The United States of America lies in the central part of the North American Continent between the two oceans: the Atlantic Ocean in the East and the Pacific Ocean in the West.
Canada in the North and Mexico in the South are the only countries that have borders with the USA.
The USA consists of three separate parts. They are the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean, Alaska and the main part. There are fifty States in the USA. They are very different in size, population and economic development. The smallest state is Rhode Island and the biggest is Texas. The total area of the USA is about 9 million square kilometers. The population is about 230 million people.
The USA is a big country and the climate conditions are very different in different places.
There are many big cities in the United States: New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles are the biggest of them.
The USA economically is the most powerful country in the world.
The USA is a parliamentary republic. The government has three branches: the Congress, the President and the Supreme Court.
There are two political parties in the United States: the Democratic Party, their Symbol isa donkey, and the Republican Party, their symbol is an elephant. The president is elected for 4- year term and not more than two times.
The Congress has two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the country.
HOW THEY LIVE
The Way of Life
There have been many changes in the way of life of American families in the past 20 or 30 years.
Many young people do not hurry to get married, and when they do get married, they do not hurry to have children. Quite often, a woman has her first child only when she is past thirty. In addition, families do not have so many children as was traditional before. Today most families have only one or two children.
In a traditional family, the husband worked and earned money, and the wife stayed at home with the children. This tradition is now changing. Many Married women work, like their husbands. There are two reasons for this new tradition. One reason is that women also want to have careers, like men. The other reason is the necessity of earning a living prices have risen, and as a result, families cannot when only one member of the family works.
The divorce rate is very high in the United States. About half of married couples end in divorce. The result of this high divorce rate is that many American children see their fathers (or mothers) only occasionally.
Rather often divorced people get married again. Therefore, a new kind of family has appeared — a family in which the children have different fathers or mothers.
In the past, it was traditional for three generations — grandparents, parents and children — to live together, now many elderly people prefer living separately from their grown-up children. Both elderly and young people find it convenient, though, living separately, the older and the younger generation usually maintain a friendly contact with each other.
American society seems to be much more informal than the British and, some ways, is characterized by less social distinction. Students do not rise when a teacher enters the room. One does not always address a person by this title, such as “Major” or “General” or “Doctor”. The respectful “Sir” is not always used in the northern and western parts of the country.
However, it is best to use a person’s title when first meeting him/her and then allow the person to tell you how he/she wishes to be called.
They use first names when calling each other, slap on the back, joke and are much freer in their speech, which is more slangy than the conventional British English. You will often hear the word “Hi” (a form of greeting among friends) used instead of the usual “Hello” and “Howdy” instead of “How do you do?”
Yet, in spite of all the informality, Americans, even in the way they address each other, show consciousness of social distinction. For example, one is likely to use somewhat more formal language when talking to superiors. While the informal “Hello” is an acceptable greeting from employee to employer, the employee is more apt to say “Hello, Mr. Ferguson”, while the employer may reply “Hello, Jim”.
Certain other forms of politeness are observed on social occasions. Women may wear hats in church, in restaurants, and often when attending luncheons in public places and other public social functions expect those that take place in the evening.
Men who do wear hats ordinary remove them in elevators, churches, restaurants, private homes, business offices – in fact, in most public situations when they which to show respect.
The United States is a great centre of culture. Its largest cities (New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) have many concert halls, exhibition halls and theatres. Smaller cities also regularly hold concerts, exhibitions, lectures, theatrical performances, both professional and amateur. The United States has the world's greatest museums, theatres, concert halls and orchestras. Many people usually attend performances and exhibitions, in spite of the high prices of the tickets.
The most important sources of entertainment in America are television, movies and recorded music. Millions of Americans watch videotaped movies at home.
Many Americans complain of the low intellectual and cultural level of TV programmes. Some people also say that the emphasis on youth, sex and money teaches children the wrong values.
Americans enjoy sport. They engage in sports themselves and watch their favourite sports teams at the stadiums and at home on TV. Among the most popular sports are baseball, football, basketball and hockey, as well as golf and tennis. Many boys and girls play in school sport teams.
Americans like to travel. Many families regularly go on weekend car trips, as well as on longer summer trips. Travelling by air is also very popular. During their holidays, many people fly to other cities to visit friends and relatives. In winter, many people like to spend their holidays in places with a warm climate, like Florida and the islands of the Caribbean.