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Collection of english workouts

  Note: 2   Klasse: 11


0 TABLE OF CONTENTS_____________________________________________

1 INTERNET_______________________________________________________

1.1 What´s the Internet?__________________________________________

1.2 Size of the Internet___________________________________________

1.3 History and Property_________________________________________

1.4 Services______________________________________________________

1.5 How to connect to the Internet_______________________________

1.6 Problems_____________________________________________________

1.7 Future - the wired world?_____________________________________

1.8 Vocabulary___________________________________________________

2 FROM GLIDERS TO ROCKETS______________________________________

2.1 At the beginning_______________________________________________

2.2 Flying by steam________________________________________________

2.3 Failure at Kitty Hawk__________________________________________

2.4 The JET ENGINE________________________________________________

2.5 Rockets_____________________________________________________

3 HUMAN RIGHTS_________________________________________________

3.1 What are Human Rights?______________________________________

3.2 Legal, Moral and Human rights_______________________________

3.3 American Declaration of Independence and Universal Declaration of Human Rights__________________________________________________________

3.4 Human Rights in Danger_______________________________________

3.5 Human Rights Organisations__________________________________

3.6 Vocabulary__________________________________________________


4.1 Letters______________________________________________________

4.2 The Book_____________________________________________________

4.3 Vocabulary__________________________________________________

5 VOICES ACROSS THE EARTH______________________________________

5.1 Introduction_________________________________________________

5.2 Ancient times_________________________________________________

5.3 The electronic communication age___________________________

5.4 Vocabulary__________________________________________________

6 HEMP__________________________________________________________

6.1 Introduction_________________________________________________

6.2 Hemp History_________________________________________________

6.3 What hemp can be used for___________________________________

6.4 The drug THC_________________________________________________

6.5 Conclusion__________________________________________________

6.6 Vocabulary__________________________________________________

7 NEW ZEALAND - LAND OF THE KIWI________________________________

7.1 Introduction_________________________________________________

7.2 Some call it paradise________________________________________

7.3 Kiwi - 3 definitions:____________________________________________

7.4 Vocabulary__________________________________________________

8 BRITAIN AND THE BRITISH________________________________________

8.1 Geographical notes_________________________________________

8.2 England and the different races____________________________

8.3 Religion______________________________________________________

8.4 The educational system______________________________________

8.5 The political system__________________________________________

8.6 Sports_______________________________________________________

8.7 Festivals____________________________________________________

8.8 The mentality (character) of the English_____________________

8.9 Vocabulary__________________________________________________

9 ENVIRONMENT (Acid Rain)_______________________________________

9.1 Introduction_________________________________________________

9.2 Air pollution_________________________________________________

9.3 Damage to the soil___________________________________________

9.4 Damage to the trees and forests____________________________

9.5 Damage to buildings__________________________________________

10 RACISM (= RACIALISM), STEREOTYPES____________________________

10.1 Important words____________________________________________

10.2 Different skin colour_______________________________________

10.3 Slavery_____________________________________________________

10.4 Freeing the American slaves________________________________

10.5 Martin Luther King___________________________________________

10.6 Multiracial society in Britain_________________________________

10.7 Apartheid___________________________________________________

10.8 What is apartheid?__________________________________________

10.9 Vocabulary_________________________________________________

11 BRAVE NEW WORLD (Aldous Huxley)___________________________

11.1 About the Author___________________________________________

11.2 Genre_______________________________________________________

11.3 Setting______________________________________________________

11.4 Story_______________________________________________________

11.5 Major Characters__________________________________________

12 HISTORY OF GREAT BRITAIN_____________________________________

12.1 England____________________________________________________

12.2 Magna Carta (The birth of democracy)_______________________

12.3 A new wife and a new Church________________________________

12.4 Shakespeare`s life__________________________________________

12.5 Shakespeare for a Penny___________________________________

13 PLASTIC MONEY: CREDIT CARDS, LLOYDS_________________________

13.1 Credit Cards________________________________________________

13.2 Cheque Cards_______________________________________________

13.3 Telephone cards___________________________________________

13.4 Cash Dispenser Cards______________________________________

13.5 Future finance______________________________________________

13.6 Vocabulary_________________________________________________

14 LAYOUT OF A BUSINESS LETTER_________________________________

14.1 How to write a Business Letter______________________________

14.2 Different kinds of business letters_________________________

14.3 Different kinds of business letters_________________________

14.4 The inquiry__________________________________________________

14.5 The offer___________________________________________________

14.6 The order___________________________________________________

14.7 The delay and complaint____________________________________

14.8 Vocabulary_________________________________________________


15.1 Introduction________________________________________________

15.2 Kinds of disabilities_________________________________________

15.3 Shame_______________________________________________________

15.4 Integration at SZU___________________________________________

15.5 Vocabulary_________________________________________________

16 RENEWABLE ENERGY IN BRITAIN_________________________________

16.1 What is renewable energy?_________________________________

16.2 How is Britain Developing the Renewable Energy Technologies?

16.3 The Government's Renewable Programme___________________

16.4 Sources of energy__________________________________________

16.5 Forms of energy____________________________________________

16.6 Energy efficiency___________________________________________

16.7 Demand and supply__________________________________________

16.8 Recycling___________________________________________________

16.9 Climate change_____________________________________________

16.10 Vocabulary________________________________________________

17 APPENDIX_____________________________________________________

17.1 Phrases for the beginning__________________________________

17.2 Other phrases______________________________________________

17.3 Changes between the pre-version___________________________

1.1 What´s the Internet?

That question is rather difficult to answer because the Internet is so many things to so many different people. It's simply a series of computer networks linked together all over the world, communicating almost all the time with one another.

