Lesson One Passage 1 American Music One of America's most important exports is her modern music. American music is played all over the world. It is enjoyed by people of all ages in every country. Although the lyrics are in English, people who don't speak English can enjoy it too. The reasons for its popularity are its fast pace and rhythmic beat. Music has many origins in the United States. Country music, coming from the rural areas in the southern United States, is one source. Count music features simple themes and melodies describing day-to-day situations and the feelings of country people. Many people appreciate this music because of the emotions expressed by country music songs. A second origin of American pop music is the blues. It depicts mostly sad feeling reflecting the difficult lives of American blacks. It is usually played and sung by black musicians, but it is popular with all Americans. Rock music is a newer form of music. This music style, featuring fast and repetitious rhythms, was influenced by the blues and country music. It was first known as rock-and-roll in the 1950s. Since then, there have been many forms of rock music: hard rock, soft rock and others. Many performers of rock music are young musicians. American pop music is marketed to a demanding audience. Now pop songs are heard on the radio several times a day. Some songs have become popular all over the world. People hear these songs sung in their original English or sometimes translated into other languages. The words may differ but the enjoyment of the music is universal. Passage 2 Music in Different Cultures In western culture, music is regarded as good by birth, and sounds that are welcome are said to be "music to the ears". In some other cultures, for example, the lslamic culture, it is of little value, associated with sin and evil, In the West and in the high cultures of Asia, it is said that there are three types of music. First classical music, composed and performed by trained professionals originally under the support of courts and religious establishments; second, folk music, shared by the population at large and passed on orally; and third, popular music, performed by professionals, spread through radio, television, records, film, and print, and consumed by the mass public. Music is a major component in religious services, theater, and entertainment of all sorts. The most universal use of music is as a part of religious rituals. In some tribal societies, music appears to serve as a special form of communication with supernatural beings, and its prominent use in modern Christian and Jewish services may be the leftover of just such an original purpose. Another less obvious function of music is social adherence. For most social groups, music can serve as a powerful symbol. Members of most societies share keen feelings as to what kind of music they "belong to": Indeed, some minorities including, in the U.S.A., black Americans and Euro-American groups use music as a major symbol of group identity. Music also symbolizes military, patriotic and funerary moods and events. In a more general sense, music may express fifes central social values of a society. In western culture, the interrelationship of conductor and orchestra symbolizes the need for strong cooperation among various kinds of specialists in a modern industrial society. Passage 3 Music comes in many forms; many countries have a style of their own. Poland has its folk music. Hungary has its czardas. Argentina is famous for the tango. The U.S. is known for just a type of music that has gained worldwide popularity. Jazz is American's contribution to popular music. While classical music follows formal European tradition, jazz is a rather free form. It is full of energy, expressing the moods, interests, and emotions of the people. In the 1920s jazz sounded like America. And so it does today. The origins of jazz are as interesting as the music itself. Jazz was invented by black Americans, who were brought to the southern states as slaves. They were sold to farm owners and forced to work long hours in the cotton and tobacco fields. The work was hard and life was short, When a slaver died his friends and relatives would gather and carry the body to have a ceremony before they buried him. There was always a band with them. On the way to the ceremony, the band played slow solemn music suitable for the situation. But on the way home, the mood changed. Spirits lifted. Everyone was happy. Death had removed one of their members, but the living were glad to be alive. The band played happy music. This music made everyone want to dance. This was an early form of jazz. Music has always been important to African-Americans. The people, who were unwillingly brought to America from West Africa, had a rich musical tradition. In the fields, they made up work songs. Singing made the hard work go faster. And when they accepted Christianity, these songs became lovely spirituals, which have become an everlasting part of American music. 1
Lesson Two Passage 1 Holidays in Britain and the Us People in the US get a two-week paled vacation from their job every year. Most British people have four or five weeks paid holiday a year. Americans often complain that two weeks are not enough, especially when they hear about the longer holidays that Europeans enjoy. In addition, there are eight days in each European country, which are public holidays (the British call them Bank Holidays) and many of these fall on a Monday, giving people along weekend. What do people do in Britain and the US when they are on holidays? In the US, outdoor vacations are popular, for example, at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or other national parks and forests. Young people may go walking or camping in the mountains. Many people have small trailers in which to travel, or if they have a car, they may stay at motets on the journey, Disneyland and Disneyworld are also popular. In addition, people can go skiing in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Some children go to summer camp for a holiday during the summer vacation from school, where they do special activities, such as sports or crafts. When Americans want a holiday for fun in the sun, they usually go to Florida, Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean. They may go to Europe for culture, for example, to see art, plays, and places of historic interest. In Britain, many people like to go to the seaside for holidays. There are places near the sea, such as Black pool, Scarborough and Bournemouth, where there is plenty to do, even when it rains. People also like to go to the countryside, especially to walk, in places like Scotland, Wales and the Lake District. When the British go abroad they usually want to go somewhere warm. Spain and the Spanish islands of Majorea and Lbiza are popular, as are other places in southern Europe. For skiing, people often go to the Alps. Passage 2 Welcoming the New Year Every country in the world celebrates New '(ear but not everyone does it on the same day. The countries of North and South America and Europe welcome the New Year on January l, This practice’ began with the Romans. Julius Caesar, a Raman ruler, changed the date of the New Year from the first day of March to the first day of January. In the Middle East, New Year is on the day when spring begins. People in China celebrate it on the Spring Festival, which is the first day of their lunar calendar. The Spring Festival usually comes between January 21 and February
