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Read the following text and then answer the questions:

Ralph is an attractive boy and a natural leader, the sort of intelligent, well-adjusted, athletic boy who easily might become the idol of his schoolmates. We meet him in the first chapter as he leads the way out of the jungle while Piggy lumbers after him. That he is fair-haired suggests that he is a child of fortune, one who is blessed by nature with grace, strength and luck. There is recklessness to his manner. He seems happy at the prospect of living on a deserted island, away from the influence of adults. The setting fosters dreams of heroic adventure in which he is the protagonist. He will overcome all the difficulties present in his surroundings, lead a joyously exciting jungle life, then optimistically await a glamorous rescue by his naval-officer father. Unfortunately, his dreams are frustrated when nature and his fellow youths refuse to cooperate with his romantic vision. And, as his dream becomes more difficult of attainment, he loses confidence and calmness and begins to indulge himself in escape fantasies and dreams of the past.

What qualities does Ralph have?

Why does he seem happy?

Why are his dreams frustrated?

What difficulties might someone encounter if she/he finds himself/herself alone on a desert island?


Read the following and then answer the questions:

English is commonly used as a medium for the communication of information and news. According to statistics, three quarters of all telex messages and telegrams are sent in English. Eighty percent of computer data are processed and stored in English. Much satellite communication is carried in English. Five thousand newspapers, more than half of the newspapers published in the world, are published in English. In many countries, television is broadcast in English. Because of the power of television, demonstrators in every country use signs printed in English for the benefit of the international press.

Popular culture has also played an important part in spreading English. American and British popular music are heard all over the world. American movies are seen in almost every country. Books in English are available even in countries where few people actually use English. One reason that students give for learning English is to understand these songs, movies and books.

What is the text about?

What do statistics say?

What role does popular culture play?

Why do you think English is so widely spread?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

Whatever its original foundations, as laid down by Germanic tribes, the language was altered and revised by repeated waves of invaders that crossed the Channel-the Jutes, Saxons, Angles, Vikings and Normans. Today, English is classified as a member of the Anglo-Frisian group within the western branch of Germanic languages, a subfamily of the Indo-European languages, but more than half its vocabulary is of Latin origin (e.g. altar, mass, priest, psalm, temple, kitchen, palm and pear), implanted for the most part either directly during the permanent Norman conquest, or indirectly by borrowings from modern French, Spanish and Portuguese (alligator, peccadillo and sombrero), Italian (cameo, stanza and violin). As a result of colonial expansion, notably in North America but also in other areas of the world, many new words entered the English language.

1. What is the text about?

2. Where is English classified as a language?

3. Name some of the languages from which English borrowed words.

4. Why do you think so many people all over the world speak English?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

As Prince of Wales, Edward III (reigned January-December 1936) had successfully carried out a number of regional visits (including areas hit by economic depression) and other official engagements. These visits and his official tours overseas, together with his good war record and genuine care for the underprivileged had made him popular.

The first monarch to be qualified pilot, Edward created The King's Flight (now known as 32 (The Royal) Squadron) in 1936 to provide air transport for the Royal family's official duties. In 1930, the Prince, who had already had a number of affairs, had met and fallen in love with a married American woman, Mrs. Wallis Simpson. Concern about Edward's private life grew in the Cabinet, opposition parties and the Dominions when Mrs. Simpson obtained a divorce in 1936 and it was clear that Edward was determined to marry her.

What made Edward III popular?

Who was Mrs. Wallis Simpson?

What was the reaction of the Cabinet when Mrs. Simpson obtained a divorce?

Do you know any famous king or queen of England?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

"Yes, of course, if it's fine tomorrow said Mrs. Ramsay. "But you'll have to be up with the lark", she added. To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy, as if it were settled the expedition were bound to take place, and the wonder to which he had looked forward, for years and years it seemed, was, after a night's darkness and a day's sail, within touch. Since he belonged, even at this age of six, to the great clan which cannot keep this feeling separate from that, but must let future prospects, with their joys and sorrows, cloud what is actually at hand, since to such people even in earliest childhood any turn in the wheel of sensation has the power to crystallise and transfix the moment upon which its gloom or radiance rests, James Ramsay, sitting on the floor, cutting out pictures from the illustrated catalogue of the Army and Navy Stores, endowed the picture of a refrigerator as his mother spoke with heavenly bliss. It was fringed with joy.

(Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse)

What is the text about?

What was James Ramsay doing?

Was his mother happy or sad? Give reason for your answer.

To whom did he belong, even at the age of six?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

'Mr. Martin bought the packet of cigarettes on Monday night in the most crowded store on Broadway. It was theatre time and seven or eight men were buying cigarettes. The clerk didn't even look at Mr. Martin, who put the packet in his coat pocket and went out. If any of the staff at F&S had seen him buy cigarettes, they would have been astonished, for it was generally known that Mr. Martin did not smoke, and never had. No one saw him. It was just a week exactly since Mr. Martin had decided to get rid of Mrs. Ulgine Borrows. He called it 'rubbing out' Mrs. Barrows. The words 'rub out' pleased him because they suggested nothing more than a correction of a mistake- in this case the mistake of Mr. Fitweiler. Mr. Martin had spent each night of the past week working out his plan and examining it. As he walked home now he went over again. For the hundredth he felt angry at the lack of exactness.'

(The Catbird Seat, by James Thurber)

Why would the staff at F&S have been astonished?

What did the words 'rubbing out' suggest?

Why did he feel angry?

Can you tell us a situation that made you angry? How did you handle it?


Read the following text and answer the questions:

"The fundamental question which must be addressed with respect to the death penalty is under what circumstances does the state have the right to take the life of one of the citizens? One hard lesson the world should have learned as a consequence of the Holocaust is that law and justice are independent concepts. Law is a derivation of the society's interpretation of justice which is related both to time and place. Furthermore, the creation of law is more frequently the result of interpretation of justice by the powerful in the society which is applied at the expense of the powerless. A moral and human society constantly seeks to bring the law into closer harmony with the widest interpretation of justice in the society at any given time. The civil rights movement in the U.S. is an excellent example of this process."

(The death penalty: Legal Cruelty? By Donald B. Walker)

What is the main idea in the text?

Can you describe the law and justice in the text?

What does any society constantly seek for?

What is your opinion about death penalty?


Read the text and answer the questions:

"I looked attentively at her, as she put that singular question to me. It was nearly one o'clock. All I could discern distinctly by the moonlight was a colorless, youthful face, eager and sharp to look at about the cheeks and chin; large, grave, wistfully attentive eyes, nervous, uncertain lips; and the light hair of a pale, brownish-yellow hue.

There was nothing wild, nothing immodest in her manner; [.]. This was all I could observe of her in the dim light and under the perplexingly strange circumstances of our meeting."

(The woman in white, by Wilkie Collins)

What does the character distinguish by the moonlight?

Can you describe the woman in the text?

Which is the dominant part of speech in the text? Why?

Have you ever met a mysterious person? What has drawn your attention?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

"While I stood in the dark, a hand touched mine, lank fingers came feeling over my face, and I was sensible of a peculiar unpleasant odor. I fancied I heard the breathing of a crowd of those dreadful little beings around me. I felt the box of matches in my hand being gently disengaged and other hands behind me plucking at my clothing. The sense of unseen creatures examining me was indescribably unpleasant. (.) I struck another light, and waved it in their dazzling faces. You can scarce imagine how nauseatingly inhuman they looked - those pale, chinless faces and great, lidless, pinkish-gray eyes! - as they stared in their blindness and bewilderment."

(H. G. Wells "The Time Machine")

What kind of smell did the character feel?

What did he feel in his hand?

What did the creatures look like?

If you had the possibility to travel in time, what moment would you choose to go?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

"I don't know exactly how people make other people unhappy. I just know they do. Did Daddy make Mummy unhappy? When she died on that terrible day, he kept saying to me for the first day or two 'You don't think it was my fault, do you darling? I hope to God you don't think that.' And I kept saying 'Of course, I don't Daddy,' for how could it had been his fault - no one else and not hers, certainly not her own. Instead, she would talk about 'my illness', 'my problem', 'this depression' as if it were some tiresome creatures that had been wished on her and had really nothing to do with her at all. There was nothing she could do about it. That's why we had to be so sorry for her."