A single network of computers, is for example, all the computers linked together within our school building. The Internet consists of thousands of these networks communicating together, like a big net or web! University networks connected to government networks connected to business networks connected to private networks - this is the Internet! These computer networks are physically linked together by telephone, radio, cable lines or via satellite. Networks from other continents are interconnected by the large, intercontinental telephone and fibre optic communication lines that run below the ocean floor.

1.2 Size of the Internet

Nobody knows for sure how big the Internet is. It is estimated that there are approximately thirty to thirty-eight million people that are ‘on-line,’ with sites on every continent. In fact, the Internet has grown at an exponential rate since its beginning.

It is the largest network of computers in the world and is growing at about ten percent per month. That means that at the current rate of growth, the Internet-users will double just ten months from today. If you believe current predictions, it will become true that by the year 2010 everyone of the western countries will be connected to the Internet.

1.3 History and Property

The Internet began as ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Network), a US military network in the 1960s. The United States military needed a system for its researchers to communicate and share programs with one another over long distances. In other parts of the world, similar networks developed.

Over time, all these separate networks have linked together using a common communication protocol called TCP/IP. Businesses and private individuals then started connecting and eventually the network became known as the Internet. Today, no individual, no corporation and no government owns the Internet - it is owned, operated and maintained by all those who use it.

1.4 Services
1.4.1 E-Mail

Perhaps the first step that many people have tried when using the Internet is E-mail. E-Mail is a method of sending text and pictures to other people on the net. It is an electronic message from a sender to a recipient, (or multiple recipients.) Some people say that an email message is the Internet equivalent of sending a fax. Compared to postal E-mail, (often called ‘snail-mail’ by Internet users), E-mail is probably much faster. But there are several problems with E-mail.

In theory, messages can be sent back and forth immediately (usually within a few seconds), regardless of whether the message is sent to the next building or to the next continent. Nevertheless E-mail messages may sit in the recipient’s electronic mailbox for days or weeks until the user checks them. To be able to send an E-mail message, you must know the E-mail address of the person you want to send the message to.

A person's E-mail address is constructed from the username they use to login to their provider and the computer's Internet host name. By combining the two with an @ sign between, them you have created that user's E-mail address.

1.4.2 World Wide Web

I think it’s advantageous to start with the widely know service named WWW (which means World Wide Web). The World Wide Web makes up a very large percentage of the Internet. Nearly seventy percent of all information searches are handled through the World Wide Web. Information is quickly found in the World Wide Web through typing in key words. The key words are searched through different search engines, such as Infoseek and Lycos, or through search directories, such as Yahoo and Magellan. These search engines look for key words in their databases. The search results from the search engine are then listed and the user can choose from the titles found.

The WWW is a system for publishing text and pictures on the net so they can be accessed at any time by everybody who is interested in. You can compare the WWW with a library without walls, that is open 24 hours a day on 365/366 days a year.

WWW is often also simply mentioned as Web. Web Pages can include texts, pictures, sound-files, animation's, videos and so on. With the new language "Java", which is used for programming Web-pages, there are several more possibilities to design a Webpage.

Most people, who are not as well informed about the Internet, think that the WWW is, besides E-mail, the only service in the Internet. But there are several other services like the Usenet or the Internet Relay Chat.
1.4.3 Usenet

The third service is called Usenet. This is split into over 30000 groups called Newsgroups. In each of them, people can post messages to the group-topic. Almost everything on Usenet is a discussion of some sort, although a few groups are devoted to regular information postings, with no discussion allowed. Of course, you can always ask your question, and you usually get an answer , even if it's the sort of question everyone asks.

Common questions are called Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQs, and are collected in lists and posted regularly for newcomers. If you search for the Newsgroup of your interest, you will probably find it. For example, there are even some Newsgroups for collectors of butterflies.

1.5 How to connect to the Internet

For you and most people using a microcomputer such as a PC, a modem generally makes the necessary link to the Internet. Modem stands for modulator-demodulator, and it enables your computer to monopolise your phone. The fastest modem in commercial use today can process about 56 kilobits per second. A few years ago, the fastest modem available could only process 300 bits of information per second.

Nowadays, new connection methods like ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) are upcoming. ISDN lines can process information at 128 kilobits per second. The ISDN lines would be installed in place of telephone lines. Satellites are also used to transmit data to computers. Current satellites can process up to 400 kilobits per second. When you have the correct hardware you need an access provider which will handle the local link from your computer into the Internet.

In the Future coaxial cable TV lines will be used to get connected with the Internet because information can be processed at over 27 megabits per second on the same cable lines that are already used for TV.

1.6 Problems

The Internet is also used by criminals. For example you are able to get the terrorist handbook, pornographic material, nazi slogans as easy as the news of today. In the last time there have been a lot discussions if the Internet should be controlled. But there are also a lot of people who are against a censor of the Internet because they say you have the right for freedom of speech (it´s a basic right!). Another problem is that the people are getting lonlier because they forget to communicate outside of the net.

1.7 Future - the wired world?

In just a few years, the Internet became a mass-medium. The Internet is now used by 36 million people and every month this number increases by 2 million. In 2010 nearly everybody of the western countries, like Austria, Germany, Switzerland, will be connected to the Internet.

1.8 Vocabulary



CB radio (city band)

fibre optic communication line

optische Glasfaserkommunikationsleitung


Gastgeber, hier: Server der Daten zur Verfügung stellt






ohne Rücksicht auf





to delimit


to desire


to estimate







2.1 At the beginning

To be able to fly is one of the oldest human ambitions. Icarus, who was a legend, flew with feathers and wings out of wax too near the sun. So the wax melted and Icarus died. People in the ancient world tried to copy him, but all with disastrous results.

First, people thought that the way to fly would be to design a machine with flapping wings like a bird's. But the first people who took to the air did it with the help of a hot air balloon. Those people were the brothers Montgolfier from France. That happened at the end of the 18th century.

