Материалы для подготовки к устному экзамену по английскому языку

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There are many outstanding people in our country. Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov is one of them.

He was born on the 21st of May in 1921. His parents were teachers. They paid a lot of attention to their son's education. He graduated from Moscow University in 1942. In 1947 he defended his thesis for the degree of Candidate of Science. Later in 1953 he defended his Doctorate Thesis and became the member of the Academy of Sciences.

A. D. Sakharov was a physicist and he took an active part in developing the hydrogen bomb. He understood that any atomic and nuclear weapons should be banned. He respected men and fought for human rights in our country. He worked a lot. In 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize.

The life of A. Sakharov was difficult. In 1980 he was deprived of all his titles and he had to leave Moscow for Gorky. He worked there too. He devoted his life to humankind. He was a humanist and he fought for justice, peace, human rights. M. S. Gorbachev helped him to return to Moscow.

A. Sakharov was given back all his titles. A. D. Sakharov died in 1989. He was the representative of our best men. He did a lot and he foresaw a lot. He was an outstanding scientist and a public figure.

Our country remembers his name.

YURI GAGARIN (1934-68)

Yuri Gagarin was the first cosmonaut in the world. Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin was born on the 9th of March, 1934. He was born in the village of Klushino in the Smolensk region.

Yura was an active, brave and curious boy. His father was jack of all trades and he helped his son when Yura made toy planes by hand. But the war began. Yuri Gagarin and his mother, father, brother and sister left their house and had to live in a dug-out.

After the war Gagarin's family moved to Gzhatsk, now it is Gagarin. It was named after the first cosmonaut.

In 1951 Gagarin graduated from a vocational school in Lyubertsy near Moscow.

Yuri Gagarin attended an aeroclub and began to fly when he was a student of a technical secondary school in Saratov.

In 1955 he entered a school for pilots. Then he became a pilot and joined the first group of cosmonauts.

In 1960 Gagarin began to prepare for the flight into space.

On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin flew into space and spent 108 minutes there. It was the first time in history that the Russian spaceship "Vostok" with the man on board was in space. After his flight he visited many countries and saw millions of people. Gagarin became a Hero of our country.

He died in 1968, but people always remember the first Russian cosmonaut.


Arthur Conan Doyle was a great writer-He was born in Scotland in the family of Irish. He was a doctor. In 1882 he moved from Scotland to England to set up a practice. His medical knowledge was a great help to him in his detective stories.

Conan Doyle was one of the first, who started the fashion of detective story. Today the fashion goes on with the stories of other writers.

Conan Doyle created his famous character, Sherlock Holmes, in 1885. Six years later, when Conan Doyle wrote some stories about this detective, the name of Sherlock Holmes became a name that everybody knew. Holmes first appeared in a book called "Study in Scarlet". "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" made him famous all over the world.

Conan Doyle became popular because of his love for people. He died in 1930.
13. Mass media

  • What is the role of mass media in the life of contemporary society?

  • The role of mass media in the life of the present society is difficult to overestimate. They have become a daily and essential necessity with contemporary men. Mass media report about various aspects of life, form and affect public opinion.

  • What is implied under the term «mass media»?

  • Mass media comprise press, radio, TV and the Internet. In this or that form mass media come into every home. To understand the meaning of mass media for the people it is necessary to consider their every aspect separately.

  • What do you know about the Internet?

  • The Internet was created in 1983. Since that time it has grown beyond its largely academic origin into an increasingly commercial and popular medium. The Internet connects many computer net works. It is based on a common addressing system and communications protocol called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). By the mid-1990s the Internet connected millions of computers throughout the world. Many commercial computer network and data services also provided at least indirect connection to the Internet. The World Wide Web, which enables simple and intuitive navigation of Internet sites through a graphical interface, expanded during the 1990s to become the most important component of the Internet.

  • What can you say about the press?

  • Newspaper are usually issued daily, weekly, or at other regular times. They provide news, views, features, and other information of public interest and often carry advertising

  • When did the first newspapers appear in England?

  • Newspapers appeared in many European countries in the 17th century. The first English printed news book averaging twenty-two pages was the «Weekly News». It appeared in Lon don in 1621. By the 1640s the news book had taken the form of a newspaper. The first periodical was the «London Gazelle», a bi weekly court paper. It started as the «Oxford Gazette» in 1665 when the King and the court moved to Oxford because of London plague.