What is the text about ?

Who is the narrator of the story ?

Does the girl believe that her father is guilty for her mother's death ?

What makes you happy ? But unhappy ?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

'The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'stereotype' as a 'conventional and usually oversimplified conception, opinion or belief'. Yet, the dictionary does not say how dangerous stereotyping is whether telling 'stupid blonde' jokes or assuming that overweight people are lazy and untidy, stereotyping is a form of prejudice. The media plays an important part in encouraging us to stereotype. We see skinny models all the time, so we think that anyone who weights more than 100 pounds is fat. Moreover, TV and movies often promote one dimensional character that silently sanctions stereotypes. Unfortunately, when stereotyping comes into real life it can easily turn into racism and have serious consequences.'

What is the text about?

What plays an important part in encouraging people to stereotype?

Why is stereotyping dangerous?

What is your opinion about stereotyping?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

Last summer we decided to stay at a camping site on an island in the south because all accommodation became more and more expensive. We would have sunbathing everyday, then we would take some sightseeing and at weekends we would have a travel around the island. One day, when we made an excursion to a ruined castle, the whether changed that we could hardly see a thing. We looked for a shelter in the ruins. Once our eyes got used to the darkness, we started exploring the place. It was quite scary but our curiosity was greater than our fear. Presently we reached a large hall whose ceiling had saved its original beauty. Huge spider webs hung from the walls and it was a big crack through one could see outside. All at once an usually lightning revealed a painting hid in a small niche. We couldn't believe what we saw: it bore the signature of a famous 16th century master.

What is the text about?

What did the characters do when a storm started?

What did they find in the ruins?

What kind of holidays would you prefer, full of activities or less active?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

'Faced with savage of this absolute power, the suffering people learned never to betray their anger and their hatred for fear of being crushed. They learned never to make themselves vulnerable by uttering any sort of threat since giving such a warning ensured a quick reprisal. They learned that society was their enemy and so when they sought redress for their wrongs they went to the rebel underground, the mafia.'

('The Godfather', by Mario Puzo)

What is the text about?

What did the suffering people learn?

Where did the people go when they considered that their society could not help?

How can we fight against the mafia and their actions?


Read the following text and then answer the following questions:

"The most important word in today's economy is globalization. It can be defined as the turning of the world into a single market where the appearance of new telecommunication techniques and transport has made fast circulation of goods and services. Markets have become more international than any time; competition between different economic operators has turned to be very keen. The global market is compelling firms to give more attention to the changing economic environment. They are restructuring themselves and they are changing their objectives. In general, companies are looking for success in international business. One of the many conditions to enhance positive achievement is the English language.

What is the text about?

What do the companies look for?

Which is one of the conditions to enhance positive achievement?

Why is English important for the people who work in multi-national companies?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

Ever since the first radio station was founded almost 80 years ago, the medium has been characterized by the local nature of its programming. While only a few television stations produce even 20% of their own programming, most radio production has tended to be produced locally and live. Radio, more than any other mass communication medium, speaks in the language and with the accent of its community. Its programming reflects local interests and the medium has made important contributions to both the heritage and the development of the cultures that surround it. We can identify three tendencies that are affecting the radio's local nature: globalization, concentration of ownership and control of the media, and new initiatives that seek to protect and expand the role of radio as a democratic and pluralist medium- as a citizens' medium.

What is the text about?

What do radio programs reflect?

Which are the tendencies that affect the radio's local nature?

Which means of communication do you think has the biggest impact upon people?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

I sat in on an English lesson at the Gamal Secondary school in Yemen. The Scottish instructor- one of the three Britons employed in the Yemeni school system- was drilling the class in the difference between the "present simple" and the "present continuous". There were 20 very thin, very eager boys aged between 14 and 22. They had been trained to compete continually against each other. The moment the instructor was half way through a question his voice was drowned by shouts of "Teacher! Teacher! " If a student began to stumble over an answer, the others fought to grab the question for themselves bellowing for the teacher's attention. I once taught in an English school for a term: had the children in my class ever shown a small fraction of the enthusiasm displayed by these Yemeni students, I might have stayed in the job a great deal longer.

What is the text about?

Were the Yemeni students advanced in the study of English?