But balloons were at the mercy of the wind for their direction and speed, so they were no use as a means of transport. So Sir George Cayley designed the first successful passenger-carrying glider in the middle of the 19th century. He worked out the principle of ‘lift’, which is obtained by making the upper surface of the wing convex and keeps the wing airborne.

The greatest glider pioneer of the age, Otto Lilienthal, died after nearly 2000 flights in a glider he built himself.

2.2 Flying by steam

Other inventors tried making steam-powered aircraft. But the flights which could be made were only a few metres long. The people, who were responsible for the breakthrough in flying were two American brothers: Orville and Wilbur Wright. They lived in the 19th century.

The Wright-brothers ran a bicycle business. In their spare time they directed all their attention to aeronautics.

The Wrights saw that there were three problems in realizing their dream of a machine which could fly:

· The first problem was to make wings large enough to lift the weight of the engine and the passenger, and to keep the aircraft in the air.

· The second problem was to find the right engine.

· The third and most important problem was to work out ways of balancing and steering the aircraft in flight.

The Wrights saw that the solution was to provide their aircraft with controllable surfaces similar to those found on aircraft today. They fitted a movable elevator in front of the wings, and a movable tail fin which acted as a rudder. In the beginning of the 20th century, the Wrights began to build a powered flying machine.

2.3 Failure at Kitty Hawk

One year later the flying machine was ready to take off. Its name was Flyer I. The wingspan of Flyer I was twelve metres. It was powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine. The engine drove two wooden propellers fitted behind the wings. The pilot lay on his stomach. Flyer I had no wheeled undercarriage. It would take off from a set of wheels mounted on a rail track, and land on skids shaped like skis.

On a December-day, Wilbur Wright tried to take off. But he made a disastrous mistake. Flyer I could not take off and crashed into the sand hills near Kitty Hawk in North Carolina.

When the damages of Flyer I were repaired, it was Orville Wright’s turn to take off. His try was successful and the first powered flight was fourty-two metres long. On the same day they tried it again and again. The result was a 260 metres-long flight by Wilbur Wright. The top speed was forty-eight kilometres per hour. On the end of this day, the first powered aircraft was taken by the wind and crashed without a pilot. So the Wright's went back to their drawing board to design Flyer II.

But the successful flight did not make headline news all over the world. Most people thought that it would be impossible for small-town enthusiasts. If it was possible, it would be done by trained engineers. If engineers were not able to realize the dream of powered aircraft, how could it be done by people who were not engineers? But the Wright's continued improving their aircraft. With Flyer II and Flyer III, they increased the length of their flights and the manoeuvrability of their aircraft in the air. A few years later Flyer III flew for a total of thirty-eight minutes, covering thirty-eight kilometres. The flight included demonstrations of turning, circling and flying a figure.

At that time the Wrights wanted to go into business. But they had found no one who wanted to buy a powered aircraft. The United States Army was also not interested. So Wilbur Wright travelled to Europe by ship with a demonstration machine. The kings of some European countries watched the demonstration. The Daily Mail, an English newspaper, reported about the aircraft. Everyone was talking about flying. So the Wrights had all the publicity they needed - the air age had arrived.

In World War I aircraft, which could reach speeds approaching 161 kilometres per hour, were used. They played a small but important part in that war. The aircraft were needed to make weapons more efficient, for example to carry heavy bombs deep into the enemy territory.

The years after World War I were a time when aviators competed with each other to score ‘firsts’. But aircraft were not only used for record-breaking. They were very useful as a profitable means of transport. For example, the first airmail service began a few years after the invention of Flyer III in Britain.

The first airlines were also founded at that time, for example in countries like Britain, France and the Netherlands, which had large empires scattered across the world. The first passenger planes were tiny. They could usually carry only eight passengers. Often bombers of World War I were fitted with seats for carrying passengers. But soon the aircraft industry began to build planes specially designed for comfortable passenger travel.

Because of the long distances in the United States, air travel really took off. American aircraft builders moved into the lead. They built the Douglas DC3, also called the Dakota. It became the most widely used plane among the world's airlines, carrying mail or passengers over short distances.

Meanwhile, an entirely different kind of aircraft had appeared: the helicopter. Helicopters use spinning rotor blades to move forward and also to hover. Sir George Cayley began to work on the idea of the helicopter some 300 years after Leonardo da Vinci, who made unrealistic plans of helicopters. In the middle of the 19th century, Cayley produced a steam-powered design, but it was never built. A real helicopter had to await the invention of the internal combustion engine.


The idea of an engine producing power by shooting out a stream of gases and compressed air is old. It is said that Sir Isaac Newton thought about at the end of the 17th century. Two hundred years later, an aeroplane driven by steam jets was designed, although it was never built. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, the gas turbine was invented. This works by using hot exhaust gases to drive a turbine, in a similar way to the jet engine. Gas turbines were used in industry, and some people began to wonder if they could be adapted to power aircraft.

Jet-engined aircraft flew fast and moved swiftly into action. So they were a very efficient weapon in surprising the enemies. The first jet-engined aircraft of Britain was the Gloster Meteor. The first German jet-engined aircraft was the Messerschmidt 262 and the first aircraft of Russia using the powerful jet-engine was the MiG 15.

After World War II the jet technology that had been developed for use in warplanes could be applied to civilian aircraft. Piston engines needed a huge amount of fuel and they could not fly very high. Jet-airliners need less fuel and they are able to fly high above the clouds, so flying is more comfortable because of avoiding bad weather.

When the aircraft were able to carry larger numbers of passengers, the cost of air travel fell. So more people could afford travelling by plane.

The jet engine developed more and more. Aircraft became faster and faster. The world's major airforces had a new target: They wanted to break the sound barrier, which is about 1160 kilometres per hour. The first plane which broke the sound barrier was an American Bell X-1 aircraft.

But not only military aircraft are able to fly at supersonic sounds. Also airlines wanted to use such fast planes. But as a means of transport, such aircraft are very expensive. Only two have ever gone into service - the Concorde and the Tupolev 144. Both planes were disappointments. The Tupolev 144 had technical problems and the Concorde has never earned the money that was spent on it.

