Lesson 4 - R&W, Culture - POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
Have you ever happened to back the wrong horse? Or to buy a pig in a poke?
When was it? How did you feel afterwards?
Do you know anyone who behaves like a bull in a china shop? Or acts as a snake in the grass?
Who is it? Do you want to make friends with them?
Do you like people fiddling with your personal matters?
What was the worst thing you did that unleashed a big row in your family?
If you had any problems with understanding the sentences above, it’s time to finally root out your laziness and start learning harder. Now choose six words or phrases from the previous lesson and write meaningful sentences below.
- Ćwiczenie 1 aqm
Read the text about Ireland in the European Union, then decide whether the statements below are true (T) or false (F). Try to make your choice without referring back to the text (see how much you managed to remember!). Then check every answer with the relevant fragment in the text. Finally look at the answers given:
Ireland and the European Union (fragments)
by Donal McSweeney (The World of English no. 1/2001)
When Ireland joined the European Union in 1973, it was a poor agricultural country that was largely economically dependent on its powerful neighbour, the United Kingdom. It had a history of unemployment and mass emigration. Since then, the Irish economy has been transformed to such an extent that Ireland is Europe’s largest software producer, and the Gross Domestic Product per capita exceeds that of the UK. While other factors were involved, it is clear that joining the EU was a positive step for Ireland.
Ireland has benefited from its membership of the EU along with its historically close links with the United States. Because of our EU membership and low corporation tax rates, many American companies, such as Microsoft, Dell and Intel, have chosen to make Ireland their base in Europe. Ireland has also received a large share of the EU’s Regional and Structural Funds, which have helped improve the infrastructure that has facilitated the economic boom. On the other hand, some traditional industries, such as the textile industry, have struggled because of increased competition. Also, Irish farmers have mixed opinions about the Common Agricultural Policy.
From a foreign policy point of view, Ireland has been able to exert considerable influence from within and has been able to help shape EU policy on issues such as East Timor. Historically, the smaller nations in the EU have had a disproportionate say because of the national veto and the National Commissioner. The decisions made at the Nice summit will reduce this influence, but this was inevitable in the context of enlargement.
From a social and cultural perspective, things have also changed. After joining the Union, employment equality legislation was enacted to improve the position of women in the workplace. In recent years, Irish culture has become less homogeneous as emigration has been replaced by net immigration. The traditional importance of the relationship with Britain has shifted as Ireland has become more focused on Europe and the outside world. Recently, a debate has been initiated about Ireland's future economic model – Boston or Berlin? A European social democratic model or an American free enterprise model? In referendums and polls, however, the Irish people have consistently supported the EU, and this support is likely to continue.
Writing a for and against essay
Since May 1st 2004 Poland has been a member of the EU. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this situation? Read the guidelines about writing an argumentative essay and write your own essay on the topic: “Should Poland be a member of the European Union?” Your essay should be some 200-300 words long. Start with making an essay plan, then write the four paragraphs as suggested:
Paragraph 1 – Introduction – Make some general points that most readers can agree with. If appropriate, state that the issue is controversial or provide a definition of a difficult concept.
Paragraph 2 – Arguments for – Provide 2 or 3 arguments for an issue and try to support them with reasons or examples.
Paragraph 3 – Arguments against – Provide 2 or 3 arguments against an issue and try to support them with reasons or examples.
Paragraph 4 – Conclusion – Give a short summary of the debate. You may add your own opinion at the very end if you want.
Note: The tone of such essays should be rather formal, it cannot be too personal, emotional or moralistic.
For each of the paragraphsuse appropriate phrases, i.e.:
- To introduce each new argument:
Firstly / First of all / To begin with / Secondly / Next / However / But / On the other hand / Also
- To give examples/reasons:
For instance / For example / This is because / One of the reasons is... / Critics often say that... / Some people believe
- To introduce a conclusion:
To sum up / Finally / To conclude
- To introduce your own opinion:
In my opinion / Personally, I believe
Talk shows are a very popular form of entertainment not only in the UK or the USA, but also in Poland. Some of the Polish talk shows resemble the English language format. You have probably heard about Ophra Winfrey or Johnny Carson. Another popular American show is David Letterman’s Late Show, which always includes a humorous “Top Ten” list on various topics.
Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About England
10. "Clocks are five hours fast"
9. "Everybody's speaking some crazy foreign language"
8. "Harry Potter won't return phone calls"
7. "So touchy about minor things...like going to war under false pretences"
6. "They don't know where Saddam is either"
5. "Queen Elizabeth not half as funny as 'King of Queens'"
4. "Disappointed to learn 'Big Ben' is just a giant clock"
3. "Pack a gum costs 2 pounds -- who carries two pounds of money?!"
2. "I've been here for 36 hours and Prince Charles hasn't made a single move on me"
1. "Driving on the left reminds me of my drinking days"
(November 19, 2003)
Now write Top Ten Advantages of Being a Politician.