Can you compare Yemeni and British students?

Are there aspects of the Romanian school system you don't like?


Read the following text and then answer the questions:

When at the age of 3 David Bolton began using a calculator, his parents foresaw that he would do well at school. They could not have anticipated that at the age of 16 he would divide his time between his school exams and selling his own programs to property firms, doctors and other professionals. "The business opportunities may never come if I don't seize them now and I also understand why my parents and my headmaster would prefer me to stay in school. However I cannot concentrate on my lessons if I need to meet clients."

What is the text about?

What has David had to choose between?

If you were in his shoes what choice would you make?

What are your plans for the future?


Read the text and answer the questions:

Watching children, particularly when they don't know you are doing so, is a particular pleasure. I once watched a child of about two-and-a-half trying to stamp on little waves breaking across a wide Cornish beach. She stretched her hands out in pleasure with every little stamp and her bathing pants fell lower and lower, till she jumped them off altogether, but didn't notice it, so intent was she on the important job of stamping on those waves. She sang to herself a sort of monotonous running commentary on what she was doing and the sound of it, mingled with soft sea noises, made a most pleasing music.

What is the text about ?

What is the author's attitude ?

What do you think the little girl is thinking ?

Have you had similar experiences ?


Read the text and answer the questions:

"Witnesses may pick out from an identification parade the person who most resembles their idea of what the criminal would look like", a group of psychologists from the British Psychological Society was told on Saturday. Mr. Bull, a senior lecturer, said research had shown that the public tended to link abnormal appearance with abnormalities of behavior. One apparently wildly held belief is the "what is beautiful is good" stereotype. An individual facial attractiveness has an effect on how threatening other people judge that person to be. I have found that the addition of one or two small scars to a face leads to that face being judged more dishonest.

What is the text about?

Do you agree with the idea of the text?

What do you understand by "to judge a book by its cover"?

Have you ever misjudged anyone on account of their looks?


Read the text and answer the questions:

"What a magnificent creature she is", he thought, as he frequently did. She was a big girl, tanned like a gypsy, and with a high colour. Her heavy, bright down hair had not yet been done up for the day; it hung down, over one shoulder in a thick braid. She was twenty-seven and still had, as on the day he married her, the look of a carefully bred and beautifully groomed animal kept permanently as the peak of its condition for some high use which has not yet arrived and possibly never arrive. Holman had seen it often on boys and girls of Emmy's class, thought seldom to such a degree or accompanied by so much beauty.

What is the text about?

What is the relationship between the man and the woman?

Briefly paraphrase the way he sees her.

Give a brief description of a person you know well.


Read the text and answer the questions:

Patients recover more quickly from surgery when tapes with hypnotic suggestions are played to them on the operation table, doctors at a London hospital have found while under anesthetic, they were told: "You will not feel sick. You will not have any pain." Those given such suggestions had fewer obligations than other after surgery and left the hospital sooner. The experiment was set up after doctors found patients could sometimes recall things said during operations.

1. What is the text about?

2. What is your opinion about the idea of the text?

3. Have you ever been hospitalized?

4. If offered the opportunity, would you take part in such an experiment?


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Although during the past 200 years many people in Europe and America have felt better after consulting a homeopath, orthodox doctors are scornful. According to them, homeopathic remedies only work because they are convinced that the remedies do not contain enough of the substance to have any effect. But the idea of taking the smallest possible amount, or minimum dose of the remedy is fundamental to homeopathy. The father of homeopathy was doctor Samuel Hahnemann who lived between 1755 and 1843.

1. What is the text about?

2. Who was the founder of homeopathy?

3. What do traditional doctors believe about homeopathy?

4. What is your opinion about alternative medicine?


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The great mathematician John von Neumann was one of the originators of games theory. He showed that all games fall into one of two classes: there are what he called "games of perfect information", games like chess which are meant to involve no element of concealment, bluff or luck-games where the players can, in principle, discover the best move by the application of pure logic to the available data. Then, there are "games of imperfect information", like poker, in which it is impossible to know in advance that one course is better than another.

What is the text about?

Do you like to gamble?

What are your favourite games?

Do you think games help people in any way?


