Подготовка к ЕГЭ по английскому языку. Чтение

Раздел 2. ЧТЕНИЕ

В2

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A. Christmas gift E. Highly profitable business

B. Multicultural Christmas F. Roman holiday

C. Ups and downs in the holiday history G. Joyous time of the year

D. Pre-Christian origins H. Musical visitors

1. December 25 became known as the birth date of Jesus in 336 A.D. At that time there were a lot of pagan festivals. The Romans held end-of-year celebrations to honour Saturn, their harvest god. Various peoples in Europe held festivals in mid-December to celebrate the end of the harvest season. As part of all these celebrations, people prepared special foods, decorated their homes with greenery, and joined in singing songs and gift giving. These customs became part of the Christmas celebration.

2. In the 4th century A.D., Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. By 1100, Christmas had become the most important religious festival in Europe, and Saint Nicholas was a symbol of gift giving in many European countries. The popularity of Christmas grew until the Reformation. During the Reformation, many Christians began to consider Christmas a nonreligious festival and it was not celebrated in England and in parts of the English colonies in America.

3. The old customs of feasting and decorating reappeared in the 19th century. In the 1800s decorating Christmas trees and sending Christmas cards to relatives and friends became popular. The celebration of Christmas became

very important to many kinds of businesses during the 1900s. And it is still important. Today many companies manufacture Christmas ornaments, lights and other decorations throughout the year. Other firms grow Christmas trees. Many stores hire extra workers during the Christmas season to handle the increase in sales.

4. Every winter people of Norway cut down a tree and give it to the people of London in gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War II. When the tree arrives, police escort it to Trafalgar Square where it stands –

‘the queen of the forest’ – in front of the National Gallery. It is over twenty metres high, very straight, and looks taller than the dome of the National Gallery. Brightly decorated this Norway Spruce is lit up and marks the

beginning of the holiday season.

5. Christmas is the happiest and busiest time of the year for millions of Christians throughout the world. In the United States and Canada, people decorate their homes with Christmas trees and ornaments. City streets sparkle with coloured lights, and the sound of bells and Christmas carols fills the air. During the weeks before Christmas, children write letters to Santa Claus and tell him what presents they would like to receive. Many department stores hire people to wear a Santa Claus costume and listen to children's requests. People share holiday greetings by sending Christmas cards to relatives and friends. Many companies give presents to their employees.

6. In some parts of the United States and Canada, various groups observe the Christmas customs of their ancestors. For example, Spanish traditions are popular in the South-western United States. Many families in the province of

Quebec follow French customs. Some black Americans combine Christmas with Kwanzaa, an African American holiday. Kwanzaa lasts seven days, from December 26 through January 1. Each day, families light a candle symbolising one of seven principles, including creativity, faith and unity.

7. In many parts of the United States and Canada, groups of carollers walk from house to house and sing Christmas songs. Some people give the singers money or small gifts or invite them in for a warm drink. Many people attend

church services on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Churches are decorated with evergreen branches, red flowers, and scenes from the Nativity. Churchgoers listen to readings from the Bible and join in singing

Christmas carols.

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B3

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Of the various kinds of animals, the dog family has undoubtedly been of the greatest direct service to mankind.

When we speak of dogs, we generally have in mind the domesticate dogs, 1 ___. They range from the big Newfoundland with its magnificent, shaggy coat to the diminutive hairless Chihuahua. In this group we find not only our domesticated dogs but also wild dogs and other wild animals such as wolves, foxes and jackals.

The dog family has had a long and interesting history. One of the earliest direct ancestors of the group was the small animal known as Cynodictis, 2 ____. It had a long and flexible body and a long tail. It was a tree dweller and had a larger brain, in proportion to its size, 3 ___. The early dogs gradually departed from the treedwelling habits of their forebears and began to live in open plains country, 4 ____. They had to be fleet in order to capture other plains

animals. In time their legs lengthened. They also developed the endurance to run great distances. There were several different lines of dog evolution. One line led to the now-extinct hyena-like dogs that once roamed over the plains of North America.

Another branch terminated in large bearlike dogs 5 ___. The wolves, jackals, foxes and domesticated dogs formed still another group – our modern dog family – 6 ___. The Cape hunting dog of Africa, the hunting dog, or dhole, of India, the Malay wild dog, the Siberian wild dog and the Brazilian bush dog are other representatives of the family.

A. than other primitive carnivores

B. where they hunted in packs

C. which have also become extinct

D. numbering over a hundred different breeds

E. which is now distributed throughout the world

F. which lived about 35 million years ago

G. where they are found in considerable numbers

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We flew to Paris and went to Longchamp, the biggest French racecourse. My father’s trip included a lunch appointment with Mr Ramsey Osborn, the coowner of his newly bought horse, Blue Clancy.