  • What was the first English daily?

  • The first English daily was «The Daily Courant» (1702-35). It was in 1771 that Parliament allowed journalists the right to report its proceedings. The «Times» was founded by John Walter in 1785, and «The Observer» was founded in 1791.

  • What role do newspapers play today?

  • Newspapers come out to provide their readers with fresh news. Today people have a chance to have full information about political, economic and cultural events in their own country and abroad.

  • Are British newspapers homogeneous?

  • No, they are not. In Great Britain there are no official government newspapers. British newspapers are proud of their individual styles. They can be classified into quality and popular editions.

  • In what way do quality newspapers differ from the popular ones?

  • Quality newspapers are serious daily issues. They appeal mainly to the upper and middle classes. Popular, tabloid newspapers are smaller in size and contain many photographs. Unlike quality newspapers popular newspapers are not so serious and their stories tend to be sensational.

  • What quality newspapers can you name?

  • Quality newspapers are: «Financial Times», «The Times», «The Guardian», «The Daily Telegraph».

  • What information do quality newspapers contain?

  • «Financial Times» contains a comprehensive coverage of industry, commerce and public affairs. «The Times» is the most famous newspaper. It represents the views of the establishment and is well-known for its correspondence column. «The Guardian» gives a wide coverage of news events and reports on social issues, the arts, education. «The Daily Telegraph» contains reports on national and international news, gives a full covering of sports and other topics.

  • What are popular newspapers?

  • Popular newspapers are: «The Daily Express», «The Daily Mirror», «The Daily Mail», «The Daily Star», «The Sun». They have a national daily circulation and appeal mainly to the working and middle classes.

  • When did the first newspapers appear in America?

  • In the 17th century newspapers, magazines, almanacs were published in America. The oldest printing press in America was set up as early as 1639 at Cambridge, and its activity was never interrupted. The first newspaper in the United States came out in Boston in 1690. But it was suppressed by the colonial governor after one issue. The weekly «Boston News-letter» began publication in 1704. Independent newspaper publishing started with the «New- England Courant» in 1721. In 1776 on the eve of the Revolution Boston had five newspapers, and Philadelphia three. Freedom of the press was achieved the United States in 1791 by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

  • How can American newspapers be classified?

  • In the USA daily newspapers are of two kinds: quality and popular. «The Wall Street Journal» is a quality newspaper. It covers national and international news. «The Washington Post» contains full coverage of Congress.

  • Does a national press exist in the USA?

  • It is a very difficult question. On one hand it is possible to say that there is no national press in the US. because most daily papers are distributed locally. On the other hand one can say that there is a national US press. It is a very specific press as it comes from the sharing of news. I mean that some newspapers not only print, but collect and sell news, news features and photographs to other newspapers. For example, «The New York Times», «The Washington Post», the «Los Angeles Times» are the best news services of this kind.

  • What can you say about Russian newspapers?

  • Today Russia can be proud of the variety of newspapers circulating throughout the country. On the news stalls one can find newspapers of all kinds: national and local, official and private, quality and popular, newspapers issued for children, teenagers, people of different trends, for fans: sport-fans, car-fans, etc. Today there are a lot of local and professional newspapers in Russia.

  • Is it possible to classify Russian newspapers into quality and popular?

  • Now it is almost impossible to classify all the Russian news papers into two big groups: quality and popular. It is possible to name the newspapers and the bodies responsible for the issue of this or that newspaper to illustrate the variety of the modern Russian press. «Moscovsky Komsomolets» is a social and political newspaper of the Russian youth; «Arguments and Facts» is an in dependent newspaper; «Evening Moscow» is an independent people's newspaper; «The Red Star» is the newspaper of the Defence Ministry.

  • Are there a lot of magazines in Russia today?

  • As for the magazines, today they are numerous. They cover all topics and interests, from painting and architecture to tennis, from aviation and gardening to computers and literary criticism.

  • When did radio appear?

  • Radio appeared earlier then TV.

  • Did it take radio long to be a reality?

