1. Let’s talk about outstanding people of Belarus. What famous people of Belarus do you know? Belarusian land gave birth to many famous people whose names are known all over the world. The names of such Belarusian thinkers as Efrosinya Polotskaya and Kirill Turovsky have been known since ancient times. Since the 12th century we have known the name of the great Belarusian jeweler Lazar Bogsha and his priceless creation — the Cross of St. Efrosinya, which was decorated with numerous precious stones. It goes without saying Belarusian literature has made a great contribution to world literature. The names of Y. Kupala and Y. Kolas, M. Bagdanovich, K. Krapiva, V. Korotkevich, V. Bykov are world famous. Their works are translated into many European languages. Many streets are named after the Belarusian writers. As for Belarusian art the names of K. Malevich, Mark Shagal, M. Savitsky and others are known far beyond the borders of our country. The Belarusian culture is also famous for its ballet. The Opera and Ballet Theatre in Minsk is the centre of the national Belarusian school of ballet. The national Belarusian theatre school is well-known too. It's also a pleasure to mention the names of such famous Belarusian composers as N. Churkin, I. Luchenok, A. Bogatyrev, N. Aladov. The Belarusian vocal groups “Pesnyary” and dance group “Khoroshky” have been a great success in Europe. Many prominent names in the history of Belarus of the 20th century are connected with two main events, the Second World War and space exploration. All Belarusians fought heroically defending their Motherland. But we are especially proud of the heroes of the last war: K. Zaslonov, E. Osipova, N. Gastello, V. Talalikhin, the defenders of Brest fortress and many others. In the family of cosmonauts there are also two Belarusians, A. Kovalyonok and P. Klimuk. One thing is obvious: great times are created by great men.
2. What Belarusian sportsmen contributed into the development of sports? In what way? Belarusian sportsmen have also contributed to the glory and fame of the country. Among them are the famous tennis-player Maxim Mirny, rowing champion Alexander Bogdanovich, Darya Domracheva is the world champion in biathlon, Alexandra Gerasimenya is the world champion in swimming and the Olympic stars are Victoria Azarenko and Julia Nesterenko.
3. A lot of outstanding people originated from Belarus. Which of them would you like to meet? What questions would you ask him/her? (Ask 3 questions.)
1) What traits of character help realize a person’s talent? 2) Why do people often risk their life to make a discovery? 3) What have you done to achieve success?
4. Your pen-friend from England asks you to provide some information about Belarusian enlighteners which might be of help to him with his report about our country. Give some advice. The age of Renaissance enriched our culture with new names of great Belarusian statesmen, writers and printers. For example, Lev Sapega, the dynasty of Radzivil, Mikola Gusovsky and many others. The name of the first printer and the first translator of the Bible into the native Belarusian language Francisak Skaryna and his followers Symon Budny and Vasily Tyapinsky are known throughout the world.
5. Name a Belarusian author whom you definitely call the soul of the nation. Explain your choice. In my opinion, Yakub Kolas is the soul of the nation. His talent had a great effect on the development of our literature. Among his best works are the novel “At the crossroads”, two large epics “New Land” and “Simon the Musician” and a lot of poems. My favourite work is “New Land”. This poem became an encyclopedia of peasant’s life. It depicts the spirit, character and hopes of the Belarusian people.
1. Let’s talk about national characters. They say every nation has got its national traits. What about Belarusians? What are our national traits? Of course people are individuals and have their own traits, but they may have many characteristics in common. These generalisations mostly concern appearance, language, food, habits, psychological traits, attitudes and values. They form the so-called national traits.
Belarusians are extremely sociable both amongst themselves and with visitors. Belarusians are the most welcoming and hospitable people. Compared to the people in many western countries Belarusians are less materialistic. This is not to say that they do not want a car, good clothes and a nice apartment. But consumerism does not come close in scale to what is found, say, in Europe or the States. Not many people think of shopping as a leisure activity. Over time though, this may change as the market economy develops. One thing that always impresses foreign visitors to Belarus is the strong sense of community. Belarus is a country that, throughout its history has suffered many hardships. People have survived because of their network of family and friends. There is a high respect for education and culture. The countryside holds a special place in the hearts of Belarusians. Even though Belarus has become increasingly urbanised and industrialised there always remains a link to rural life. On the weekends during the spring, summer and early autumn cities and towns seem to empty out as urbanites go to their dachas.
