Говоримо англійською - 40 розмовних тем - Л. П. Ільєнко 1997

The United States of America
Some facts from the history of the USA

Nowadays people are beginning to use the term «Native American» lather than «Indians» for the original peoples of America. They probably crossed over from Asia while there was still a land bridge between the two continents.

The first «white» Americans left England in 1606 to settle in Virginia. They suffered terribly. After five years only 50 colonists were left out of 500. As for the colonists who landed in New England from Mayflower in 1620, more than half died of diseases during the first winter.

Immigrants continued to come to America, mostly from Britain and Ireland, and by the middle of the 18th century there were thirteen colonies. They formed a federation, which they called the United States of America. During the next eighty years British, Irish and German immigrants continued to cross the Atlantic to settle in America.

The first American pioneers travelled out into the unexplored plains and on across the Rocky Mountains to the burning, waterless deserts of Nevada. To get to San Francisco they crossed the most fearful mountain range of all, the Sierra Nevada. The discovery of gold near San Francisco started a rush to the West, but the rich, fertile earth was the real «gold» of California. Mountain streams brought water to crops and to plantations of fruit trees.

After the Civil War (1861-65), which freed the slaves in the South and prevented the Southern States from leaving the Union, the USA really began to grow. In 1860 the population of the USA was about 30,000,000 largely of British origin, but including 3,500,000 African slaves. Today it has swollen to 250,000,000, less than 45 percent of which are of British origin.

Speak about:

1. The first colonists in America.

2. The formation of the USA.

* * *

Although the USA is the most powerful of the English-speaking countries, the English that is taught in most parts of the world is British English. Besides, British English is the «mother language» upon which all English, written or spoken, is based, including American English. In fact, most Americans like the way the English speak, and there are new England families whose accent is closer to standard British English than is the accent of the educated Scot.

Many Americans, including some who have no British blood in them, regard Britain as the Mother Country. Americans read English literature without any difficulty at all, and British readers of early 20th century American literature have no problems either. But for the last fifty years the Americans have been inventing a whole bunch of new words and phrases, many of which have already reached Britain and the whole English-speaking world.

Make comments on:

1. «He has no British blood in him».

2. Britain is the Mother Country' of the USA.

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