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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK) is the official name of the state which is situat­ed in the British Isles. Thus, "Great Britain" is often the same as "Britain", or "the United Kingdom", or just "UK". It consists of four countries which are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can see them on the map. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

The UK is an island state. The two main islands are Great Britain (where England, Scotland and Wales are situated) and Ireland. Northern Ireland and the independent Irish Republic are there. The two islands are separated by the Irish Sea.

The UK is also washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the nom and the North Sea in the east.

Everyone who was born in Britain is British. People from England are English. People from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are not English. They are Scottish or the Scotts Welsh and Irish. People from Scotland and Wales don't like it when they are called English.

More than 56 million people live in Britain. Many of them live in big industrial cities like London, Manchester and Liv­erpool, for example, are big industrial cities in the centre of England. But foreigners are often surprised by the fact that much of land in Britain is open country. There are many lone­ly hills, quiet rivers, deep lakes and just farmlands especially in the south of the country.

Everyone in Britain speaks English. But in some parts of Scotland and Wales people speak different languages as well. The Welsh are especially proud of their language. They like to speak Welsh, to sing songs in Welsh and when you travel you can see road signs in Welsh all over Wales.

Everyone in the UK speaks English but they all speak it differently. A Scottish person has to listen carefully if he wants to understand a Londoner or a Welsh person.

As you know, the flag of the United Kingdom is known as the Union Jack. It is made up of three crosses: the cross of St. George (the patron saint1 of England), the cross of St. An­drew (the patron saint of Scotland) and the cross of St. Pat­rick (the patron saint of Ireland).

It is rather difficult to understand the British way of rul­ing the country. In Britain the Queen is the Head of State, but in fact she doesn't rule the country as she has no power. The Queen is a symbol of the country history and its tradi­tions. She is very rich. She travels about the United Kingdom meets different people and visits schools, hospitals and other special places. So do all the members of the Royal family: the Queen's husband, her son Prince Charles the Queen daughter Princess Anna, and Princess Margaret.

At the beginning of the century many countries all over the world were ruled by Britain. All of them were included in­to the British Empire and were its colonies. India, Pakistan, Ceylon, for example, were among them. Now these countries are independent states. But in 1949 Britain and the former colonies founded the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth in­cludes many countries such as Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and others. The Queen of Great Britain is also the Head of Commonwealth and the queen of Canada, Austra­lia, New Zealand.

The real power in the country belongs to the British Par­liament and to the British Government. The British Parlia­ment has two 'houses': the House of Lords and the House of Commons.3 The House of Lords doesn't have much power but it is very important as it can offer and change laws, it can de­lay laws too. The House of Commons makes laws about the policy of the country, taxes and many other things.

The members of the House of Lords are not elected. These members are permanent. They are often aristocrats, peopled the church, lawyers and former politicians.

The members of the House of Commons are elected. The British people elect 650 members of the House of Commons every five years.


the Welsh — валлийцы (жители Уэльса)

Welsh (the Welsh language) - валлийский язык (язык Уэльса)

the patron saint - святой покровитель

His Majesty - Его Величество

Commonwealth - Содружество наций

the House of Lords — палата лордов

the House of Commons — палата общин

taxes - налоги


1. Where is the UK situated?

2. What languages are spoken in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

3. What is the Union Jack? What do you know about it?

4. Who is the Head of State in Britain?

5. What do you know about the Royal family?


Вариант №4.

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