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Practise the dialogue and then make up your own dialogues, discussing the British and American national holidays and traditions. Compare them with the Russian ones.

Mike: Hi, John! Are you going somewhere on these winter holidays?

Gohn: Hi, Mike! Yes, I’m going to visit my aunt. She lives in Chicago.

Mike: Really? You are lucky. You’ll surely have a lot of fun there.

Gohn: Yeah, we’ll have a good time with my cousins on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Mike: I wonder (интересно), do Americans celebrate these holidays the same way as we do?

Gohn: Not exactly. For example, New Year’s Day is not widely celebrated in the USA. Some people ignore it and may go to bed as usual.

Mike: Don’t they give any presents to each other?

Gohn: They do it on Christmas. This holiday is more popular in the USA than New Year’s Day.

Mike: Is it celebrated on January 7?

Gohn: No, it is celebrated on the 25th of December. In most families they put up a Christmas tree the day before and decorate it. Then the whole family makes the Christmas pudding.

Mike: How interesting! Do Americans visit churches on Christmas?

John: Some people do, as it is a religious holiday.

Supplementary reading:Great Personalities

• Writers

William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare, the greatest English writer, and probably the greatest playwright who has ever lived, was born on the 23d of April, 1564, in Stratford-on-Avon.

In spite of his fame we know very little about his life. At the age of 6 he was sent to school, but had to leave it at the age of 13. His father, John Shake-
speare, was a glove-maker, and when he fell into debt, William had to help him in the trade.

At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway. Ann was 8 years older than her husband and the marriage wasn't a happy one.

When Shakespeare was 21, he went to London. Nobody can be sure about the first job of Shakespeare, but later he became an actor and a shareholder of a very successful acting company. Then the theatre was rebuilt into the Globe. Shakespeare's Globe was rather different from modern theatres. The plays were performed in the open air and the audience got wet if it rained. There was no scenery and the only lighting was the daylight. Women in those days weren't allowed to act in public and all the parts (even Juliet) were played by men.

Shakespeare wrote 37 plays: 10 tragedies (such as "Romeo and Juliet", "Hamlet", "King Lear", "Othello", "Macbeth"), 17 comedies (such as "As You Like It", "The Twelfth Night", "Much Ado About Nothing"), 10 historical plays (such as "Henry IV","Richard III"). He also left 7 books of poems.

Most of Shakespeare's plays were not published in his lifetime.

Shakespeare spent the last years of his life at Stratford, where he died on the same date as his birthday, the 23d of April, 1616. He was buried in the church of Stratford.



acting company – театральная труппа

audience [`o:diəns] – зрители

church – церковь

comedy – комедия

daylight – дневной свет

fame – слава

glove-maker – перчаточник

shareholder [`∫eə,həuldə] – один из владельцев, "дольщик"

in public – публично, на людях

in spite of – несмотря на

it's highly probable – весьма вероятно

lighting – освещение

marriage [`mærid3] – брак

playwright [`pleirait] – драматург

scenery – декорации

stage – сцена

successful [sək`sesful] – удачливый, имеющий успех

trade – ремесло

tragedy – трагедия

troop – труппа

to be buried [berid] – быть похороненным

to be sure [`∫uə] about smth. – быть уверенным насчёт чего-л.

to fall into debt – влезть в долги

to get wet – промокнуть

to hold (held) – держать

to perform – играть, исполнять художественное произведение



1. When and whеre was Shakespeare born?

2. What was his father?

3. When did he marry? What do you know about his wife?

4. In what way was Shakespeare's Globe different from modern theatres?

5. How many plays did Shakespeare write? Have you read any of his plays?

6. When and where did Shakespeare die?


Fedor Dostoevsky


The Russian writer Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881) is regarded as one of the world's great novelists. Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born on November 11, 1821, in a Moscow hospital where his father was a physician. At the age of 13 Fedor was sent to a Moscow boarding school, and then to a military engineering school in St. Petersburg. After graduating he resigned his commission in order to devote his time to writing. His works "The Crime and a Punishment", "The Idiot", "The Brothers Karamazov" and others are famous for their psychological depth.