2. What traits of character do you value most of all? Why? Frankly speaking, it’s always difficult to range person’s qualities and traits of character. But among the most valuable I always point out the following: honesty, sincerity, tolerance, understanding and respect. I think that all my friends and my close surrounding possess these traits, because they are very essential for good and lasting relations.
3. Ask a British teenager what British people are like? (Ask 3 questions.)
1) Are the British very conservative?
2) Is their sense of humour very specific?
3) Are all the British strong tea lovers?
4. Your pen-friend from England asks you to provide some information about Belarusian people and their character which might be of help to him with his report about our country. Give some advice. (Topic 15 “National Character” Question 1)
5. What stereotypes connected with the British do you know? What do you know about them? We know a lot of stereotypes concerning the United Kingdom and its natives. The typical British representative should be the tea lover. The other stereotype is connected with the traditional British cuisine and some cooking traditions. British meals are considered to be completely tasteless. The basic British dish is called ‘fish and chips’.
There are a number of stereotypes about British gentlemen. They appear to be too stiff and conservative. But the British aren't as conservative as they are thought to be. They are talkative and very friendly. They seem to be also pedantic, but about every other nation we can say the same. What is more typical, the British sense of humour which is very specific. Every nation has the stereotypical positive features and negative ones.
1. Let’s talk about shopping? Are you a shopaholic? To buy or not to buy? That is the question. Modern society is often called consumer society. Going shopping is a part of our everyday life. For some people it's a pleasant pastime while for others it's an everyday ruitine. In big cities and small towns there are all kinds of shops and stores as well as supermarkets. Supermarkets are primarily foodstores which sell all kinds of food: fresh, frozen und canned meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, dairy products and bread. Practically everything a family needs can be found in a supermarket. The customer serves himself and pays at the cash-desk on leaving the shop. Department stores carry clothing for men, women and children, glassware, household electric appliances, furniture, sportswear, jewellery, perfumery, and other goods. However, many people don't like to shop in big department stores as they are often overcrowded. Most of the shops open at 9 a.m. and close at 8 or 9 at night. Many shops work 24 hours. So food and drinks are available at night. Smaller shops normally have a lunch break. I should say that all the shops are equally popular with customers, though some of them are really expensive. That's why many people prefer to do the shopping at the market where the prices are more reasonable. Besides, sometimes people make purchases online. It is very fast and convenient. You have access to the information about the product and you can look at it, you don’t have to leave your house. It helps to save you much time and effort.
Fortunately, I’m not a shopaholic. In my opinion, shopaholism is not just love for shopping; it is a kind of addiction, which can be compared with smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse.
2. Who does the shopping in your family? Do you like shopping? In our family my mother does most of the shopping. She usually shops in the supermarket, where she goes to the grocery department, the greengrocery, the meat and fish counters and buys all the stuff we need for our family. Whether you like shopping or not you have to do it because it’s a necessity. For some people going shopping is a kind of pastime and even entertainment. They can spend hours and hours dropping in at different shops. And I’m not an exception / But I’m an exception. I like / don’t like shopping.
3. What questions will you ask a shop assistant to help you to choose a purchase? (Ask 3 questions.)
1) How much does it cost?
2) What sizes are available?
3) What colour would you recommend?
4. What can you advise a person who wants to buy many things but has little time? As I’ve already mentioned, practically everything you need can be found in a supermarket. It usually offers you a wide choice of goods under one roof. It makes shopping more convenient.
5. Do you agree that if you have problems, money can help you to solve them? Why (not)? It’s rather difficult to imagine our lives without money. But people’s attitude to money can be quite different: for some of them money is the most important thing in the world, while other people don’t care much about money. There are more important things for me: health of my nearest and dearest, friendship, love. I think that “money is a good servant but a bad master”.