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"Pigeons can recognize individual human faces and the expression on them, showing that they are far more intelligent than hitherto suspected" said Prof. Wasserman of the University of Iowa. We showed the birds black-and-white pictures of four people, each exhibiting four emotions-happiness, anger, surprise and disgust. After being rewarded with grains for each correct answer they all learned to identify the person and the emotion correctly. "The experiments show that pigeons are more intelligent than any animals except for dogs and primates." said Prof. Wasserman.

What is the text about?

Can you briefly summarize the experiment?

What other animals are known to be very intelligent?

Do you/ Would you like to have a pet? Develop.


Read the text and answer the questions:

We all make snap judgments about strangers. Within seconds after me meet someone, we take in a host of details and draw rather large conclusions from them. We may decide in an instant whether it is someone's nature to be warm and cold, friendly or hostile, anxious or calm, happy or troubled. Unconsciously we often ask and quickly answer certain questions: Will I enjoy talking to him/her at the party? Will he/she make an interesting friend? Will she/he make a good boss? We use a combination of observation, inference and intuition to answer such questions. If we get to know the person better, we may change our minds. But we may not have the chance.

What is the text about?

Do you think first impressions are correct?

Has it ever happened to you to misjudge people at first?

Are you a good judge of characters?


Read the text and answer the questions:

Not so long ago the typical New York sign-off used to be "Have a nice day". It is fast being replaced by a new one: "What is your fax number?" From Tokyo to London to Los Angeles, the craze of the facsimile machine is sweeping the world, but no city seems to have gone as fax-mad as New York. Radio stations for example are taking records requests by fax - the advantage is that office workers can do it without the boss hearing them telephone. To order lunch you can zap off a complete fax menu to your favorite restaurant. Down in Greenwich Village there are artists busy developing the genre of fax art. Half the telephone calls from New York to Japan are between fax machines. This being New York, you can also use the machine to communicate with your shrink for some fax therapy.

What is the text about?

What is the advantage of using a fax machine?

Can you name other modern means of communication?

What will be in your opinion, the future of communication?


Read the text and answer the questions:

In Japan the "underground" is becoming the new frontier and the best hope for solving one of the country's most serious problems. With a population nearly half of the U.S.'s squeezed into an area no bigger than Montana, Japan has virtually no room left in its teeming cities. "An underground city is no longer a dream. We expect it to actually materialize in the early part of this century", says one Japanese architect. It will be a huge development underneath the earth's surface where millions of people could work, shop and perhaps eventually make their homes.

What is the text about?

Do you think it is really possible?

Can you think of a few problems such a city would face?

What would be the advantage of such a city?


Read the text and answer the questions:

On his first day of school, at the first recess, a large boy approached him, hit him hard in the face and said:" Come on Chicken, let's see if you can fight." They fought and Francis was beaten disastrously. After that he had to fight twice a day for three weeks and he was beaten every time. Small boys are not skilled fighters and though he was hurt and shaken he suffered no serious damage. But, after recess he sat at his desk, wretched and aching and Miss McGladdery was angry with him because he was inattentive.

What is the text about?

What is the teacher's attitude?

Do you think the teacher should interfere?

How was your first day of school?


Read the text and answer the questions:

For most of the past two and half million years human beings left their garbage where it fell. Oh, they sometimes tidied their sleeping and activity areas, but that was about all. This disposal scheme functioned adequately because hunters and gatherers frequently abandoned their campgrounds to follow game of find new stands of plants. Man faced his first garbage crisis when he became a sedentary animal- when, rather than move himself, he choose to move his garbage.

1. What is the text about?

2. What did the people do about the garbage in the past?

3. How do we deal with garbage in the modern world?

4. Why is garbage disposal such an important issue nowadays?


Read the text and answer the questions:

Adolescents benefit when their mothers work. Employed women (or those with significant interests or activities outside the home) are usually happy, more satisfied and more likely to encourage their children to be independent. Sons tend to demonstrate better social and personal adjustment at school, and daughters tend to be more outgoing, independent, motivated and better adjusted to their environment. Children of working mothers are also likely to have stereotyped perceptions of life roles on the basis of being male or female.

What is the text about?

Would you prefer your mother to have a job or not?

What is your opinion about working mothers?

Give a synonym for "adolescent".

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