In April 1849 a lot of people, among which was Dostoevsky, were imprisoned for their revolutionary ideas. Dostoevsky and several others were sentenced to be shot, but at the last minute their sentence was changed to four years of hard labour in a prison in Omsk, Siberia.

He read and reread the New Testament, the only book he had, and built a mystical creed, identifying Christ with the common people of Russia. He had great sympathy for the criminals. As a child Dostoevsky suffered from mild epilepsy, and it grew worse in prison.

After four years in prison, he was sent as a private to a military station in Siberia. There in 1857 he met and married a widow named Marie Isaeva.
In 1860 Dostoevsky was back in St. Petersburg. The next year he began to publish a literary journal that was soon suppressed. In 1862 he visited Western Europe and saw the difference between Russia and European countries. Dostoevsky had been separated from his wife but visited her in Moscow before her death in 1864. In 1867 he married his young stenographer, Anna Snitkina.

Dostoevsky died on February 9, 1881, in St. Petersburg.


boarding school – школа-интернат

commission – зд.: звание офицера

common people – обычные люди, народ

difference – разница, отличие

graduating [,drædju`eitiŋ] – выпуск, окончание учебного заведения

in order to – для того, чтобы

labour [`leibə] – труд, работа, чрезмерное усилие

literary journal [`d3ə:nəl] – литературный журнал

mild epilepsy [,maild `epilepsi] – лёгкая форма эпилепсии

military engineering [,end3iniəriŋ] school – военное инженерное училище

military station – военная база

mystical [`misticəl] creed – мистическое кредо, убеждение

novelist – писатель-романист

physician [fi`zi∫ən] – врач, медик; терапевт

psychological depth [,saikə`lod3ik(ə)l `depθ] – психологическая глубина

private – сущ.: рядовой

revolutionary [,revə`lu:∫nəri] ideas – революционные идеи

stenographer [sti`nogrəfə] – стенографист (стенографистка)

to be regarded as smth. – рассматриваться в качестве чего-л.

to resign – зд.: уходить в отставку, оставлять занимаемый пост, должность

to devote – посвящать

to be famous for smth. – быть знаменитым за что-л.

to be imprisoned for smth. – быть заключённым в тюрьму, лишённым свободы за что-л.

to sentence – зд.: выносить приговор, приговаривать, to be sentenced – быть приговорённым

to shoot – зд.: стрелять, расстреливать, to be shot – быть расстрелянным

to have sympathy [`simpəθi] for smb. / smth. – симпатизировать кому / чему-л.

to suffered from smth. – страдать от чего-л.

to grow worse – ухудшиться

to marry smb. – жениться на ком-л. (выйти замуж)

to publish – публиковать

to suppress – зд.: запрещать, изымать из продажи, be suppressed – быть запрещённым

to be separated from smb. – быть разлучённым с кем-л.

widow – вдова


1. When and where was Dostoevsky born?

2. Where did he study?

3. What was Dostoevsky imprisoned for?

4. What was his life after four years in prison?


• Artists

Michelangelo Buonarroti


Michelangelo Buonarroti was one of the most famous artists in history. He was a painter, a sculptor, an architect, and a poet. He created some of the world's most beautiful and most famous paintings and statues.

Michelangelo was born in 1475 in a small Italian town near Florence and died on February 18, 1564. At the age of 12, he was apprenticed to Domenico Ghirlandaio, a well-known Italian artist. He learned to draw by copying other artists' paintings. He soon became interested in sculpture too. At the age of 21, he went to Rome and began to create the works of art that made him famous all over the world.

Michelangelo's first great work was the Pieta for St Peter's Cathedral. This statue shows Jesus Christ in the arms of the Virgin Mary after his death on the cross.