After they were seated at table together, I left them and went to ground level, happier to be with the action. I had been racing in France a good deal, having for some years been assistant to a trainer who sent horses across the

Channel to France as often as to York. Paris was nearer anyway, he used to say, dispatching me from Epson via nearby Gatwick airport whenever he felt disinclined to go himself. I knew in consequence a little racecourse French and where to find what I wanted, which was essential in the vast stands with hurrying French racegoers.

I wandered around, greeting a few people, watching the first race from the trainers’ stand, tearing up my losing ticket, wandering some more, and feeling, finally, without any horse to saddle, purposeless. It was an odd feeling. I

couldn’t remember when I’d last gone racing without being actively involved. Racing wasn’t my playground, and on that day it felt hollow.

Vaguely depressed, I returned to my father and found him blossoming in his role as racehorse owner. He was referring to Le Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe familiarly as ‘the Arc’ as if it hadn’t swum into his consciousness only half a week earlier, and discussing Blue Clancy’s future with Ramsey Osborn.

‘We’re thinking of the Breeders’ Cup,’ he said to me, and I interpreted the glint in his eyes as a frantic question as well as an instant decision.

After lunch my father and Ramsey Osborn watched the races on television. Ramsey told us he came from Connecticut, and had made his money by selling sports clothes. ‘Baseball caps by the million,’ he said expansively. ‘I

get them made, I sell them to retail outlets. And shoes, shirts, jogging suits, whatever goes. Health is big business, we’d be nowhere without exercise.’

Ramsey himself did not look it, though. He had pads of fat round his eyes, a heavy double chin and a swelling stomach. Still, he radiated good will but there was supreme arrogance on his face as my father said reciprocally that he himself dealt humbly in currency and metal.

Ramsey wasn’t grasping his meaning, I thought, but then for all his occasional flamboyance my father never drew general attention to his wealth.

‘Quantum’ was a large comfortable Victorian house, but it wasn’t a mansion: when he had reached mansion financial status, he’d shown no signs of wanting to move. I wondered briefly whether that would change in future, now that he’d tasted prodigality.

In due course, the three of us went down to the saddling boxes and met both Blue Clancy and his trainer, John. Ramsey and the trainer claimed my father’s attention away from me to discuss tactics with the jockey, and I thought

of the summer holidays when we were children, when my brother and I had learned to ride. We’d learned on riding-school ponies, cycling to the nearby stables and spending time there grooming, feeding and cleaning. We’d ridden

backwards, bareback, and with our knees on the saddle. The ponies had been docile and no doubt tired to death, but for two years we had been circus virtuosi: and my father had paid the bills uncomplainingly, but had never come to watch us. I’d ridden almost every possible morning, laying down a skill without meaning it seriously, not realising, in the flurry of academic school examinations, that it was the holiday pastime that would hold me for life.

Blue Clancy looked as well as any of the others, I thought, watching the runners walk round, and John, the trainer, was displaying more confidence than uncertainty. He thanked me for fixing the sale (from which he’d made a commission) and assured me that the two-million-guinea horse was now settled comfortably in a prime box in his yard. He’d known me vaguely until then as another trainer’s assistant, a hard worker, but as son and go-between of a new owner showing all the signs of being severely hooked by the sport, I was worth cultivation.

А15 How did the narrator come to speak French?

1) He had often been sent to France by his employer.

2) He had lived and worked in France for a long time.

3) He had taken a course in the French language.

4) He had picked it up from his French trainer.

А16 The narrator felt vaguely depressed because

1) he had bet on the wrong horse.

2) he didn’t like French racegoers.

3) the racing on that day was dull.

4) he didn’t have anything to do.

А17 How deep was the narrator’s father’s involvement in horseracing?

1) He would rather others made a decision.

2) He set the asking prices for racehorses.

3) He set up Le Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

4) He was a complete beginner in horseracing.

А18 What conclusion did the narrator draw about Ramsey’s attitude to sport?

1) Ramsey held that proper clothes were essential to sport.

2) Ramsey thought that racing was the only worthy sport.

3) Ramsey didn’t seem to do much sport himself.

4) Ramsey ruined his health through sport.

А19 What kind of person was the narrator’s father?

1) He was careful with money.

2) He was modest for a rich person.

3) He was cautious with strangers.

4) He was caring towards his friends.

А20 Why did the narrator become a horseracer?

1) He had been dreaming of it since he was a child.

2) He had failed his exams, and had no other skills.

3) His interest in horseracing never lessened.

4) His father insisted that he should be a horseracer.

А21 John showed interest in the narrator because

1) he thought the narrator’s father might buy more racehorses.

2) he had learned that his father would take part in the Breeders’ Cup.

3) he had learned that the narrator was also a racing man.

4) the narrator had promised to become his assistant.