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Forum » Test category » English language forum » Intersting stories (27 different short stories)
Intersting stories
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:55 AM | Message # 16
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THE MEDIA Text for dictation
The media includes national and local newspapers, satellite, cable and terrestrial television, radio, magazines, journals, teletext and the Internet. Nearly all Britain's national newspapers are owned by UK conglomerates or by foreign-based multinational companies. Consequently, in order for a political party to get elected to government it is extremely helpful to have the support of business tycoons such as Rupert Murdoch, owner of Sky, which broadcasts on many channels, as well as many British national newspapers, including The Sun, the tabloid with a circulation of about 4 million readers.
In a true democracy, the media would provide accurate information and would protect the interests of all the people. However, many TV channels and local newspapers are largely dependent on advertising for their revenue. Although they are often provided free to viewers and readers, the controllers and editors have to please the advertisers whose products may sometimes exploit underpaid work-forces or do damage to carefully targeted consumers.
Viewers and readers are classified by both media providers and advertising agencies according to different social categories ranging from grades A and B for senior managers and professional people through to grades D and E for unskilled workers and casual labourers respectively.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:56 AM | Message # 17
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POLITICAL SYSTEMS Text for dictation
In Britain, the three main political parties are the Conservatives, the Socialists and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives, also known as the Tories, occupy the right; the Socialists are traditionally associated with the left, but now describe themselves as New Labour to mark their move to the centre ground. The Lib Dems are seen as the stepping stone between the Tory and Labour parties, though they have far fewer Members of Parliament.
Most of the political power belongs to the House of Commons, the elected chamber of the British Parliament. The power of the House of Lords, the second chamber is very limited and the role of the monarch is largely symbolic. General elections must be held within periods of five years, though Prime Ministers can choose the date they consider to give them the best chance of reelection.
Britain is divided into 650 parliamentary constituencies each represented by an elected MP (Member of Parliament). The party which returns the largest number of MPS usually forms the Government, while the party with the second largest number of seats becomes the Opposition. One of the first tasks of a new Prime Minister is to choose the team of ministers which will head important Government departments. These form the Cabinet. The key posts are the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Foreign & Home Secretaries.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:58 AM | Message # 18
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RELIGION Text for dictation
A person with a faith or religion can be referred to as a believer. However, in secular societies where few people participate in religious worship, it is more common to meet atheists and agnostics. Atheists take the view that there is no God. Agnostics simply do not know whether or not God exists. Some may have read many theological texts in search of proof one way or the other, though the majority of agnostics probably give little time to questions of religion. This does not necessarily mean that they have no moral guidelines.
People who have social consciences often prefer to describe themselves as humanists. They may well share many of the same concerns as Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or Jews. These may relate to war and peace, sexual morality or many other aspects of human relationships.
In Britain, the two largest denominations are Protestant and Catholic. Both of these groups belong to the Christian church, though the Protestants separated from the Catholic church in the sixteenth century and no longer recognise the pope as their head. Among the Protestants are Anglicans who are members of the Church of England. As you move up through the ranks of the clergy, you may start as a curate, helping the vicar or rector in charge of a parish.
There are several types of priest. A successful vicar will move from being a Reverend to a Canon by which time the congregation - the people who attend church - will probably be fairly large. The main administrator of a very large church or cathedral is called the dean, though the priest in charge of the diocese - a large area such as the city of London or Birmingham - is the bishop. The bishop is assisted by an archdeacon. The highest ranking bishop - in charge of all the churches in a particular area - is the archbishop. The reigning king or queen is the head of the Church of England.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:58 AM | Message # 19
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RICH WORLD : POOR WORLD Text for dictation
The common phrases used to describe the rich world include "the developed countries" and "the advanced industrial countries". To describe very poor countries, we usually refer to "The Third World". It can be more diplomatic to speak of "the developing countries", though this description is often applied to countries which are not so very poor.