Michelangelo then went to Florence, where he produced his famous statue of David. It is 18 feet high and carved from a solid piece of marble. The statue is so lifelike that it seems ready to move. We have a copy of this statue in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum.

At the age of 30 Michelangelo was called to Rome and worked there for the next 30 years. In 1508 he began painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. He spent more than two years lying on his back on a scaffold, painting the figures and Biblical scenes on half of the ceiling. After a long rest, he completed the second half in about a year. People consider the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to be one of the world's greatest and most amazing works of art.



all over the world – по всему миру

amazing [ə`meiziŋ] – изумительный, удивительный, ошеломляющий

architect [`a:kitekt] – архитектор

artist [`a:tist] – художник; артист, актёр

Biblical scenes [`si:nəz] – Библейские сцены

ceiling [`si:liŋ] – потолок, полог, навес

figure [`figə] – зд.: изображение, рисунок (человеческой фигуры)

painter – живописец, художник; маляр

poet – поэт

sculpter [`skΛlptə] – скульптор

sculpture [`skΛlpt∫ə] – скульптура

solid piece of marble – целый кусок мрамора

to create – зд.: создавать, творить

to be apprenticed to smb. – быть отданным кому-л. в ученики

to be carved from – быть вырезанным, высеченным из

to be lifelike – быть как живой, казаться живым

to complete – завершать, заканчивать, доводить до конца

to consider – зд.: полагать, считать

to draw (drew, drawn) – зд.: рисовать

to lie (lay, lain) – лежать

to move – двигаться

to seem – казаться

well-known – выдающийся, хорошо известный

work of art – произведение искусства


1. What was Michelangelo Buonarroti famous for?

2. When and where was he born?

3. What was the first great work of Michelangelo?

4. What work took him more than 2 years?

Isaac Levitan


Isaac Ilyich Levitan, the great Russian artist, became the first painter of the Russian scenery, who revealed all its beauty. He continued and developed the traditions of painters of the Russian realistic school – Savrasov, Polenov, Serov. Levitan found significant meaning and poetry in what would seem the most everyday subjects.

He is a very individual sort of painter. He deeply felt what he wished to express and his brush transferred these feelings to the canvas. It is interesting to note that a master of landscape, he never introduced figures into it.

For his life and painting he chose Plyoss – a small beautiful town on the Volga. His paintings "The Evening", "Golden Plyoss", reflect his love for nature. All his paintings are very emotional, lyrical and realistic.

In the closing years of his life Levitan made several journeys abroad to France, Italy and Germany where he painted a number of landscapes, although his best works of the period were devoted to Russia. He was only 40 when he died in 1900.

Levitan's influence on the painters of lyrical landscapes was great. His feelings for nature, his great love for his native land, his ability to reveal and depict the poetry of the Russian land have won his paintings the love and gratitude of people.



although [`o:lðəu] – хотя

brush – кисть

canvas – холст, полотно

closing years – последние годы (жизни)

countryside [`kΛntrisaid] – сельская местность

figure [`figə] – зд.: фигура, силуэт

gratitude – благодарность

individual sort of painter – художник, отличающийся своей индивидуальностью

indifferent – безразличный, равнодушный, холодный

landscape – пейзаж

loneliness [`ləunlines] – одиночество

lyrical [`lirikəl] – лирический

realistic – реалистический

remote – отдалённый

scenery ['sinəri] – пейзаж

significant [sig`nifikənt] – важный, значительный

to bring out – выявлять, обнаруживать

to develop – развивать, совершенствовать

to devote to – посвящать (кому-л., чему-л.)

to depict – изображать, рисовать

to express – выражать, отражать

to introduce – вводить, представлять, вносить

to influence – влиять

to reveal – открывать, обнаруживать

to reflect – отражать

to transfer – переносить

to win (won) – завоёвывать



1. What is Levitan famous for?

2. Levitan is a very individual sort of painter. Can you prove it?

3. What traditions did Levitan continue and develop?

4. What place did Levitan choose for his life and painting?

5. Did the Volga influence his art?

6. How old was Levitan when he died?

7. Why do so many people like his pictures?

8. Who is your favourite Russian painter?


• Composers



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the greatest composers ever born. Thousands of books have been written about Mozart, and yet he is one of the most mysterious figures in the world.

