Traditional British values

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Gapped sentences

1. Checks and balances guard against undue concentrations of power and make certain that all the interests are properly taken into ..........

Plato gave an .......... of how aristocratic government declines.

These are the funds in the process of being transferred from one customer's .......... to another.

2. The party's failure hit her pretty hard and while she was .......... to comfort her husband, it was he that ended up comforting her.

The views of people like Ashley were .......... very clearly by their own class experiences.

This ballot is about the right of our members to have their pay .......... by free collective bargaining and not by government diktat.

3. When we draw a picture of a planet's orbit we show the Sun, of course, and a single line around it in the .......... of an ellipse.

A few seconds later she disappeared: as the cloud changed .......... and then vanished

With the team still taking new .........., Arsenal reached the Cup final for the first time in 1927

4. True, there is a hard .......... of youngsters who are totally beyond the control of their parents or the social services

At the .......... of this debate is the threat of reductions in public funding at a time when cutting the government's colossal budget deficit is a national priority.

Yes, quality training will be needed which addresses the .......... values and the health and safety perceptions that are the key to our success.

5. The slowly evolving British family leaves a more discernible impact on women's employment than the possible .......... influence of women's earning opportunities on family formation.

Often the paintings appear to be signed on the .......... and occasionally a date is inscribed there also.

The Gulf war can be viewed as an attempt to .......... the irreversible.

6. If the Government were serious about this matter, would they not .......... some of the obstacles that now stand in the way of successful prosecutions of the Theft Act?

It is essential that engineers are in a position to demonstrate that they have carried out their professional responsibilities and have acted to .......... or reduce risks to acceptable levels.

Perhaps it may even spur them to have a rethink and .......... the threat of closure from many wonderful facilities up and down the country.
Key word transformations

  1. The present government has never promised to lower taxation. (time)

At __________ promised to lower taxation.

  1. William tried to remain impartial in the quarrel between his cousins. (sides)

William tried __________ in the quarrel between his cousins.

  1. I really enjoy reading, but sometimes I feel like doing something more active. (times)

Much __________ I prefer to do something more active.

  1. The president only made his formal announcement after the publication of the leaked information. (still)

Not until the leaked information __________ his formal announcement.

  1. Without your support, I would never have been able to find a new job. (still)

If it hadn’t __________ doing my old job.

  1. The villagers said they opposed the plans for the new shopping center. (disapproval)

The villagers __________ the plans for the new shopping centre.

  1. The prime Minister resigned because of his sudden illness. (resulted)

The Prime Minister __________his sudden illness.

  1. The news of the merger came as a complete surprise to the workers. (aback)

The workers __________ the news of the merger.

British Eccentricities Quiz

By J. B. Morris

All the situations below describe ways in which England is different from the rest of Europe.

A. English taps in bathrooms and kitchens are different from the ones used in Europe. In England they have two taps — a hot and cold tap on each side of the basin, instead of one tap with which you can mix the temperature of the water. Why?

  1. It is law: taps must be different because hot and cold water comes from different reservoirs. Hot water, because it is for washing only, is not treated with chemicals. You can only drink from the cold tap.

  2. Hot water is heated in a tank in the roof of the house. Cold water comes straight from a pipe under the street. The pressure of the water is different and so it's difficult to use a mixer tap.

  3. English people are used to very cold water (try swimming when you next visit the UK!). They don't need mixer taps!

B. In most countries, cars drive on the right side of the road. In England (and a few former colonies) they drive on the left-hand side of the road. Why?

  1. Because of Napoleon. Most countries drove on the left in the past because when passing someone it is easier to shake hands or draw a sword against an enemy. England was the only place Napoleon didn't invade, everywhere else he forced people to drive on the right.

  2. The government wants to protect the British car industry from foreign competitors. Driving on the left, makes foreign cars expensive - they have to change the position of the steering wheel. British cars are therefore cheaper.

  3. It is safer to drive on the left. Statistics prove that the brain can work better when the driver is changing gear with the left hand and looking to the right at the other traffic.