  • Radio first became a possibility when the English physicist Michael Faraday demonstrated that an electrical current could produce a magnetic field. In 1864 James Clerk Maxwell, a professor of experimental physics at Cambridge, proved mathematically that these electrical disturbances could be detected at considerable distances. Maxwell predicted that this electromagnetic energy could move outward in waves travelling at the speed of light. In 1888 Heinrich Hertz demonstrated that Maxwell's prediction was true for transmissions over short distances. In 1901 an Italian physicist named Guglielrno Marconi received wireless telegraphic messages sent from Cornwall to Newfoundland. It was hailed as a triumph, but few discerned its full meaning: the birth of a communications revolution. Rather, it was another welcome convenience. Radio underwent rapid improvement in the period before World War II.

  • Has radio lost its importance with the appearance of TV and the Internet?

  • Radio has not lost its importance with the appearances of TV and the Internet. Today there are a lot of radio stations of many different types and so much variety. Talk shows and music programmes with disc jockeys are very popular.

  • When was TV invented?

  • TV experiments to create a workable television system began in the late 19th century by Paul Nipkow, a German scientist. Today almost every family in the civilized world has a TV set. Television plays an important role in our society, not only as an entertainer and informant, but also because of the grip it has on many people. Television channels easily go into people's home taking in their time and life.

  • What British and American radio and TV networks do you know?

  • In the USA the National Public Radio network (NPR) is known for its quality news and discussion programmes. Another public radio network, American Public Radio (APR), with its commentary and entertainment programmes is very popular too. In the USA PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) with its 280 stations is the largest network. The cable networks such as CNN carries news and news stories, SPN covers all sports events, and MTV is famous for its music videos.

  • What do you know about the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)?

  • The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was established in 1936 by the government. It provides five radio stations. The BBC also runs thirty seven local radio stations, providing material of local importance. There are seventy independent local radio stations in Britain. They provide news, information, music, coverage of local events, sports commentaries and the like. External service of the BBC is a very important part of the BBC's work. The BBC World Service broadcasts in thirty five vernacular languages. The British have four main channels to choose, from: BBC-1 and BBC-2, ITV (Independent Television) and Channel Four. It is a well established fact that the high quality of British television is upheld by the BBC.


There are many kinds of newspapers in our country. It is possible to buy them almost everywhere. But we can't read all the newspapers. We know that it is necessary to read newspapers. Reading them we can learn a lot of interesting and useful things. I think that everyone must read newspapers every day. I read many newspapers and magazines.

Everyone has its favourite newspapers. I like "Vechernaya Moskva" best of all. This newspaper was published on the 6th of December, 1923 for the first time. It usually has 8 pages. You can read some news on the 1st page. You can't know a lot about these events, you read only some facts, which are usually short, but interesting. If you turn the second page, you can read about our life. You can read about events abroad and about your favourite artists and singers, too. You can see some advertisements on each page of the newspaper and use them. You can learn about the weather from the pages of this newspaper.

If you are fond of football, basket-ball or tennis, you read articles about sport events in our country and about our famous sportsmen. If you want to buy something you have to read the last page.

There are some humorous stories in this newspaper.


It is interesting to look through some magazines or read them. It is possible to subscribe to some of them or buy them. We usually subscribe to the magazine "At the wheel". As we have a car it is useful for us to read it. My mother Prefer to read the magazine "Liza". She says that it even helps her in some cases.

Television and radio

I think that they are very popular means of information. They are popular among young people in our country. We can know a lot of news watching TV or listening to the radio set. All members of our family watch TV very regularly. We like such programme as "My family". I prefer to discuss some problems with my parents after it. I have many favourite TV programmes but I haven't enough time to watch all of them.

14. Free time. Hobbies

Leisure time

  • What do you usually do in your leisure time?

  • Unfortunately, as I have not had much free time this year, I have done my best to spend it wisely. It is known, that people can do all kinds of things in their spare time. They go shopping, play football, collect records or stamps. Of course, some of the time activities, like visiting relatives or taking driving lessons, may not be fun. In big cities people spend their free time by going to the theatre, cinema, museums, art galleries, concert hall, fitness or disco clubs. When I have some free time I can choose any of them. But when the weather is fine, I like to go for a walk along the boulevards and streets of the city with my friends, enjoying its architecture.

  • A re you fond of collecting anything?