2.5 Rockets

Like a jet engine, a space rocket uses the backward rush of exhaust gases to propel itself forward. A jet engine uses the oxygen which exists in the atmosphere to burn the fuel. A space rocket contains its own supply of oxygen.

A major problem was to make the rockets powerful enough to leave the atmosphere of our earth. The solution of that problem was the liquid fuel. The main parts of those liquid fuels were oxygen and hydrogen.

Germany was the world leader in rocket-technology. The USA and the USSR got German specialists. The division of knowledge about rockets led to the ‘space race’ of the 1960's and 1970's between the two superpowers.

The first target was to break free of the earth's gravitation pull. The USSR's Sputnik 1 became the first satellite to achieve this. Russia scored first and so America's rocket team, led by Wernher von Braun redoubled its efforts. The first American satellite was the Explorer 1.

The first living passenger in space was a dog named Laika in the Sputnik 2. The first human in space was Yuri Gagarin from Russia. The first humans landed on the surface of the moon were the US-astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins.

3.1 What are Human Rights?

Human beings are all different, of course. Some are stronger than others some have dark skin, some have light skin; there are different religions they belive in; there are man and women, adults and children. But however we are, surley none of us should be treated unfairly or cruelly?

To protect all of these different creatures we have got human rights.

3.2 Legal, Moral and Human rights

A right entitles us to have or to do certain things. Rights can be divided into three main groups: the legal, moral and human rights.

3.2.1 Legal Rights

Legal Rights are rights laid down in laws. For that reason, legal rights are the most solid of all rights, because they can be defended in a national court of law. Most, but not all, legal rights are written down. The basic legal law in some countries is a written constitution or bill of rights (like Germany or the United States of America). In these documents the countries have written down what citizens are allowed to do. British law works the other way round (like everything). There is nothing like a basic law guaranteeing people’s rights. In Britain people have the right to do everything, unless a law is forbidding it.

3.2.2 Moral Rights

In contrast to legal rights, moral rights are not facts, but are based on general principles of fairness and justice. A moral right may or may not be supported by the law of the land. Some of the moral rights are claimed by people in particular situations. They are not rights that can be claimed by all peoples in all situations. What the law lays down can sometimes conflict with what people see as their moral rights.

3.2.3 Human Rights

Human rights apply to all people at all times in all situations, so they are universal moral rights. By definition, human rights are not earned, bought or inherented. Human rights are possessed by everybody in the world because they are human. People are equally entitled to them regardless of their gender, race, colour, language, national origin, age class or religious creed.

Some human rights are more important than others. The right to life is the most basic of all, without it all other rights are in danger. Freedom of speech or the right to rest and leisure, for instance, count for very little if our right to life is not guaranteed. So the less important rights of one person must end where the basic rights of another person begin.

3.3 American Declaration of Independence and Universal Declaration of Human Rights

When American colonies became independent of Britain they issued a Declaration if Independence. This stated that `all men are created equal´ and have certain rights, including `life, liberty, and the pursiute of happiness´. A few years later another ten articles where added and they called it `The Bill of Rights´.

This was the foundation for the American Declaration of Independence. I want to give you a quotation from the American Declaration of Independence now:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Many of the major problems we face today require international co-operation, so we need international commissions, conferences and organisations to solve these problems.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of these international operations. Spurred on the bloodshed and horror of the Second World War, the nations planned the details of an international organisation, the United Nations, which would work for a better and more peaceful future. A United Nations Charter, defining the purposes, principles, methods and structures of the new organisation, was signed by fifty nations in 1945.

Because of the inhumanity in the Second World War, the international protection of human rights was seen as one essential precondition of world peace. In 1946, the United Commission on Human Rights was founded to prepare an "international bill of rights".

The Commission worked out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948, as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations".

Before 1948, a person was subjected to the laws of the nation. If those laws violated her or his rights, there was no internationally accepted organisation to help these people. With the Declaration of the Human Rights, the rights of a person are established regardless of what the law of the nation says. So it overrules the national laws.

3.4 Human Rights in Danger

Everybody knows about the violation against the human rights in the not „non-civilised“ countriesm, like South Africa with their apartheid political system and Latin America, where people are tortured every day. Also in Europe we must see that human rights are in danger. Since 1990, there has been a bloody war in Yugoslavia, where the human rights were abused. Western organisations and nations were not able to stop that war for years. The Western European countries have no clean human-rights record. They did not want to have the refugees in their countries, so they sent them back their home countries where they are persecuted. Also some minorities are not treated equally in the Western countries (like the gypsies in most European countries).

Another force against human rights developed in the last few years, the economical interests. Western firms only work for more profit, without regard for human needs and rights.

3.5 Human Rights Organisations
3.5.1 Amnesty International

Amnesty was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a Catholic lawyer who had English and Russian parents. Benenson hit upon the idea of working for the release of people imprisoned for their beliefs by means of letter-writing campaigns.

At the end of 1961, Amnesty International groups had been established in twelve countries (ten Western European countries, Australia and the USA). Benenson had also designed the symbol of the organisation, the candle in barbed wire.

Today, Amnesty has over 250,000 members in about 140 countries. The International Secretariat, in London, numbers 150 employees, nearly half of them involved in researching the details in human rights violations. Amnesty groups are strongest and most active in Western Europe.

Amnesty’s aims and techniques have changed since its foundation.

Its fundamental concern is to achieve the immediate release of political prisoners.

It also works to ensure that political prisoners are given a fair and prompt trail.

