Cultura inglese



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Britain is the largest island in the british isles, it includes England, Scotland and Wales. The united kingdom (UK) is the official political name of the state, which also includes Northen Ireland as well as England, Scotland and Wales.
England is divided in 4 parts: East Anglia, the South of England, the Midlands and the North of England, its capital is London which is the centre of government, with the houses of parliament and buckingham palace(the home of the queen), and a business and financial centre, with the bank of england and the stock exchange. London is the major tourist destination in England with the british museum, shopping centres like Harrods, cinemas, theatres and historical buildings.
The flat region of East Anglia, north east of London, is important for agriculture(cereals and vegetables) and the economy has developed in recent years, especially in the field of computers and electronics; the main cities are Norwich and the university city of Cambridge, which are important for their historical buildings.
But these buildings are not the only in england, infact in the south of england there is the prehistoric monument at Stonehenge and the elegant city of Bath, with its Roman remains.
The rolling hills provide good farmland, producing fruit and vegetables. The Cornwall and Devon region in the south-west has beautiful scenery and has become a popular holiday area. The main cities are: Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton.
The midlands is dominated by the city of birmingham and the large industial area around it, this part of England attracts a lot of tourist with the Lincoln Cathedral and the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-avon. Nottingham and Derby are other large manufacturing cities making a wide variety of products, industries based on engeneering and metals, including car industry are still important here. Not only in this part of england industries are important, infact the north of england is the birthplace of the industrial revolution; the main cities are Manchester, which was the world’s biggest producer of cotton goods, Liverpool,with its port. Situated in the north-west of England there is lake district, which is famous for its natural beauty and is now a national park; the most famous lakes are: LAKE WINDERMERE, LAKE GRASSMERE and LAKE CONISTON.
Beyond England in Britain there is another region, Scotland; the main cities of this state are Glasgow, which was a great port with industries based on iron and steel, and Edimburgh, which is important for administration and financial services and famous for its castle. The northen half of Scotland, the Highlands, is an area of magnificent mountain scenery; Inverness, the principal town, is a centre for trips into the mountains and to nearby Loch Ness, where visitors hope to see the “monster”.
Wales is another region of Great Britain; the south in the past was a coalmining area but now all the mines are closed, the main activities of welsh people are sheep and cattle farming and forestry, tourism is also important, especially in the Showdonia National Park area in the north where visitors are attracted by the beautiful mountain scenery.


In Britain, education is compulsory between the age of 5 and 16; 5-11 primary school, 11-16 secondary school(GSCE), 16-18, sixth form(A-Level), 18-21 university(degree).
A normal school day start at about 8.30 and lessons finish at 3.30 or 4.00 p.m, children usually have lunch in the school canteen and they don’t go to school an Saturday; school in Britain offer extracurricular activities like music, art and drama.
At the primary school children beginning with the basic skills of writing, reading and arithmetic, in the secondary school they are obliged to study science, information technology, design&technology, modern language, there are also subjects that are optionals, like history, geography, music and art.
English students at the age of 16 usually taken the GCSE, they can choose many different subjects as they wish, although(benchè) the usual number is between 5 and 8, the candidate is given a separate grade for each subject. The A-level exam functions in a similar way, but the standard is higher.
To enter university a student must normally have 5 passes at GCSE and 2 passes at A-level, british universities select a student based on the grades that he obtain in the A-level and sometimes also on an interview, there is a tradition of students leaving home and going to live in the university campus, universities offer a rich social life, with a variety of clubs and societies.


The ancient Britons arrived from Europe 20.000 years ago, they were hunters and farmers and built historical monuments like Stonehenge, after the 400 BC the Celts arrived from central Europe and became dominant. They were great warriors and fought against the Roman armies(eserciti romani) which appeared after 43 AD. After the Romans left, the island was invaded by Anglo-Saxon people from north-west of Germany. Scotland, Wales and Ireland remain celtic but in “England” the Anglo-Saxon language and culture become predominant; the last great invasion was by french-speaking Normans in 1066, they conquered England but were gradually absorbed into the english-speaking population.
After establishing their authority over England, the Norman kings began the conquest of Wales, which was completed in 1290; Henry VIII incorpored Wales into his kingdom in 1535. There were a lot of battles between the English and the Scots and Scotland remained indipendent until 1603, many years later English first invaded Ireland in the 12th century and gradually gained(conquistare) control over the island, which was united to Britain in 1800(the south of Ireland became indipendent in 1921).
After the conversion to christianity, England remained a catholic country for thousand years, but in the 1536, when the Pope refused to annul Henry VIII’s marriage, the king broke away from Rome and set up a separate protestant church of England, later the country became involved in the european wars of religion. In 1588 Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth I, faced(affrontare) the Spanish Armada, an unsuccessful invasion by Catholic forces of Spain.
In 1705 Newcomen invented the first steam engine(motore a vapore) and 4 years later darby descovered a new way of making iron. These inventions marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; between 1750 and 1850 Britain became the first industrial nation in the world. Poor living and working conditoins created diseases and social problems in the big new industrial cities, but by gradually introducing cosial reforms and extending the right to vote, Britain avoided(evitare) the revolutions that swept through Europe.