  • No, I am not. I have not enough time to collect anything. My friend collects coins. His collection is rather rich. Coins of different countries are gathered there. Moreover, he has a lot of books devoted to numismatics and albums picturing the coin collections of different museums.

  • What do you think about it?

  • Everyone has the right to collect various, even the most unusual things, if it gives sense to his or her life. People collect paintings, stamps, match boxes, bottles, cans, buttons, books, etc. I know that girls are fond of collecting dolls. Some of them do not give it up even when they are of age. In their spare time people can read books, listen to their favourite music, invite their friends to a cafe or a park, or watch TV. Watching TV is also a popular leisure activity. Sometimes it is pleasant to be entertained without leaving the apartment. But excessive TV watching deprives a person of his initiative. Very often TV addicts are governed by television.

  • Do you have the same problems?

  • No, I don't. We turn on our television to watch only selected programmes. In my leisure time I read books, go to the theatre or cinema.

  • Do you like to go to the theatre?

  • Yes, I do.

  • Do you often go to the theatre?

  • No, I do not. I do not often go to the theatre. If I have a chance, I prefer to go to the Bolshoi Theatre, Mali Theatre or Art Theatre. I like conventional rendering of the classical ballets, op eras and plays. The tradition of Russian realist theatre was exemplified in the work of Konstantin Stanislavsky of the Moscow Art Theatre. The leading theatre companies of ballet are the Bolshoi in Moscow and Mariinsky in St. Petersburg. Russian ballet had a formative role in Western dance through a number of figures, such as Sergey Diaghilev and Vaslav Nijinsky.

  • Do you like ballet?

  • Yes, I do. Once saw a ballet «Giselle». The performance with its beautiful music, designs and cast was perfect. My concentration and enjoyment were intense. I also saw some new ballets with music from «outerspace», with dancers resembling mysteriously lit sculptural images, and severely geometrical de signs, and I can not say that I delighted in them. I prefer classical performances.

  • What do you expect when you go to the theatre?

  • When I go to the theatre I expect more than just fun of it. I want to see some actors I've heard of or a new version of the classical play. Recently I've seen the theatrical adaptation of Oscar Wilde's «Picture of Dorian Gray». It is excellent. If you want a thought provoking evening at the theatre, that's the one you want to see. But most of all like to go to the cinema.

  • Is it your hobby?

  • Yes. It is one of my hobbies.

  • What kind of films do you like to see?

  • I delight in seeing all kinds of films: comedies, love-stories, thrillers, westerns, war films, and cartoons. I like films if they are exciting. I do not like horror films because of their frightening moments even if they are superbly made and the acting is marvellous.

  • What are your favourite films?

  • One time I liked films directed by James Cameron. When I was younger I saw his heavy-metal Sci-Fi «Terminator» and «Terminator 2» several times. The special effects were wonderful and important to the success of the films. I took pleasure in ferociously exciting «Aliens». I liked his «Titanic» too. «Titanic» was no mere disaster movie. It was an epic love story. Cameron's 'Romeo and Juliet' on a sinking ship became an international sensation.

  • What other films have impressed you?

  • I was really impressed by two movies - «Gladiator» and «Pearl Harbour». «Gladiator» is a very amazing movie. Well photographed and directed it is really the best movie of the past decade. It is really magnificent. The fight scenes were great, and the characters were well developed. The screenplay is excellent. It is a sweeping story of courage and revenge. Russell Crowe is fabulous as Maximus. His portrayal of the major character is superb. His leadership, confidence, skill and heart are persuasive. In the first minutes, I completely realized the utter devotion that Maximus secured from his men, and his Caesar. I am actually keen to see it again, just to catch those things I missed while trying to keep up with it all. I would love to see all those sweeping views of Rome and the wonderful statues through the city. As for «Pearl Harbour», unfortunately it tried to be a war movie and a love story at the same time, and whilst «Titanic» knew when to stop with the love story and focus on the tragedy, «Pearl Harbour» was not capable of achieving the same distinction. It does not mean that I did not enjoy «Pearl Harbour». I want to say that the movie had the potential to be so much more than it actually was.

  • Do you like to read books?

  • Yes, I do. I am fond of reading books.

  • What books do you like to read?

  • I am fond of science fiction.

  • When did this form of fiction develop?