Mozart was born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria. He began playing the piano at the age of 4, and when he was 5 years old, he already composed serious music. Then the prodigy ripened into genius. The genius conquered Vienna and the world. Mozart's fame was great. But then he suddenly fell from favour. The Vienna aristocracy grew tired of him. He lost pupils and contracts, had to move from his comfortable house in the centre to a modest flat in the suburbs. The genius was forgotten.

Mozart died in 1791, when he was only 35 years old. There's a legend that Mozart was poisoned by his rival composer Antonio Salieri. There's no truth in this legend, though it inspired many great poets, writers and composers. But it has been proved that in the last months of his life Mozart really believed that he was pursued by a spirit, who appeared and ordered him to write a requiem. In a state of depression Mozart imagined that he was to write the requiem for himself.

His works include 41 symphonies, nearly 30 piano concertos, 19 operas, a vast quantity of band and other instrumental music, and volumes of church music (he wrote it mostly for financial reasons). His most famous operas are Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro.



achievement [ə`t∫i:vmənt] – достижение

aristocracy [,æris`tokrəsi] – аристократия

band music – оркестровая музыка

church music – церковная музыка

composer – композитор

fame – слава, известность

for financial reasons – по финансовым причинам

genius [`d3i:niəs] – гений

instrumental music – инструментальная музыка

in the suburbs [`sΛbə:bz] – на окраине города

in a state of depression – в состоянии депрессии

luckless – несчастливый, злополучный

modest – скромный

mysterious [mis`tiəriəs] figure – таинственный, загадочный человек

piano concerto – концерт для фортепьяно

prodigy [`prodid3i] – зд.: одарённый человек

requiem [`rekwiem] – реквием, заупокойная месса

serenade [,seri`neid] – серенада

symphony [`simfəni] – симфония

to believe – верить, полагать

to compose – сочинять музыку

to conquer [`koŋkə] – завоёвывать

to fall from favour – впасть в немилость

to pursue [pə`sju:] – преследовать, гнаться, to be pursued – быть преследуемым

to ripen [`raip(ə)n] – созревать, превращаться

vast quantity [`kwontiti] – огромное количество

volume – зд.: книга, том



1. When and where was Mozart born?

2. When did he begin playing the piano?

3. How old was he when he began composing serious music?

4. How did he spend the last years of his life?


Sergey Rachmaninov


Sergey Rachmaninov (1873 – 1943) was a very talented piano player and composer, who worked in the old romantic style. He graduated from the Moscow Conservatory as a pianist and composer one year earlier than his class, and even his first works, including his graduation work one act opera "Aleko" were very successful.

After studying at the conservatory, Sergey Rachmaninov embarked on a career in Russia as a composer, pianist and conductor. He obtained rapid and firm popularity.

His early works from the 1890s were influenced by P. Tchaikovsky – dramatic, passionately lyrical. Rachmaninov knew Tchaikovsky in his early age and admired his works.

After the October Revolution in 1918 he had to leave Russia at first for Europe, than for America. Soon he became a fixture in the music life of the United States. With the Philadelphia Orchestra he made phonograph records of his own works. The Soviet Government considered him an enemy of the Soviet people. He stopped composing after he left Russia, almost for the rest of his life. "I am a Russian composer", he said, "and the land of my birth has influenced my temperament and outlook". "The melody has gone, I can no longer compose. If it returns, then I shall write again".

His separation from his native land was wound that never healed; he suffered nostalgia to the end of his life. He did compose, and some of his works, such as "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini", were a dazzling success. But other works were much less interesting and more like recollections of his previous pieces.