C. The English police do not carry guns. They are the only police force in the world not to be armed. Why?

  1. In the old English constitution there is a law that says the police can carry swords, but not guns. The constitution has never been updated.

  2. All British policemen and women are trained in judo, karate and other martial arts. They don't need guns as their arms and legs are deadly weapons and they wear bulletproof vests.

  3. The police don't need guns. Criminals don't have many guns, and it is difficult to buy guns, even illegally, in Britain. If the police started using guns, then criminals would also arm themselves and more people would die.

D. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), channels of British TV do not show any adverts — only programmes. Why?

  1. Everybody who owns a television set in the UK has to pay 110 pounds a year for a license. The money from this license is given to the BBC and so they don't need to raise money from adverts.

  2. Each programme is made by different companies like McDonalds or Pepsi. These companies are allowed to put their products in the programmes for people to see (a newsreader drinks Pepsi on the screen, an actor eats a hamburger). The companies then give the programmes to the BBC for free.

  3. The BBC is so successful. It sells its programmes to other countries and makes a big profit. It doesn't need to make money from adverts.

E. The United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) has two currencies. What are they, and why have two different forms of money!?

  1. You can use dollars in England — they are like a second currency in Britain.

  2. Scotland has its own currency: Scottish pounds. You can use them anywhere in the UK.

  3. The Euro is the second currency, it is accepted everywhere in the European Union.

F. Travelling by train between cities you can choose between two or three completely different prices (they can be one-hundred pounds in difference). Why?

  1. England has many different train routes; some of them go through mountains and are more beautiful. These routes cost more.

  2. There are first-class trains (faster with restaurants, shops, bars and more comfortable), and second-class trains with no facilities. They vary in price a lot.

  3. English trains have been privatised. Different companies compete with different trains on the same routes. You can choose which train company to travel with.

G. The French eat frogs and snails, but in England they eat toads. Why?

  1. Toads have more vitamins than frogs, and they love a rainy climate. There are many toad farms in England.

  2. 'Toad' just means sausage. 'Toad in the hole' is an English dish of sausages baked in dough.

  3. French cooking is the best in the world. English cooking is rather boring. Recently the English started eating toads to show off to the French.

H. On the fifth of November in many places in England there are fireworks and demonstrations with flaming torches and bonfires. People burn effigies of politicians and some other unpopular people. Why?

  1. To celebrate the day of independence from America.

  2. This is Fire Day, a prehistoric ritual. It is the only day on which English people are allowed to burn fires on the streets and have fireworks.

  3. To celebrate the saving of Parliament and the king from a plan to blow them up by rebels hundreds of years ago. Now it is just the excuse for a big party.

SPEAKING-6 Debate Club

See Annex of the MANUAL for Debate format:


Given below are the statements (points) made by the Affirmative Team in a debate. Think of a question you would ask the presenter in a cross-examination. Get ready with the points of the Negative Team and brainstorm for the rebuttals and closing statements.

Point 1

The UK's integration with Europe depends on having a similar legal foundation. Every other EU member has formal legal documents, such as the French Constitution or German Basic Law. The only other European nation without a written constitution is San Marino, and its government's operations are only a fraction of the UK's size. It is important to enshrine clarity in the legal code in order to engage in intra-EU economic, social, and political relations, because it creates a common conception of the foundation of a state's laws.

Point 2

A written constitution acts as a safeguard against extremists and politicians attempting to usurp power. In the unlikely event that a political party gained power and attempted to impose radical change upon the citizenry, specific constitutional limits on the power of government, and specific protection for rights vital to would provide a major obstacle. A constitution would deprive any potential extremist of the ability to achieve it within the confines of the law. So for example the German constitution allows the German Federal Constitutional Court to declare parties unconstitutional and dissolve them, this is in order to prevent the rise of extremists to power in the way Hitler managed it. It has twice declared parties unconstitutional; these were the Socialist Reich Party and the Communist Party of Germany both in 1951.