Since 1945 there was three periods of immigration. The first was between 1945-1955 when arrived many people from Europe where there was the 2nd world war.
From 1958 to 1962 immigration increases with people that arrived from Commonwealth country(Ghana, Jamaica, India), in the end there was the third wave of immigration(1962-1971)with the families of the people that arrived with the first wave. For these people there was a lot of problems with language and the colour of their skin, when immigrants started arriving, they filled menial jobs in public transport and hospitals, later Asians took over many old and small shops; people from ethnic minorities have become successful in fields such as sport and entertainment.


The press in Britain is divided between newspaper and magazines. Newspeper are national and regional, national serve the all country while regional serves a local area.
National newspaper could be popular or quality: the popular or tabloid talk about domestic news,scandals,gossip; they have a lot of photos,big headline and short articles(THE SUN,THE MIRROR). Quality papers talk about political and foreign news(THE GUARDIAN,THE INDIPENDENT).
In Britain there are 5 national tv channels(BBC,BBC2,..) which offer light entertainment, news, drama;channel 4 also provide programmes for minority groups such as Asian immigrants. The BBC also runs 5 national stations, each one concentrating on particular areas:pop music, classical.....
Information technology is dominated by the USA, where the computer industry was first developed. American companies, in particular Microsoft, are also the leading software producers.

In Britain agriculture is very important, english cultivate cereals, sugar beets and potatoes, there are also the coltivation of tomatoes, lettuces and flowers in the glasshouses.
The productions of eggs and poultry are very important all over the country, over half of the farms are devoted to dairy products or beef cattle and sheep. In the past fishing was very important but now it’s declinated.
In Britain there are a lot of industries, like aerospace industry, textiles and clothing industry. These industries are situated around London, Manchester and Glasgow. In England there are also many computer companies (IBM, SONY); food and drinks industries are important for the production of sweets, biscuits and beer.
This sector is very important in Britain, infact London is the 3rd largest financial centre of the world with the stock exchange. In the north of Britain tourism is very important, in particular in Scotland where there is the Lochness Lake.


The queen is the head of the state and a symbol of national unity. She open and dissolves the parliament, and she is also the haed of the armies.
The parliament is divided in: The house of lords and the House of commons, the House of commons have 659 members because in Britain there are 659 costituencies, in each costituency the different political parties propose their candidates, and people elected these politician, the candidate who wins most vote becomes the MP.
The House of commons discuss the problems of the country, and support the action of the government; in this house there are 1000 members, but they aren’t elected by the people, infact they are hereditary peers, life peers, senior bishops and senior judges.
The queen appoints the Prime Minister(Tony Blair), who is the leader of the party with most members in the house of commons; the party with the second largest number of members become the opposition. The prime Minister, after 5 years dissolves the parliament and call a new election.
The Labuor Party(leader= Tony Blair) nationalizes many services like hospital, in the past this party lost popularity because it was seen as a party of high taxation and old fashioned ideas. The Conservative party(leader= Margareth Thatcher) want to privatized services, in the past conservatives tried to reduce taxes; this party didn’t want to enter in the euro zone. The Liberal Democrats are supporters of the european union, they have a small number of MPs because of the voting system.


In Britain there is the National Health Service which provides free medical treatment but people have to wait long periods for receive these medicines and someone prefer to pay for private care. The government provides help for poor people. Payment include: housing benefit, child benefit and the state pension; the basic state pension is not very high and most workers also contribute to additional private pension schemes.
In the USA people must pay for a private health insurance, the US government helps to pay for the treatment for poor and old people, there is no nationally organized welfare system, help is given to the unemployed, the sick, the poor and the homeless by church organizations or private charities.
In Britain about 80% of people who leave prison return to a life crime, there is no national police force; the police are organized in 56 local forces around the country, british policemen don’t carry guns.