Great Britain

1. Read and memorize the following words and word-combinations:

parliamentary monarchy
total area
minority ,
isle ,
to separate
to surround
health resort
thinly ,
highland ,
to divide ,
military base
upper house
attractive scenery
unspoiled natural environment
maritime climate
to increase ,
plague ,
to recover ,
to expand ,
to prosper
to define
to come into being ,
to introduce proposals
to approve ,
to accept ()


2. Read the text and do the tasks that follow:

The official name of the state is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is designated as a parliamentary monarchy. The total land area is 244,000 sq. km or 94,500 square miles and the population is 58,200,000. The capital city is London. English is the official language, but there are many minority languages, notably those spoken by the various Asian communities in many British cities; Gaelic is spoken in the Highlands of Scotland, parts of Ireland and the Isle of Man. Welsh is the first official language in Western Wales.

The British Isles, which lie off the north-west coast of Europe, consist principally of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel islands. There are also many other small islands at the coast of Great Britain. The four main administrative components of the United Kingdom are England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands have a certain administrative autonomy.

Great Britain is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, north-west and south-west. It is separated from Europe by the North Sea and the English Channel. In the west, Great Britain is separated from Ireland by the Irish Sea.

Lying in temperate latitudes and surrounded by water, the British Isles have a mild, temperate, cool and humid climate, though in the highlands of Scotland it is much more severe. The chief rivers of Great Britain are the Severn, the Thames, the Wye and the Tyne in England, and the Tay, the Clyde and the Tweed in Scotland. The largest cities in Britain are London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland England is the largest. It occupies an area of 131,8 thousand sq. km and has the population of 46.1 m. people The mainland of England can physically be divided into Northern England, the Midlands, South-East England and South-West England.

Wales is a peninsula with a territory of 20,800 sq. km and a population of about 3 mln. It is a thinly populated region. The capital of Wales is Cardiff.

Scotland occupies an area of 78,8 thousand sq. km and has a population of 5.2 mln. people. Its territory can be divided into the industrialized Central Lowlands, the cradle of the Scottish nation, the Southern Uplands, famous for their attractive scenery and health resorts, and the Highlands with an unspoiled natural environment and strong historical traditions. The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh.

Northern Ireland occupies the north-east section of the island of Ireland. The territory of Northern Ireland is 5,462 sq. miles and it has a population of 1.5 mln. It has a typical maritime, oceanic climate and is an agrarian-industrial region. On the coast, the chief occupations are shipbuilding and fishing. The capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast.

Londons history begins about the year 43 A.D., when it was founded by the Romans as a military base. In the late 11th century London became the capital of England. Ever since the beginning of the 14th century, the reign of King Edward III, it has continued to increase in importance as a centre of commerce. In the 17th century the plague and the Great Fire of London almost ruined the city. However, it soon recovered and continued to expand and prosper.

The U.K is defined as a constitutional monarchy. The British Parliament is the oldest in the world and is known as the mother of parliaments. It came into being in the late 13th century and consists of two chambers the House of Commons, consisting of 635 elected Members of Parliament (MPs), and the House of Lords, a mainly hereditary upper house. The political party which gains a majority of members in the House of Commons in popular elections forms the government. In recent history, the government has been in the hands of one of the two major parties, Labour or Conservative. The party in government introduces proposals for new legislation (known as bills) to Parliament. If, after three readings, i.e. debates, a bill is approved by a majority of MPs, it then goes before the House of Lords. If the Lords accept the bill, it is placed before the Queen for the formal signature of approval and becomes an Act of Parliament (it becomes law). Otherwise, the bill returns to the Commons for further debate. However, if it is passed a second time by the House of Commons, the House of Lords may not veto it and the bill becomes law. Any MP may introduce a bill, including members of the opposition parties.

The traditional industries of coal-mining, metal working, engineering and textile manufacture, which were concentrated in the Midlands and Northern England are now in decline. Even the more modern branches of industry such as electronics face strong competition from abroad and service industries are gaining in importance. Great Britain has made major contributions to science, art, literature and world culture.


3. Answer the following questions:

1. What is the total area of Great Britain?

2. What parts does Great Britain consist of?

3. Where is the United Kingdom situated?

4. What is the state system in Britain?

5. Who is the head of the state in the U.K.?

6. What can you say about the monarchy in Great Britain?

7. What is the Supreme legislative authority in the U.K.?

8. Do you know anything from the history of the British Parliament?

9. What chambers is the British Parliament composed of?

10. Are seats in the Parliament hereditary or elected?

11. When does the bill return to the House of Commons for further debate?

12. What are the major political parties in Britain?

13. What is the climate of Great Britain?

14. What rivers of Great Britain do you know?

15. Is Wales a densely populated region?

16. Whom was London founded and when?

17. When did London become the capital of England?

18. What historical monuments and places of interest are there in London?

19. What are the traditional industries in the U.K.?

20. Has Great Britain made any contribution to science, art, literature and world culture?


4. Speaking about Great Britain:

Step 1.Choose a partner and ask each other questions about Great Britain introducing these questions with the following phrases:

Could you tell me ? Do you know ?

Do you happen to know ? Is it true that ?

Ive heard that Is it really true?

Id like to know if ?

Could you explain why / where / how / what ?

What is your opinion about ?

What do you think of ?

Do you agree with ?

I wonder if you take part in ?

Step 2. Prove that:

) The U.K. is defined as a constitutional monarchy.

b) The traditional industries are in decline in Britain.

c) The Queens power is symbolic.

d) The House of Commons is considered more important.

e) The country has a typical maritime climate.

Use the following words and phrases: I think that; Frankly speaking; Id like to call your attention to; This is my

point of view; Im sure that .


Step 3. Divide the text into logical parts and try to annotate each of them.

Step 4. Get ready to speak about:

a) The official name of the state.

b) The capital of the U.K.

c) The official language and minority languages.

d) The geographical location of Great Britain.

e) The major parts of the U.K.

f) The state system of Great Britain.

g) The political parties of the country.

h) The traditional industries of Britain.


Step 5. Fill in the gaps with the words given below.

/settlement, nearly, the capital, dependent, cattle and sheep, grain, have been built, was founded, business centre, stretches, rainfall, food supplies, businessmen and financiers, engaged, developed it into./


For centuries, the British Isles have been famous for their ___ ___ ___, because the temperature and ___ favour the growing of grass rather than of ___. Today less than seven percent of the population are ___ in farming and the islands are largely ___ on other countries for their ___ ___. London ___ ___ hundreds of years before our era. On the banks of the Thames there was a small ___ named Llin-din. The Romans named Llindin as Londinium and ___ ___ ___ a large and rich city. In 1055, Londinium became London, ___ ___of Great Britain. Since that time many beautiful buildings, palaces and bridges ___ ___ ___ there. London today ___ for nearly 30 miles from north to south and for ___ the same extension from east to west.

The heart of London is the City, its financial and ___ ___ . Few people live there but thousands of clerks, ___ ___ ___ rush to it every day.


  1. Agriculture in Great Britain
  2. Economy of Great Britain
  3. Education in Britain
  4. Education in Great Britain: Higher Education
  5. Education in Great Britain: Schools
  6. Hospitals in Great Britain
  7. Industry of Great Britain
  10. Popular Sports and Leisure Activities in Britain
  11. Read the texts about the British Queen for more information about Great Britain.

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