Its third aim is to seek the abolition of the death penalty and the elimination of the use of torture.
3.5.2 The Anti-Slavery Society
3.5.3 Helsinki Watch

3.6 Vocabulary


Abschaffung, Aufhebung



barbed wire










death penalty



Entscheidung, Entschluß




ehemalig, früher


unveräußerlich, unverkäuflich








Spielraum, hier: Macht



to claim

fordern, beanspruchen

to demand

fordern, verlangen

to endow


to entitle


to establish

festsetzen, errichten, gründen

to imprison


to persecute


to reunite


to subject

unterwerfen, abhängen

to violate

verletzen, brechen


hier: Strafprozeß




4.1 Letters
4.1.1 Why was a writing system introduced?

The primary cause for inventing writing was to record official matters such as taxes, payments for trading goods or details of ownerships. It took nearly three thousand years after the invention until people began to use writing in more imaginative ways such as for poetry or literary works.

4.1.2 First beginnings ... In Mesopotamia

About 5,500 years ago, the Sumerians in Mesopotamia were the first who invented writing. In the beginning, they scratched marks on limestone tablets but later they began to use soft clay tablets as their main writing material.

At first the writing system looked like pictures where each picture represented an object. The scribes had to know more than 2,000 symbols to write. This way of writing was very difficult because you had to know so many symbols and their meanings and it was not possible to add any descriptive information.

Later the Mesopotamians began to develop a more abstract system of wedge-shaped symbols - known as “Cuneiform“ writing. The Cuneiform was invented because scribes started to write with a stylus and you were not able to make recognizable drawings with it. The stylus was made of reed or wood and had a wedge-shaped tip. The main advantage was that scribes now had to learn “only“ 600 symbols.

4.1.3 The big breakthrough

These early forms of writing could only be read or written by very few people because it was difficult for people to master so many symbols. The big breakthrough in the history of writing came when people realized that all the syllables were made of only a few sounds. Each sound could be represented by a symbol (= letter). This discovery took place in 1600 BC and this was the beginning of the alphabet. Through this simplification, writing was from this time within the grasp of everyone.

4.1.4 The alphabet

The Greeks were the first that introduced vowels and consonants in their script and so the alphabet contained 26 letters. They began to write in horizontal lines from left to right. The word alphabet comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. The alphabet evolved as time went by and so you will be able to see many similarites between the Greek alphabet and the one we use today. The reason for some changes was that the letters of the alphabet were suited to the material they used to write on. If letters were carved in stone, it was easier to use straight. For writing on papyrus or parchment however, a more rounded style flowed better.

4.1.5 The exception of today´s writing systems

One script has developed in a way separate from the rest - the Chinese script. It doesn´t have an alphabet - it only consists of thousands of symbols, like the ancient form of writing. Over the years the script has become more complicated. At the beginning it contained 2,500 symbols. Today there are about 50,000 different symbols. This form of writing using pictures is difficult to learn for writing, but it has an advantage when you read it. In our scripts you have to know the language to understand the words. But the Chinese writing represents a word with a symbol instead of spelling it out, so that people do not have to speak the same language to understand it, and that is the reason why it has spread over the Far East.

4.2 The Book

The development of the book was closely related to the development of the letters. In the beginning, about 2,000 BC, people used clay tablets as writing material. The first books were made of these clay tablets but this was not a very practical material for producing books.

4.2.1 Materials Papyrus

People began to search for better writing materials with a more useful surface to write on. About 3,500 BC, the ancient Egyptians discovered that the papyrus reed which grew by the River Nile could be made into a form of paper. The papyrus reed grows up to three metres and has a thick stem filled with a white spongy pith that could be made to a thin sheet of writing material. This writing material was named after the reed and gave us the English word “paper“. For writing, scribes used a reed pen that was dipped into ink.

Papyrus became quickly known as a new writing material and was exported all over the world. It became the most important writing material and was used for thousands of years. But papyrus had a big disadvantage: The papyrus reed grew only wild in Egypt and because of this fact, all other countries had to import the reed from Egypt. So they were dependent on the supply of the Egyptians. If Egypt stopped supplying papyrus, then scribes in the rest of the world would not have something to write on. Parchment

A legend claims that this happened to the King of Pergamun about 160 BC because the Pharaoh of Egypt was jealous of the library at Pergamun. So the King of Pergamun ordered his people to find a new writing material for his scribes.

The result was that they used the skin of sheeps, goats or calves to make a type of paper called parchment. The scribes used a quill pen, which was made from a goose feather, to write. The sheets of parchment were sewn together into a book, protected by a cover made of wood or leather. And so, the book as we know began to appear. Paper

The next important invention was from the Chinese. The Chinese were responsible for one of the most important developments in the history of the book: the invention of the paper as we know it today.

The first paper was made in China about 50 AC. Old fishing nets, hemp and rags were beaten in water until they were a pulp of fibres. This pulp was spread on to a bamboo screen. The water drained through the screen and left a mat of fibres. Under high pressure, the rest of the water was pressed out of the fibres and then the paper dried in the sun. It happened some hundreds of years before the secret of paper-making reached the West and even then, it was by lucky chance. During the Siege of Samarkand in 768 AC, Arabs conquered the city and captured many Chinese prisoners. Among these prisoners there were some paper-makers who passed on the secret of paper-making. Up to the twelfth century, there were paper-making factories all over the world.

4.2.2 Effects of the books

Through books, it was suddenly possible to spread information to a wider audience. People began to use writing in more imaginative ways such as for poetry or literary works.

But people also became hungry for more knowledge and began to question the ideas of the past. For example, they began to question the behaviour of the powerful Roman Catholic Church. Influential thinkers published pamphlets attacking the Church for taking too much money from followers into its own pockets. These pamphlets helped to wake up the people and brought the end of the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church.

The development of books marks a milestone in our evolution. Before that, you had to believe what the oldest people told you about the time before. So you could only learn as much as they were able to remember about the past. In books you could restore knowledge for yourself and succeeding generations. So further inventions could be made because scientists could continue the work of someone else without knowing him. Another advantage was that knowledge was available to all people who were interested in it. Because of these and a lot of other facts, we could not imagine a world nowadays without letters and books.