  • This form of fiction developed in the 20th century. It deals with the impact of actual or imagined science upon society or individuals. This term is used to refer to any literary fantasy that includes a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.

  • What does such literature consist of?

  • It consists of an extrapolation of scientific facts and principles, or it incorporates absolutely contradictory facts and principles. In either case, likelihood based on science is a requisite.

  • Who were the precursors of the genre?

  • In the 18th century they were Voltaire with his «Micromegas», Jonathan Swift with «Gulliver's Travels». In the 19th century the precursors of the genre were Mary Shelley with her Gothic novel «Frankenstein», Robert Louis Stevenson's with his «Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde».

  • When did science fiction begin?

  • Science fiction began at the end of the 19th century with the scientific romances of Jules Verne, whose science was rather on the level of invention, as well as with the science-oriented novels of social criticism of H.G. Wells. They pioneered what may be properly termed science fiction.

  • When did science fiction emerge as a mode of serious fiction?

  • With the publication of stories and novels of such writers as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A. Heinlein, science fiction emerged as a mode of serious fiction. Such writers as Aldous Huxley, C.S. Lewis, and Kurt Vonnegut, who were not de voted exclusively to science fiction, also added much to it.

  • Whose works became paperback best-sellers during the postwar period?

  • The works of such science-fiction writers of notable merit in the postwar period as A.E. Van Vogt, J.G. Ballard, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin, Frederik Pohl, Octavia E. Butler, and Brian Aldiss became paperback best-sellers. These writers' approaches included predictions of future societies on the Earth, analyses of the consequences of interstellar travel, and imaginative explorations of forms of intelligent life and their societies in other worlds. Radio, television, and motion pictures have reinforced the popularity of the genre.

  • What were the aims of the science fiction writers?

  • Since the days of Wells's «Time Machine» and «Invisible Man», the aims of science fiction were didactic. The works of contemporary writers opposed the utopianism that Wells built on the potentialities of socialism and technology. Aldous Huxley's «Brave New World» showed how dangerous utopianism could be, since the desire for social stability might overlook techniques that would destroy the fundamental human right to make free choices. Toward the end of his life Huxley produced a cautious Utopian vision in «Island», but the dystopian horrors of his earlier novel and of his «Ape and Essence» remain more convincing. Orwell's «Nineteen Eighty-four» showed a world in which a tyrannic unity is imposed by a collective solipsism, and contradictions are liquidated through the constant revision of history that the controlling party decrees. Anthony Burgess' «Clockwork Orange» and «Wanting Seed» portray ghastly futures that extrapolate, respectively, philosophies of crime control and population control out of present-day tendencies that are only potentially dangerous.

  • Are there any science-fiction books without prophetic or warning intent?

  • The fantasist who fantasizes without prophetic or warning intent is rarer, but works such as Nabokov's «Ada», Tolkien's «Lord of the Rings» cycle, and «Christine Brooke-Rose's Out» rep resent legitimate and heartening stretching of the imagination, assurances that the novelist has the right to create secondary worlds, as well as characters, of his own.

  • Who created secondary worlds?

  • Only three masters became architects of a complete secondary world. The vast Middle Earth trilogy «The Lord of the Rings», by J.R.R. Tolkien, was not written for children. It reworks many of the motives of traditional romance and fantasy. It is essentially a structure of sheer invention. Tolkien's fellow scholar, C.S. Lewis, created his own otherworld of Narnia. It is more clearly Christian- allegorical, more carefully adapted to the tastes of children. The seven volumes of the cycle are exciting. And the final scenes of «The Last Battle» are deeply moving. The third of these classic secondary worlds is in a sense not a creation of fantasy. The four volumes about the «Borrowers», with their brief pendant, «Poor Stainless», ask the reader to accept only a single impossibility, that in a quiet country house, under the grandfather clock, live the tiny Clock family: Pod, Homily, and their daughter Arrietty. All that follows from this premise is logical, precisely pictured, and carries absolute conviction. Many critics believe that this miniature world so lovingly, so patiently fashioned by Mary Norton will last as long as those located at the bottom of the rabbit hole and through the looking glass.

  • Is it difficult for a person to have a hobby?

  • No, I don't think so. I can say that there are a lot of ways of spending one's free time. I always have a lot to do in my leisure time. It is great to have some free time and do what is really pleasant.

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