral wealth, and the inhuman beauty of the desert. The climate isso dry and hot that even fairly large rivers from the mountains evaporate sorapidly that they die before reaching the end of the desert. The sun shinesnine-tenths of the year, and the temperature goes up to about 50 degreescentigrade in the shade. But occasionally it rains, even here.

            Closeto the western edge of the Sierra Nevadas, in <st1:State w:st=«on»>California</st1:State>, there is a particularly lonely stretch ofdesert named <st1:place w:st=«on»>Death Valley</st1:place> by pioneers whotried to cross it in their rush to the goldfields. For <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«225 kilometres» w:st=«on»>225 kilometres</st1:metricconverter>hardly a bush can be seen in this ancient lakebed <st1:metricconverter ProductID=«85 metres» w:st=«on»>85 metres</st1:metricconverter>below sea level – the bottom of the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:country-region w:st=«on»>US</st1:country-region></st1:place>.

            Buteven in the vast, silent desert there are rich and prosperous towns which werebuilt where men found sufficient water. The <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:State w:st=«on»>Colorado</st1:State></st1:place>, the Gila and other smaller rivers havemade the desert bloom along their shores. Centuries ago, American Indians usedthese western rivers to irrigate their fields. Ruins of their old canals arestill found throughout the desert. Observing these canals, early settlersreasoned that bringing water to this land would be easy. They had seen that themountains held plenty of snow and rain, and that the mountain rivers could beput to work.

            Thewater that is brought down the mountains is stored in two natural lakes – <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Utah</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Lake</st1:PlaceType>and <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Bear</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> – and six man-made storagefacilities. These facilities account for about 75 % of the total water in thestate. More than 100 towns and countless gardens now flourish in this regionwhich had once been considered worthless.

            After1848, when gold was found in the river beds of <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>California</st1:place></st1:State>, great numbers of people crossedthe mountains over trails discovered by the hunters. Today, eight railroads anda dozen highways go winding over the mountains, following routes made by thesesettlers.

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