4.3 Vocabulary

a matter of course

eine Selbstverständlichkeit



brief survey

kurze Übersicht




Ton, Lehm





graps of

in der Reichweite von













pulp of fibres

Brei aus Fasern

pumice stone











hier: Gitter


Schreiber, Gelehrter




Haut, Schale













to be jealous

eifersüchtig sein

to coat


to evolve


to scratch


to soak


to suit

hier: anpassen

to treat





keilförmig zugespitzte

5.1 Introduction

First I want to say that communication links between people have always been important.

Today we live in the Communications Age and we owe this to inventors in the last century.

5.2 Ancient times

In ancient times, bonfires on hilltops were used to signalling danger. The North American Indians used smoke signals and the Romans flashed messages with mirrors turned to catch the sun.

5.3 The electronic communication age

The invention of electric power revealed many possibilities for communication. The first telegraph was patented by a British scientist, Sir Charles Wheatstone and an Indian Army Officer, Sir William Cooke, in 1837. It used needles which pointed at different letters in response to electric currents. Some codes were created to communicate with this new invention. In the following picture we can see the different codes.

The Semaphore code, developed in 1794, used a system of moving arms worked by ropes to create symbols for each letter. Samuel Morse’s code could be transmitted along a wire using a key. This code is shown as dots and dashes. The code could also be transmitted with flashing lights. The Five-unit code was developed from the Morse code for using with a teleprinter, an instrument for typing telegraphs to be sent along telephone wires.

Morse established the first telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore in 1844. By the 1860’s telegraph wires connected the East and West Coast of the United States and there was a cable across the Atlantic to Europe.

5.3.1 Transmitting voices

Communication by telegraph was quicker than sending a letter, but slower than speaking to the person directly. If coded messages could be sent along electric wires, could the human voice also be transmitted?

Alexander Graham Bell gave us the answer. He knew that sounds make vibrations on the eardrum which the brain translates to make sense of them. His idea was to make a transmitter with a disc which would vibrate when struck by sound waves, in the same way as the eardrum. Sound vibrations from the transmitter would pass along a wire to a receiver which would also have a vibration disc. This receiver would convert the sound vibrations back into words. On March 6, 1876, the first words were transmitted. The telephone had been invented.

Now, in theory, it was possible to communicate by telephone with anywhere in the world. But one problem was still how to link up telephone lines so that people could ring up anyone they liked.

The answer was a telephone exchange, where lines from different telephone subscribers could be plugged into a switchboard to connect them to each other.

By 1885, there were 140.000 subscribers and 800 telephone exchanges. The first telephone exchanges were manual, which meant that operators sat in the exchange and plugged the lines into a switchboard by hand to connect calls. Today the calls are connected by computers.

5.3.2 Radio waves

In the middle of the nineteenth century, scientists began to examine the idea of transmitting sounds without wires. The first man to introduce the idea of electromagnetic waves was the British scientist, James Clerk Maxwell, who demonstrated that light is an electromagnetic wave and suggested the idea of radio waves. In 1888, the German scientist, Heinrich Hertz, produced and detected radio waves with a simple transmitter.

When Guglielmo Marconi, an Italien electronic engineer, read a newspaper report about electromagnetic waves in 1894, he resolved to find out if these “wireless“ waves could be used to transmit sound. To make the receiver more sensitive to the signals, he connected a long vertical wire with the receiver. Marconi worked on this invention until he managed to send a signal from his house to a field two kilometres away.

Electromagnetic waves such as light and radio waves travel faster than sound. To transmit sound by radio waves, a microphone in a transmitter converts them into electrical signals. The signals pass to an aerial in the transmitter and spread out as radio waves. The aerial on the receiver picks up the waves and a loudspeaker turns them back into sound.

In 1899, Marconi transmitted a message about fifty kilometres across the English Channel and in 1901 he made the first radio link across the Atlantic. In 1920, the Marconi Company broadcast the first British radio programme.

5.3.3 Recording sound

Another new idea was the concept of storing sounds on a solid material so that they could be played over and over again. One of the greatest inventors, Thomas Alva Edison, invented the phonograph for recording and playing sound. He got the idea from the telephone, which had recently been invented. He constructed a recording machine and shouted the word “HELLO“ into it. The sound that came back to him was an indistinct but definite “HELLO“.

Edison’s first recording was the nursery rhyme “Mary had a little lamb“.

5.3.4 Modern communication age

Today, all these methods of communication have moved forward in ways which their inventors could never have imagined. People can now listen to the music of a complete orchestra, with the sound of each instrument faithfully reproduced.

Equipment which produces high quality and accurate sound reproducing is known as high-fidelity or “hi-fi“ equipment.

The latest method of reproducing music is digital recording, which is stored as a digital code and is translated into sound by a computerized player.

The compact disc is the best-known form of digital sound recording. It produces the finest-quality sound available at the moment.

The telephone can link people on opposite sides of the world in seconds, people have telephones in their cars and a telephone which shows a picture of the caller and recipent on a small screen is now becoming available. Documents are fed into a fax machine which turns the text and pictures into electronic signals. The signals are sent along the telephone wires and a fax receiver at the other end turns them back into exact copies of the documents sent.

The latest invention is the Internet with it services like e-mail, the World Wide Web, Usenet, Internet Relay Chat, ...

5.4 Vocabulary


alt, altertümlich


Feuer im Freien


verbreiten (Nachricht)








bestehend, feststehend



extraterrestrial civilizations

außerirdische Zivilisation

hifi (high-fidelity)

hohe (elektr.) Klangtreue

in response





elektr. Stecker, Stöpsel








freigeben, (Geheimnis) aufdecken


sich drehen

spread out





Schalttafel, Telefonzentrale

to receive


wound up


6.1 Introduction

This speech is about hemp, also known as Cannabis, Marihuana, Reefer, Pot, Grass and other terms. For thousands of years this plant was an important resource and medicinal herb for many cultures. Only in our century was hemp defamed by a lobby of businessmen. This action was so perfect, that even today most people believe their lies.