Point 3

A formal constitution provides the separation of powers necessary to keep each part of the government in check. Clearly delineated oversight powers in an independent judiciary would halt Parliament's attempts to overstep its mandate, and provide a mechanism to redress flagrant violations of ethics by MPs. Such a check on the power of the Parliament would be a welcome change from the status quo of a government who may act with little accountability short of an election. Similarly, explicit and independent powers for the House of Lords and the House of Commons would codify a role to hold each other accountable. This would be similar to the way that the United States constitution works with its famous separation of powers and checks and balances with the exception that the executive would still be within the legislature rather than completely separate.

READING-6 (British Imperial Ambitions)

Read the text paying attention to the italicized words and word combinations. See how you can explain them. Comment on the style of the article. Analyse the article following the instructions in the MANUAL.


December 3, 2009

From The Economist print edition

The many ways in which Britain is living in the shadow of its empire

In London conference centre, spooks and diplomats unpick Britain's involvement in the Iraq war. In Parliament, politicians argue about the right approach to home-grown Islamists. In the City, financiers worry about their exposure to a foreign-debt crisis. In the Caribbean, the queen glad-hands the Commonwealth's presidents and prime ministers. What these disparate events have in common is that they are all, to some degree, part of the legacy of empire.

When Britons remember their dead empire, they tend to concentrate, with pride or shame, on its impact on the former colonies. The consequences for their own country are mostly thought of as so much pompous bric-a-brac and nostalgic trivia: honours with imperial names, archaic ceremonies, statues of forgotten heroes, a smattering of exotic vocabulary, curry and distressingly proficient rival cricket teams. This way of thinking about empire is mistaken. In important ways Britain is still - even, perhaps, increasingly - trapped by its imperial past.

The historian Linda Colley sees such imperial longing behind Britain's devotion to the "special relationship". "Playing Boy Wonder to America's Batman", as she puts it, is British politicians' only chance of maintaining a global role—as if the American Revolution could somehow be cancelled and the two nations confront the world as one. On the other hand, a yen for independent greatness may lie behind the fear of emasculation by America that afflicts some Britons as well.

The sun never really sets

If empire is the backdrop of Britain's foreign entanglements, it is also implicated in the country's exposure to another great debacle, the financial crash. The City and the empire grew up symbiotically. Imperial trade and investment made London a world financial centre; the City became vital to the British economy, while at the same time, preoccupied as it was with foreign deals, largely separate from the rest of it. The empire thus bequeathed commercial habits, and an overmighty financial sector, which British taxpayers now have cause to regret. (Some historians trace Britain's trouble with real engineering, as well as the financial type, to the empire too, arguing that protected trade inside it coddled British industry and left it uncompetitive.)

The most obvious domestic legacy, of course, is in immigration. Because of worries about terrorism, much public policy and anxiety is currently focused on some Pakistani Britons. But empire helped to determine the attitudes and chances that awaited post-war immigrants to Britain as well as their origins.

Though notionally welcomed by a 1948 act, colonial caused alarm when they actually turned up, and from 1962 their entry rights were drastically curtailed. Instead of fraternity and fairness there was racism-sometimes overt, more often and insidiously the supercilious tolerance that the empire cultivated. Many immigrants were marooned at the bottom end of the labour market, some in doomed industries such as textiles, cut off from their families and latterly relegated in government priorities, as they saw it, to a place below new European migrants.

Much of this is the routine lot of immigrants everywhere, but with a cutting post-imperial edge. I n some cases the grievances have reverberated through the generations.

The fallout of empire may include the fraying of the union (because the lost colonial opportunities bound Scotland in). Beneath all this is the peculiar British combination of bragging and bewilderment, an air of expectations great but unmet and of unrealised specialness. It is hard to think of another country so keen to magnify its accomplishments (everything must be "the best in the world"), yet also to wallow in its failings; so deluded and yet so morbidly disappointed. Every recent prime minister has struggled to overcome this sense of thwartedness and decline, and to come up with a notion of Britishness to replace the defunct imperial version. Mr Blair tried "Cool Britannia". It flopped. The gloom may be almost as acute now as it was in the late 1950s or 1970s.