  19. Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year, comes at the end of summer. In all of these cultures, there is a tradition of making noise. People made noise in ancient times to drive away the evil spirits from home. Today many people do it with fireworks. In Japan, people go from house to house making noise with drums and bamboo sticks. Young people in Denmark throw broken pieces of jars or pots against the sides of friends' houses. In the United States, many people stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve to watch the clock pass from one year to the next. Friends often gather together at a party on New Year's Eve, and when the New Year comes, all ring bells, blow horns, blow whistles, and kiss each other. In many European countries, families start the new year by first attending church service, which is followed by paying calls to friends and relatives. Italian boys and girls receive gifts of money on New Year's Day. New Year's Day is more joyful than Christmas in France and Scotland. In these countries Christmas is a religious holiday only, while the New Year is the time for gift-giving, parties, and visits. Passage 3 The Spring Festival The Spring Festival is the most important festival for the Chinese. It comes on the first day of the first month according to Chinese lunar calendar. It marks the beginning of a new year. It is also an occasion for family reunion. Family members and relatives get together to say goodbye to the old year and greet the new one. Guonian means "passing the year. People start preparing for it half a month before it comes. They clean their houses thoroughly, decorate them and even paint them; they buy new clothes for children, and they prepare food for the big feast on the eve of the festival. On the eve of the festival, the whole extended family comes together for a big dinner. Dumplings are a must for this festival dinner in northern China, while for southerners niangao - a sticky sweet rice pudding - is the traditional food for this occasion. People stay up until midnight chatting, playing mahjong or watching TV. At the turn of the old and the New Year, people used to let off firecrackers to greet the arrival of the New Year, In the old days people believed setting off firecrackers could drive away the evil spirits. But now, people make phone calls or send messages on mobile phones to exchange New Year's greetings. Early in the morning, children greet their parents and are given Hongbao - cash tucked inside red envelopes. The Lantern Festival, on the 15th of the first month according to the lunar calendar, is considered the formal end of the Spring Festival. It is an occasion of lantern displays and folk dances everywhere. One typical food is Yuanxiao - dumplings made of sweet rice rolled into balls with all sorts of filling. The Spring Festival is a national holiday. For most people, it lasts seven days. In the past, people stayed with their families at home. Few traveled during the holiday. Nowadays things have changed. Lesson Three 2
Passage 1 World Trade Organization Established on January l, 1995, World Trade Organization is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). It exists to promote a free-market international trade system. The WTO promotes trade by:
  1. reducing tariffs;
  2. prohibiting import or export bans or quotas;
  3. eliminating discrimination against foreign products and services;
  4. eliminating other impediments to trade, commonly called "non-tariff trade barriers". The WTO currently has 134 member countries, accounting for over 90% of world trade. Over 30 0thers are negotiating membership. The WTO's top level decision-making body is the ministerial conference which meets at least once ever3r two years, Over three-quarters of WTO members are developing countries. Special provisions for these members are included in the WTO agreements. GATT is now the WTO's principal rule book. Decisions are made by the entire membership by consensus or majority vote. The WTO's agreements have been ratified in all members' parliaments. If a trade barrier is found to be unfair, the WTO can authorize the imposition of trade sanctions to force a change in that country's law. The WTO exempts trade barriers which are designed to conserve natural resources or protect health. Critics say the WTO agreements are skewed in favor of rich countries. The West may preach trade liberalization, but it has used negotiations to prize third world markets while keeping its own barriers intact. Passage 2 President Jiang Zemin said on November 16, 2000 that in the development of a “New Economy”, it is essential to take advantage of the latest developments in science and technology. He made this address at the eighth informal meeting of leaders of the APEC forum. He explained that the "New Economy" refers to the kind of economy initiated and sustained by new technologies and hi-tech industries. "The advancement of technology, led by IT and bio-technology industries, is giving rise to a new industrial revolution", Jiang said. Developing countries are faced with the difficult tasks of both transforming their traditional industries and developing new industries, Jiang noted, adding that the continued expansion of the "digital dude" has widened the wealth gap between North and South and may trigger new imbalances in the world economy. "Against the background of accelerated economic globalization and the dynamic progress of science and technology, we must facilitate cooperation between developed and developing countries on exchanges of human resources, technology and infrastructure, and we must help countries develop independently to narrow the North-South gap." "Today, the development, application and impact of science and technology far transcend national boundaries. For example, every major breakthrough made in the human genome projects a crystallization of cooperation between scientists from a number of countries.
 

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