But the ‘Legalize-It’ movement is becoming stronger, so one can say that changes are not far away.

I hope my speech will help to diminish prejudice against hemp.

Hemp is usable in many ways, and there are no real dangers at all. So how was it possible to spread all these lies, and why was it done? There is a simple answer to the why - money.

Hemp is a cheap resource, and the lobby which forced the US-government to outlaw hemp made their money with synthetic pharmaceutics (Bayer: Heroin, Merck: Kokain), paper, chemicals and oil.

The most effective weapon to mislead the public was the Boulevard-press.

They wrote about drug-crazed blacks killing whites or they brought headlines like ‘Marihuana: Assassin of Youth’. Even today, people do believe this and horror stories are still being told. They are lies nonetheless.

6.2 Hemp History

Hemp is the oldest useful plant in human history. The earliest hemp-textiles date back to 8000 B.C. - about this time pottery was invented. The art of making paper out of hemp-fibers was also discovered by the Chinese around 100 B.C. (in Europe paper was invented 1200 years later!).

In most cultures hemp was praised as ‘Weed of the Gods’, which was due to its universal usability and intoxicating effects.

From the Middle Ages until around 1930, nearly all textiles and ship-rigging in Europe and America were made out of hemp-fiber.

There were even times in America when it was mandatory to grow hemp.

And finally, if you take a closer look, you can find HEMP all over the map, like HEMPstead , New HAMPshire and maybe SouthHAMPton or NorthHAMPton.

6.3 What hemp can be used for

What hemp was used for in the past, has already been mentioned, so now I am going to speak about the possible present useages.

6.3.1 Paper

1 hectar of hemp supplies as much cellulose for paper production as 4 hectars of forest. Furthermore only small amounts of harmful chemicals are needed to make hemp-paper.

6.3.2 Fuel

Out of hemp-oil methanole can be produced, which can be used as fuel for nearly all combustion processes. Hemp-fuel is better than fossile-fuel, because no sulfur will be emitted into the atmosphere, only C02 (carbon dioxide). This amount of C02 is the same as that ‘breathed’ by the plant during growth.

6.3.3 Hemp as medicine

It is known that hemp is a helpful herb in treating many diseases, but was first in 1964 discovered responsible for many of the healing effects. Up until today scientists found about 60 substances in hemp of potential therapeutic use.

6.3.4 Other Uses

Hemp-cellulose can be used to create many plastics, which would then be biodegradeable.

Further, it is possible to build whole houses out of hemp. It is a perfect substitute for wood in constructions. A company in France has already built over 300 detached and semi-detached houses (including pipings and furniture) with hemp.

The biochemical possibilities of hemp can be used for thousands of products - from paint to dynamite. This would mean whole new industries, with jobs for thousands and billions in tax revenues.

6.4 The drug THC

Here I come to the point. THC (Tetral Hydro Cannabiol) causes a ‘high’ - this is why it’s illegal. But the importance of hemp as a industrial and medicinal resource far outweight the possible dangers of THC as a drug.

And additionally, these dangers are almost always overestimated.

There are a great number of studies which come to the conclusion that hemp is by far not as dangerous as alcohol or nicotin. Furthermore there is no possibility to become physically addicted to THC. Only a mental addiction is imaginable, but this depends on the personality of the user.

But to say it is completely harmless is wrong too. The possible dangers to one’s health are lung problems, due to smoking, and an increased possibility of injuries to others and oneself, due to carelessness and coordination-problems.

The most often quoted lie is that hemp is a ‘gateway drug’. There is simply no proof for this statement. Just as cigarettes will not lead to cigars or wine will not lead to whisky, so will hemp not lead to heroin or other hard drugs.

6.5 Conclusion

It is not right to prohibit hemp any further. The plant could make the earth a better place if used correctly. It could help regulate the world’s CO2 balance, create new economic conditions in Third World countries and help fighting diseases without chemicals.

It is my opinion that hemp should be totally legalized now to help the world and proceed into a better and greener future.

6.6 Vocabulary




Artefakt (historischer Gegenstand)


Attentäter, Mörder

burial object


by means of...

anhand von...



combustion process


crude oil







grüner Star






zwingend, vorschreibend

medicinal herb

Heilpflanze / Heilkraut









to defame

verachten, Rufmord begehen

to despise


to prove



Verwendbarkeit, Brauchbarkeit

useful plant




7.1 Introduction

Surrounded by the huge Pacific Ocean, New Zealand lies far away from other countries. The nearest country is Australia and that is 1600 km away. The country which is as large as Germany has a population of only 3 ¼ million. It seems unbelievable that early Polynesian explorers, many centuries before the first Europeans came here, found this land at all. These early explorers were the early ancestors of the Maori.

7.1.1 The first settlers

The first Polynesian who arrived at New Zealand about 1000 years ago were hunters. They moved from place to place and lived on fish, birds and fruit. Later they settled in villages and grew sweet potatoes and other plants in gardens. As the population became larger and fertile land became important, tribes began to fight over the land. To defend themselves, they built villages on hills, which they protected by fences and called ‘pa’.

Although there were names for the individual tribes, before the Europeans came there was no name for the first New Zealanders. The word ‘maori’, which means ordinary or normal, was only used after the Europeans arrived.

Most Maori welcomed the first Europeans and traded with them. They were happy to have tools made of metal. Some Europeans were missionaries who wanted the Maori to be Christians. When the missionaries turned Maori, which had been an oral language so far, into a written language, many Maori in fact became Christians simply because they wanted to learn to read and write. Unfortunately, the Europeans also brought illnesses, alcohol and guns. Because of these things, the Maori population became smaller. When the tribes fought each other with guns, many more of them were killed.