Economists also refer to "the North South divide" to emphasize that countries in the northern hemisphere are generally richer than those in the southern hemisphere - namely Africa and Latin America.
People in the rich world have mixed attitudes towards giving aid to Third World countries. Some take the view that charity begins at home. It is true that there are many people in need in Britain. However, the people who are making the most generous donations to domestic charities are often the ones who are supporting emergency appeals for the victims of conflicts and disasters overseas. Church-based campaigns such as "Christian Aid" and secular ones such as "Children in Need" direct themselves to both national and international causes.
The obligation of the rich world towards the poor world is not based on history alone. As a former colonial power, Britain was once responsible for the slave trade and the exploitation of other countries' resources. But today, together with other rich countries, we continue to dominate world markets, setting the terms of trade in our favour. We continue to sell arms to oppressive regimes, which accumulate debt and do little to alleviate hunger among their own populations.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:58 AM | Message # 20
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY Text for dictation
British parents may find it difficult to help their children with their Science and Technology homework. Since the implementation of the National Curriculum in the late 1980s, the teaching of these disciplines has changed radically.
Science is no longer presented as Physics, Chemistry and Biology to be learnt parrot fashion, but as a practical discipline requiring communication skills and the application of knowledge and understanding. Pupils now have to behave like scientists in and outside the classroom. They learn to communicate, whether working alone or contributing to a group effort. They learn research skills such as the use of reference materials. They practise gathering and organising information from different sources. They develop the ability to record and report as well as to translate information from one form to another to suit a particular audience or purpose. Familiarity with computers is now essential as pupils are expected to use spreadsheets and databases for collecting and presenting information.
Technology, which was previously encountered as an option at Secondary School and often limited to Technical Drawing, is now compulsory for pupils aged between five and sixteen. As in Science, the new approach is based on practice. Pupils are encouraged to identify opportunities for design and technological activities and to express them verbally. They learn these abilities in the contexts of home, school, recreation, community and also business and industry as they approach school-leaving age. They also learn to generate designs, to plan and make things using appropriate resources and to evaluate the processes, products and effects of their design and technological activities. Computer literacy from an early age and the ability to use suitable software applications such as computer-aided design programs now form important parts of the Technology syllabus.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:58 AM | Message # 21
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SOCIETY Text for dictation
The meaning of "society" is susceptible to changes in place and time. In Britain, during the Second World War, there was a feeling of community because civilians helped one another out. When the war ended, the Welfare State was founded. People were provided with free eye-tests, glasses, medicines and dental check-ups. There was a sense of the strong helping the weak. By the end of the 1950s, many people were purchasing washing machines and televisions. Some were even buying their own houses. The consumer society was under way. Politicians told us that we'd never had it so good.
During the 1960s, in both Britain and America, the conventional view of society was challenged by a youth movement whose opinions were articulated through pop and folk music and student politics. Songs such as "Little Boxes" ridiculed the idealized picture of the two parent family whose children went through both summer school and university to become perfect products of society. The little boxes of many different colours, but which all looked just the same, were the suburban dwellings of the American middle class. Other songs such as "What did you learn in school, today?" questioned the image of the good citizen who never doubts the teacher's word, regards the police as friends, supports the death penalty and is eager to fight for his country. The attack on the uniformity of the family developed into a protest against the Vietnam war. By the early 1970s, criticism turned to the corruption inherent in the Nixon administration.
Today, people show greater tolerance towards different family structures such as single parent families and there is a wider acceptance of different races and sexual orientations. However, trust is in short supply, judging by the number of security alarms fitted to our houses and cars and the emergence of neighbourhood watch schemes as the social institutions of the 1990s.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 8:59 AM | Message # 22
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SPORT Text for dictation
There are several different categories of sports which exercise both the body and mind. Altitude sports include gliding, hang-gliding, mountaineering and parachuting. They are not for people who are afraid of heights.