He died in 1943 from cancer in New York State.


conductor [kən`dΛktə]– зд.: дирижёр

conservatory [kən`sə:vətri] – сущ. зд.: консерватория

dramatic – драматичный, волнующий, яркий

graduation work – итоговая научная работа (по окончании учебного заведения)

passionately lyrical [`pæ∫ən(ə)tli `lirikəl] – необыкновенно, неистово лирический

piano player – пианист

phonograph [`fəunəgra:f] records – граммофонные записи

previous [`pri:vjəs] – предыдущий

rapid and firm popularity – быстрая и стойкая популярность

recollections – мн.: мемуары

separation – разлучение, разделение

talented – талантливый

the Soviet Government – Советское правительство

to admire [əd`maiə] – восхищаться

to be infruenced by smth. – быть / находиться под влиянием чего-л.

to be wound that never healed – быть "незаживающей раной"

to be a dazzling success – иметь ослепительный успех

to become a fixture [`fikst∫ə] in smth. – стать неизменной частью чего-л.

to die of cancer [`kænsə] – умереть от рака

to embark on a career [kə `riə] – начинать карьеру

to obtain popularity – приобретать популярность

to return – вернуться

to suffered nostalgia [nos`tæld3iə] – страдать от ностальгии


1. Where did Rachmaninov get his musucal education?

2. What was his graduation work?

3. Whom were his first works influenced by?

4. What happened to Rachmaninov after his leaving Russia?

• Scientists

Albert Einstein


Albert Einstein is known all over the world as a brilliant theoretical physicist and the founder of the theory of relativity. He is perhaps the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Some of his ideas made possible the atomic bomb, as well as television and other inventions.

He was born in 1879 in a small German town. His family soon moved to Munich, where Albert went to school. Neither his parents, nor his school teachers thought much of his mental abilities. His uncle often joked: "Not everybody is born to become a professor".

In 1895 Albert failed the entrance examination to a technical college in Zurich. A year later, however, he managed to pass the exam and entered the college.

After graduating from the college, Einstein started to work at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. In 1905 he wrote a short article in a science magazine. This was his "Special Theory of Relativity", which gave the world the most famous equation relating mass and energy, the basis of atomic energy.

Later, he became a professor in several European universities and in 1914 moved to Berlin as a member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. After ten years of hard work he created his "General Theory of Relativity".

In 1921 Einstein received the Nobel Prize for Physics.

A Jew, and a pacifist, he was attacked by the Nazis, and when Hitler came to power in 1933 he decided to settle in the United States. In 1939 Albert Ein-
stein wrote a letter to President Roosevelt, outlining the military potential of nuclear energy and its danger. After the war he spoke out against nuclear weapons and repression.

Einstein died in 1955. The artificial element einsteinium has been named in his honour.



article – зд.: статья

artificial element – искусственный элемент

basis – основа, основание

einsteinium [,ain`stainiəm] – эйнштейний

equation [i`kwei3n] – уравнение

invention – изобретение

Jew [d3u:] – еврей

mass – масса

mental abilities – умственные способности

military potential – военный потенциал

Nazi [`na:tsi] – сущ.: нацист

nuclear weapons – ядерное оружие

pacifist – пацифист

prominent – видный, выдающийся

repression – репрессия

science magazine – научный журнал

technical college – технический колледж

theoretical physicist [θiə`reticəl `fizisist] – физик-теоретик

theory of relativity – теория относительности

to be named in smb’s honour – быть названным в чью-л. честь

to relate – связывать, устанавливать отношение

to come to power – прийти к власти

to settle – поселиться

to manage – зд.: суметь, справиться

to pass an exam – сдать экзамен

to attack – атаковать, to be attacked by smb. – быть атакованным кем-л.

to fail an entrance exam – провалить вступительный экзамен

to outline – обрисовать, наметить в общих чертах

to influence – оказывать влияние

to speak out against smth. – выступать против чего-л.


