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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: the geographical position, climate and the political structure of the country
1. Answer the questions:
· What do you know about Great Britain? Point out some facts connected with the geographical position, climatic peculiarities and political structure of the country.
· "Other countries have a climate, in England we have weather." In what way do you understand such a joke of the British?
· Do you know any interesting facts about the members of the royal family?
2. Read and translate the text:
The full and official name of the country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is situated on the group of islands lying just off the mainland of the north-western Europe. The total area оf the country is over 244,000 square kilometres.
The British Isles include Great Britain proper, Ireland and a number of smaller islands. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales. The southern part of Ireland is the Republic of Eire. The population of the UK is 57 million people. The largest and the most populated part of the UK is England. Its population is over 47 million people and its capital is London. London is also a federal capital where the official residences of the government and royal family are located. Scotland is the most northern part of Great Britain. Its population is over 5 million people. The rest part of the population is spread over Wales and Northern Ireland.
Great Britain is separated from the continent by the English Channel, the narrowest part of which is called the Strait of Dover. The British Isles are surrounded by the shallow waters of the Irish Sea and the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Channel and the Atlantic Ocean.
The rivers of the region are short and of no great importance as waterways. The longest of them is the "Father of London", the Thames, which is a little over 200 miles. Britain's principal ports are London, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull and Glasgow. They have splendid harbours, for the coast line is very indented.
The warm currents in the Atlantic Ocean influence the climate of Great Britain. The south-western winds carry the warmth and moisture into Britain. The winters are not severely cold, while summers are rarely hot so the climate is rather mild, temperate and humid. The average range of temperature (from winter to summer) is from 15 to 23 degrees above zero. It seldom snows heavily in winter, the frost is rare. January and February are usually the coldest months, July and August the warmest. Still the wind may bring winter cold in spring or summer days. Sometimes it brings the whirlwinds or hurricanes.
British people say: "Other countries have a climate, in England we have weather." because the weather in Britain changes very quickly. One day may be fine and the next day may be wet. The Englishmen joke that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon or when in rains all day long.
The UK is a highly developed industrial country. It is the world largest producer of marine navigational equipment as the main industrial branch of the country is shipbuilding. The UK enterprises are also widely-known for textile, television and radio sets production.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a parliamentary republic. It means that the head of the state is a monarch but his powers are restricted by the elected government and the parliament. So that the monarch reigns but does not rule. For the last 50 years Queen Elizabeth II has been the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The parliament consists of two chambers: House of Lords and House of Commons. House of Lords includes those members who are given a privilege to be referred to as peers and consider being a nobility of the country. House of Commons is an elected legislative body consisting of members of the different political parties. The main function of the parliament is to issue the bills, laws and regulations. They are obligatory for every citizen of the UK.
The Prime-minister of the country is elected in a 4- year-cycle by the total elections. The political party taken the most part of votes becomes the ruling party and its leader becomes a Prime-minister of the country. The ruling party nowadays is the Liberal party. The Prime-minister is Gordon Brown.
3. Scan the text and answer these questions:
1/ What is the official name of Great Britain? 2/ What is the total area of the country? 3/ What is the population of the country? 4/ What is the official capital of the UK? 5/ Are there any large rivers in the UK? What are the largest and the most important ones? 6/ What is a climate of the country? Why do British often joke about it? 7/ What is the political structure of the UK? 8/ Who is the head of the state? 9/ What is the main function of the Parliament? 10/ What is the procedure of the Prime-minister elections?
4. Give English equivalents to the following words and expressions:
- состоять из..
- царствовать, но не управлять
- законодательный орган
- издавать законопроекты.
5. Make up the plan of the text and retell it according to the plan (not less then 100 words).