Athletics includes track and field events involving running, jumping, vaulting and throwing. A standard track is a circuit of 400 metres. The field is the green area in the middle.
Combat games consist of boxing, fencing, judo, karate, kendo and wrestling.
Court games attract people of all ages. They include badminton, basketball, handball, netball, pelota, squash, table tennis, tennis and volleyball. The courts are rectangular.
Equestrian sports, usually for people rich enough to own horses, include dressage, eventing, horse racing, polo and show jumping. Many people enjoy betting on the horses.
Field sports require a large area of green. They include American football, baseball, bowls, cricket, croquet. golf, hockey, lacrosse, rugby football and soccer.
Gymnasium sports consist of weightlifting and gymnastics. The latter contains floor exercises including leaps, spins, balances and tumbles as well as fixed apparatus such as rings, bars, beams, pommel horses and vaulting horses.
Other categories of sport are (1) target (2) water (3) wheeled and (4) winter sports. Can you provide examples of sports in each of these categories?
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 9:00 AM | Message # 23
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TRADITIONS Text for dictation
In a world of technological change, we struggle to keep up with new developments, yet at the same time, many of us welcome the continuity and repetition provided by traditions. Some of our traditions are connected with places; others relate to the calendar and religious or pagan ceremonies.
There are a number of towns and cities in Britain which are associated with legendary people or creatures. Tourists visiting Nottingham can take a trip to Sherwood forest where they can revive the legend of Robin Hood. A journey to Loch Ness, near Inverness in Scotland, may result in a sighting of "Nessie" the famous monster. London is rich in traditions such as the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade. The opening of parliament when members of the House of Commons are called to the House of Lords to attend the Queen's Speech is just one of many annual events.
Annual religious ceremonies provide us with holly, fir-trees and crackers at Christmas, and chocolate eggs at Easter. Other yearly events include Burns' Night in January to celebrate the birth of Scotland's great national poet, pancake day in February, April Fools' Day on 1st April and the crowning of the May Queen on 1st May.
Traditions are also observed during important moments of our lives such as weddings and funerals. In a traditional British church wedding, the bride wears a long white dress while the groom wears a black cloak and top hat. The bride's father escorts her to the front of the church and she is attended by brides maids when she leaves. The groom, accompanied by the "best man" brings a gold ring which is placed on the bride's finger after the couple have made serious promises. The groom is then allowed to kiss the bride.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 9:00 AM | Message # 24
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TRANSPORT Text for dictation
The following description may be useful for learner drivers who are also learning English.
When you get into a car for the first time, it is often necessary to adjust the position of both the driver's seat and the driving mirror. The two wing mirrors may also need adjusting. Don't forget to fasten your seat belt. Before turning the ignition to start the engine, it is wise to check that the gear is in neutral. The hand brake will probably be on.
Once the engine is started, you should look over your right shoulder. You can then depress the clutch - the foot pedal on the left - , change into first gear, release the hand brake, let out the clutch gently while depressing the accelerator very slightly. If you let out the clutch too quickly, the engine will stall.
As soon as the car is moving, you should depress the clutch again before changing up into second gear. The clutch is then released and the same routine is repeated for changing up into higher gears, down into lower ones or into reverse.
Good drivers always hold the steering wheel with both hands when possible. If they plan to turn left or right, they indicate or signal in good time. The electronic indicator is usually just to the right of the steering wheel on right hand drive cars. The rod to the left of the steering wheel usually operates the windscreen wipers which you will need if it starts to rain.
Other controls are mounted on the dashboard, the smart panel in front of you. You will usually find the switches for the sidelights and headlights. The electronic indicator is pulled in or pushed out to set the headlights to dipped or full beam. The horn can either be found in the centre of the steering column or on one of adjoining rods. Happy motoring!