1. When and where was Einstein born?

2. Where did he work after graduating from the college?

3. When did he create his "Special Theory of Relativity"?

4. How long did it take him (сколько времени у него заняло) to form his "General Theory of Relativity"?

5. Why did Einstein leave Germany?

Andrei Sakharov

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, an outstanding physicist, was born on the 21st of May, 1921, into the family of teachers. He graduated from Moscow University in 1942. In 1947 he defended his thesis for the degree of Candidate of Science. In 1953 he defended his Doctorate thesis and was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences.

Sakharov is often called the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, but he became more known as a champion for human rights and freedom. For this work the Nobel Committee awarded him the Peace Prize in 1975. The Committee called him "the conscience of mankind". The Soviet authorities, however, did not allow him to go to Norway to receive the award.

In 1966 he took part in his first human rights demonstration, a one-minute silent protest in Pushkin Square. A year later, he wrote a letter to Communist Party leader Leonid Brezhnev defending imprisoned dissidents.

His international repute as a scientist kept him out of jail, but in 1980 when he protested against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, he was deprived of all his titles and orders and was exiled to the city of Gorky. In 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev invited Sakharov to return to Moscow. He was given back all his titles and orders.

Andrei Sakharov died in 1989. He is remembered by everybody as an outstanding humanist, who could teach and who foresaw the changes that take place now.



award [ə`wo:d] – присуждённая премия; присуждение премии, награды

authorities [o:`θoritis] – мн.: власти

consequence [`konsikwəns] – последствие

conscience [`kon∫əns] – совесть

degree of Candidate of Science – учёная степень кандидата наук

dissident – диссидент

Doctorate thesis [`dokt(ə)rət `θi:sis] – докторская диссертация

dogmatism – догматизм

graduate student – студент-старшекурсник

human rights – права человека

humanist – гуманист

intervention – насильственное вмешательство, интервенция

jail – тюрьма

mankind [`mænkaind] – человечество

nuclear weapons – ядерное оружие

order – зд.: орден

outstanding – выдающийся

physicist [`fizisist] – физик

public figure – общественный деятель

responsibility [ris,ponsi`biliti] – ответственность

repute [ri`pju:t] – репутация

silent [`sailənt] – молчаливый

title [taitl] – зд.: титул, звание

totally – полностью, совершенно

to allow – зд.: разрешать, позволять

to attack – зд.:нападать, критиковать

to award – награждать, присуждать

to defend – защищать, ограждать, отстаивать (права)

to defend thesis – защищать диссертацию

to deprive of smth. – лишать чего-л.

to elect – выбирать, избирать, to be elected – быть избранным

to exile [`eksail] – ссылать, изгонять, to be exiled – быть отправленным в ссылку

to foresee [fo:`si:] (foresaw [fo:`so:], foreseen) – предвидеть

to imprison – заключать в тюрьму

to inspire – вдохновлять, воодушевлять

to keep out of smth. – не допускать, не позволять чего-л.

to possess [pə`zes] – владеть, обладать


1. When was Andrei Sakharov born?

2. What were his parents?

3. What university did he graduate from? When?

4. What is Sakharov famous for as a scientist?

5. What was the reason of his exile?

6. When did he come back to Russia?

Section 2. Grammar Practice

The Article


Exercise 1.1. Fill in "a" or "an".

1. ___ judge 4. ___ astronaut 7. ___ doctor

2. ___ artist 5. ___ policeman 8. ___ teacher

3. ___ detective 6. ___ officer 9. ___ waiter

Exercise 1.2. Read the words and fill in the blanks with "a", "an" or "some".

1. ___ tea 6. ___ hour 11. ___ salt 16. ___ pepper

2. ___ elephant 7. ___ cup 12. ___ eye 17. ___ horse

3. ___ box 8. ___ egg 13. ___ uncle 18. ___ water

4. ___ house 9. ___ union 14. ___ blouse 19. ___ money

5. ___ onions 10. ___ plates 15. ___ farmer 20. ___ milk

Exercise 1.3. Fill in "a", "an" or "the" where necessary.

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