It is arrogant to suppose that where other powers-Germany say, or France-were traumatised by their losses, Britain could have lost an empire on which the sun never set, give or take a few tax havens, without side effects. It didn't: looked at in a certain light, much of its recent history - military, political and economic - can be seen as a kind of post-imperial malaise. The empire is the Indian elephant in the living room, the tiger under the dinner table. Britain is still living in its own shadow.

impact on the former colonies

to be trapped by its imperial past

imperial longing

devotion to the "special relationship"

to maintain a global role

foreign entanglements

to cultivate tolerance

the fallout of empire

post-imperial malaise

to be in decline

to be overshadowed by other relationships

to deploy “soft power”

to transcend the imperial past

to find a role
READING-7 (The role of the English language)
Read the two texts and answer the questions that follow



Dec 16th 2010

The Economist print edition

The English is the most successful language in the history of the world. It is spoken on every continent, is learnt as a second language by schoolchildren and is the vehicle of science, global business and popular culture. Many think it will spread without end. But scholars make a surprising prediction: the days of English as the world’s lingua-franca may be numbered.

English is expanding as a lingua-franca but not as a mother tongue. More than 1 billion people speak English worldwide but only about 330m of them as a first language, and this population is not spreading. The future of English is in the hands of countries outside the core Anglophone group. Will they always learn English?

In future two new factors—modern nationalism and technology—will check the spread of English. No confident modern nation would today make a foreign language official. Several of Britain’s ex-colonies once did so but only because English was a neutral language among competing native tongues. English has been rejected in other ex-colonies, such as Sri Lanka and Tanzania, where Anglophone elites gave way to Sinhala- and Swahili-speaking nationalists. In 1990 the Netherlands considered but rejected on nationalist grounds making English the sole language of university education.

English will fade as a lingua-franca but not because some other language will take its place. No pretender is pan-regional enough, and only Africa’s linguistic situation may be sufficiently fluid to have its future choices influenced by outsiders. Rather, English will have no successor because none will be needed. Technology will fill the need.

This argument relies on huge advances in computer translation and speech recognition. So far such software is a disappointment even after 50 years of intense research, and an explosion in the power of computers. But half a century, though aeons in computer time, is an instant in the sweep of language history. Scholars are surely right about the nationalist limits to the spread of English as a mother-tongue. If they are right about the technology too, future generations will come to see English as something like calligraphy or Latin: prestigious and traditional, but increasingly dispensable.



Feb 22nd 2001

The Economist print edition

IS ENGLISH becoming the European Union’s tongue? A survey of the linguistic skills of 16,000 of the Union’s citizens suggests that it is well on the way. Perhaps more surprisingly, it also suggests that more and more (non-British) Europeans accept the idea that all Europeans should learn English.

Over 40% of them claimed to “know” English as a foreign language. Add that to the almost 16% of the EU’s people who are native English-speakers, and already over half the EU claims to be able to converse in English.

The onward march of the English language is often assumed to raise hackles across Europe, particularly in France, but also in Germany and elsewhere. However, the survey suggests that the opposition may be exaggerated. Some 69% of respondents agreed with the proposition that “everyone should speak English”—including 66% of the French, which is only a shade less than the number in Britain.

Given that everyone else is learning English, it is perhaps unsurprising that the British are the worst at learning other European languages. Some 66% of them, judging by the survey, speak no foreign language at all, compared to the EU’s average of 47%. Luxembourgers are the best linguists: only 2.2% of them are monoglottal. The Dutch are pretty brilliant; over 80% of them speak English.

The rise of English may bolster some European federalists who have long battled against the idea that European political integration, as well as labour mobility within the single market, will be constrained by the lack of a common European language. But they should not be too confident. Even now, nearly half of all EU citizens still speak no language other than their own. And even bilingual countries can find themselves politically divided by language. For an example look no further than Belgium, whose capital, Brussels, serves as the EU’s headquarters. Belgian politics is bitterly divided between French and Dutch speakers—even though all schoolchildren, and certainly all politicians, are meant to speak both languages.

In teams brainstorm to answer the following questions:

What do you think about English as the world’s international language?

Is it more a positive or a negative trend for you?

What are the problems associated with English becoming lingua franca?

Present your ideas to the class

Ekaterina D. Prodayvoda Graduation Course

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