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 9:01 AM | Message # 25
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VIOLENCE Text for dictation
There have been several crimes that have led British people to reflect on the causes of violence in our society. One case involved a married couple, who sexually abused a number of women, murdered them and then buried them under their house. A second case involved a member of a gun club, who walked into the sports hall of a Primary School and gunned down all the members of a class and their teacher. A third case involved two young boys who battered a baby boy to death after abducting him from a shopping centre.
Crimes involving both violence and sexual abuse lead to attempts to limit the availability of magazines and videos that link the two. Some sex shops dealing in sado-masochism have been forced to close. The content of films, such as "Belle de Jour", involving the violent treatment of prostitutes, has also been questioned. Certain films involving gratuititous violence such as "Clockwork Orange" have been censored in Britain, because of the bad example that they set for young people.
Crimes involving guns have led to new legislation in Britain banning the possession of hand-guns in spite of the strong opposition put up by shooting clubs. Many parents refuse to buy toy guns for their children, not wanting them to associate war with play. It is difficult to shelter children in this way since they are constantly exposed to violence as entertainment in the form of books, comics and television cartoons.
The case involving the young boys led many people to ask whether violence is inborn or whether it results from poor parenting, allowing children to surf the web unsupervised or to access video nasties, for example. Current concern is directed towards the Internet. The lack of censorship means that children can search for potentially damaging texts and pictures and to make contact with strangers on chat lines.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 9:01 AM | Message # 26
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WORK Text for dictation
People in Britain can look for jobs in the Situations Vacant column of national or local newspapers. National newspapers such as "The Guardian" focus on different areas of employment such us media, education, social work and information technology on different days. Job vacancies are also displayed at Job Centres and other Employment Agencies in towns and cities and on the Internet.
Before applying for a job, you should check that you meet the requirements. These are usually specified in terms of previous experience, qualifications and personality. To show that you are a suitable candidate for the post, it is usual to enclose a curriculum vitae with your letter of application. There are many computer programs that will help you produce a well designed and professional-looking curriculum vitae, available both from computer software retailers and as freeware on the web.
If you make the right impression, you will be invited to an interview; otherwise you will probably receive a letter saying: "we regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful." The successful applicant will probably be given a contract of employment which will contain the job description and the terms and conditions. You show your acceptance of these by signing the contract.
On your first day of work, you may be invited to join a trade union. If so, you will probably be introduced to your shop steward, the trade union official who will represent you and your colleagues in negotiations with management. Sooner or later, you will meet your boss. The person who you report to, could also be called a line manager or director. In factories, workers often take their orders from a team-leader or foreman, who is an intermediary between the employer and the employees.
 
BakhtiyorDate: Sunday, 2012-06-03, 9:01 AM | Message # 27
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YOUTH & OLD AGE Text for dictation
Youth is associated with innocence, beauty, good health, energy, idealism, curiosity, immaturity, inexperience and rebellion. Old age often implies experience, wisdom, fatigue, failing health and conservatism. For some people it is a time of fulfilment and contentment; for others it may involve cynicism and bitterness. It is sometimes associated with senility when people are forgetful or easily confused.
The physical differences between the young and the elderly are obvious. The average age of competitors in the World Cup or the Olympic Games is likely to be under 35. Medical records show that pensioners require more health treatments than other age-groups.
However, the descriptions of character relate more closely to fiction than to actuality. The contrast between the innocence of youth and the experience of adulthood is established both in William Blake's poetry and William Shakespeare's plays. Shakespeare's young lovers are much too innocent and inexperienced to engage in vandalism, joy-riding or drug-trafficking, yet magistrates in Britain today are asking for tougher sentencing powers to combat juvenile crime. Many young teenagers are now experienced offenders.
The notion of youth being rebellious could possibly date from the 1960s when there were many student protests in Western Europe and the U.S.A. More recently, there have been big student demonstrations in China and South Korea. Yet in many other countries, young people are careful to observe the status quo. Respect for elders still seems to be more prevalent in Asia and the Middle East than in Western Europe and the U.S.A. where the average age of political leaders seems to have fallen.
 
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