7.1.2 The invasion of the Europeans

Not all of the first Europeans came to stay. Some came to hunt for seals and whales, others to find gold or take back flax and wood.

Most people who came to settle on farms did not know what they had to expect. Some were told that once they had cleared the land of trees, they would be given land for farms. But they had no idea what New Zealand bush was like. It was very hard to clear the land without machines to help them. People often had accidents or got lost in the bush and were never found.

The women settlers were hard-working and independent. Some women came to New Zealand on their own. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote, which was in 1863.

7.1.3 The Treaty of Waitangi

In 1840, a treaty was signed between the Maori and the Queen of Great Britain, called the Treaty of Waitangi. The treaty is an important part of New Zealand history as it made New Zealand a British colony. There is still a lot of discussion about it and people disagree about its meaning. One reason for this is that the Maori translation which the chiefs signed is different from the English. The chiefs did not realize that they were giving their full powers to the Queen, but thought they would have the same rights as British people, and that their land would be protected. Some chiefs did not sign at all because they were suspicious of the treaty. Those chiefs that actually signed were given two blankets each and some tobacco. Although the treaty said that the Maori would remain owners of their land, once it was signed the British tried to get as much land as possible.

7.1.4 The Maori struggled for their land

Many immigrants came to New Zealand because they expected to be able to buy cheap land. Some settlers simply took land which was not being used by the Maori for farming. Others bought land for small amounts of money and some paid only one member of the tribe for land that was owned by the whole tribe. When the Maori realized that the promises that were made to them were not kept, they started to defend their land. Wars between colonists and Maori were the result - and these wars gave the British government an excuse to take even more land. The government also made laws which made it easier for them to take, buy or control Maori land. Many Maori thought that what was happening was the opposite of what the treaty said. Over the 150 years since it was signed, the Maori have struggled to keep their land.

7.1.5 Maori today

Today the Maori still have many problems. They are often poorer than the Pakeha. Pakeha is the name of the white inhabitants of New Zealand. Many of then Maori had to leave their land and go to the cities to find jobs. There they found it hard to keep their language and culture alive. Although the Maori have solved some of these problems themselves, they are now a minority and still don’t have the political power to control their own future.

7.1.6 God´s own country

The money that New Zealand earned from farming was used to help other New Zealanders in the 1930s. Old people were given pensions. Visits to doctors and hospitals were free for everyone and cheap houses were made available. Life was made easier for many people.

Later, when there were plenty of jobs, it became popular to describe New Zealand as ‘God´s own country’. ‘God´s own’ sounded like ‘Godzone’ and this name is still used as a joke by New Zealanders, although New Zealand is no longer such a rich country.
7.1.7 Dumping of nuclear waste

Since the Second World War, there have been about 200 nuclear explosions in the Pacific region. Although Britain and the USA have stopped testing their nuclear weapons here, France continues to test in the Pacific. Since 1975, these tests have been underground. Many New Zealanders are worried about the effect of these nuclear tests on the environment.

Since 1985 nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered ships have not been allowed into New Zealand harbours. When a visit by the United States warship was refused, the relationship between the two countries, which before had always been friendly, was affected.

7.2 Some call it paradise

Almost everywhere the scenery is beautiful. The weather is sunny, but not too hot - even in winter it only snows in the mountains. No matter where you live in this country, you are always close to the sea. There are many empty beaches along the rocky coastline and a lot of small islands in the sea that are home to birds and seals only. Some islands are nature reserves and people must have permission to visit them. No wonder that New Zealand seems like paradise to many people.

7.2.1 Different landscapes

In part of the North Island is one of the world´s most active volcanic zones. There are geysers which can blow water up to 30m high. There are many extinct volcanoes in New Zealand, too. The city of Auckland is built on old volcanoes. New Zealand´s largest lake, Lake Taupo, is the crater of a volcano. The South Island is divided by a mountain group called the Southern Alps. Here is Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, which is over 3700m high. A number of glaciers can be found in the Southern Mountains.

7.2.2 Outdoor activities

The long coast and the many lakes, rivers and harbours are perfect for water sports. Kiwis enjoy sailing, diving, water-skiing, windsurfing and fishing.

7.2.3 Some New Zealand animals

New Zealand is known for its unusual birds. Many of them cannot fly! Before the Europeans came to the country, New Zealand used to have many more unusual birds that did not live anywhere else. The European settlers, however, did a lot of damage to the bird population. They cut down much of the forests in which the birds lived and they brought cats, rats and other animals which killed many birds. Some species did not survive. Even today, when people try to save birds species, 30 percent of the birds are in danger of dying out.

New Zealanders are often called Kiwis, yet very few have ever seen a kiwi outdoors. This is because these flightless birds live in the bush and only come out at night.

Several kinds of parrots live here. The kakapo, another flightless bird, is the heaviest parrot in the world. Only 60 of these birds are now alive. The kea is a parrot which lives in the mountains. Most tourists think that the keas are funny, but they need to keep an eye on these birds. Keas steal things from open tents and destroy things like windscreen wipers.

But it is not only birds that are typical of New Zealand. There are seals, sea-lions, dolphins, whales and many kinds of fish that live in the sea surrounding the islands; the so-called Hector´s dolphins are only found here.

New Zealanders are thankful that there are no snakes living here. The only poisonous animal is the katipo spider and very few people have ever been bitten.

7.2.4 Paradise in danger

Because New Zealand has such a small population, pollution has often been ignored. Raw sewage in many places still goes into the sea and only recently has attention been drawn to the dumping of harmful chemicals (nuclear waste).

Another problem is that many tourists come to New Zealand because of the untouched nature. But the environment of New Zealand is polluted by these tourists.

7.3 Kiwi - 3 definitions:

1. Name for a New Zealander

2. A flightless bird

3. The fruit

7.4 V


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