Geographical Position of Belarus
Belarus is situated in the eastern part of Europe. It covers 207 600 sq km and it stretches for 650 km from east to west and for 560 km from north to south. Its area is more than the combined size of Greece, Belgium and Denmark. It borders on Latvia and Lithuania in the north-west, on Russia in the north and east, on the Ukraine in
the south and south-east and on Poland in the west. The population is over 10 million inhabitants. Belarusians constitute 77 per cent of the population. 72 per cent live in cities, the largest of which are Minsk, Gomel, Brest, Vitebsk, Grodno and Mogilev.
Minsk is the capital of the republic of Belarus, its political, economic, scientific and cultural centre. It's one of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the republic. Minsk is situated on the river Svisloch and occupies an area of 200 sq km. Its population is about 1,8 million.
Our native land is remarkably beautiful with its blue lakes and ribbons of rivers edged with thick forests, with its endless expanses of fields, meadows and swamp, with its varied and plentiful animal and plant life. There are some 3,000 rivers flowing over the territory of Belarus. The total length of all the rivers is approximately 50,000 km. All rivers of the republic belong to the sea-basins of the Black and Baltic seas. The longest rivers are the Dnieper, the Nieman, the Zapadny Bug and the Zapadnaya Dvina.
The republic has over 10,000 lakes. The largest of them are the Naroch, the Osweyskoye and the Drisvyaty. There are a great number of lakes in the north-west of the republic, in the so-called Belarusian Polessye. More than a quarter of the republic's area is covered with forest and bushes. The country is famous for its national reservation — Belovezhskaya Pushcha. Dense forests of pines towering to over 50 metres mix with birch and oak groves. Velvety meadows border on many rivers and streams. The pride of the reservation is the auroch, a rare type of animal that has survived since the glacial times. With the exception of a few, kept in open-air enclosures, these animals roam freely within the reservation.
Belarus has a moderate climate with mild, damp winters and warm, damp summers. The average temperature in January is -6°C, and in July it is +18 °C.
The nature of Belarus has suffered much from the nuclear catastrophe that took place in Chernobyl in 1986. The radiation has spoiled its soil and air, rivers and lakes, it has poisoned its flora and fauna. Besides, it has badly affected the health of people and the climate. Nowadays a lot is being done by the numerous charitable funds and associations to provide the people living in the contaminated areas with the proper medical treatment and recreation in summer in Belarus and abroad.
Circle the word in each line which has a different vowel sound. Listen to the teacher and check your answers.
1) cover belong republic suffer
2) native combine provide occupy
3) capital average land nature
4) north border total abroad
5) field health eastern treatment
A. Find international words in the text and write them out. Learn their correct pronunciation.
B. Write out the proper names used in the text (mind the articles)
and transcribe them.
C. Give Russian equivalents to the following word combinations:
the combined size of Greece, Belgium and Denmark; ribbons of rivers edged with thick forests; endless expanses of fields, meadows and swamp; varied and plentiful animal and plant life; national reservation; dense forests of pines; birch and oak groves; velvety meadows; the glacial times; to roam freely; nuclear catastrophe; flora and fauna; charitable funds and associations; contaminated areas; the proper medical treatment.
D. Match the words from A with their opposites from B.
|damp, famous, proper, survive, thick, pride, varied, beautiful, contaminated, endless, rare||shame, ugly, plentiful, clean, limited, thin, die, unknown, improper, dry, uniform|
E. Match the words from A with their synonyms from B.
|affect, stretch, moderate, catastrophe, occupy, constitute, combined, recreation, meadow, plentiful, contaminated, area||disaster, total, rich, territory, rest, poisoned, cover, extend, field, make up, mild, influence|
F. Group the words according to the part of speech they belong
to. What formal signs helped you to decide on the part of speech?
Remarkably, endless, plentiful, inhabitant, reservation, velvety, enclosure, charitable, treatment, recreation, beautiful, national, famous, political, freely, radiation.
G. Find words and expressions in the text with the following
1) to go, move, wander; 2) an area of soft wet land; 3) an area where by law it is forbidden to kill birds and animals; 4) all the plants that grow in a particular region; 5) made dirty, polluted, or poisonous; 6) of different sorts; diverse; 7) intended to help people who are poor or ill, or who need advice and support; 8) smooth and soft like velvet; 9) a group of trees; a small wood.
5. Grammar Focus
A. Write the plural of:
size, territory, length, metre, nationality, grove, bush, auroch, birch, city.
B. Give the comparative and superlative of the adjectives:
beautiful, thick, long, large, great, famous, dense, rare.
C. Give the three forms of the verbs:
to situate, to cover, to come, to belong, to have, to border, to suffer, to take, to live, to spoil, to poison, to do, to provide.
D. Combine the words with the help of the preposition "of".
1) the eastern part a) Greece, Belgium and Denmark
2) the combined size b) the republic
3) the ribbons c) the reservation
4) the territory d) Europe
5) all rivers e) lakes
6) the sea-basins f) pines
7) a great number g) rivers
8) a quarter h) Belarus
9) dense forests i) the republic area
10) the pride j) the Black and Baltic seas
E. Complete the sentences with the right prepositions where
1. The Republic of Belarus borders ... Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, the Ukraine and Poland. 2. The rivers of Belarus belong ... the sea-basins of the Black and Baltic seas. 3. About twenty-five per cent of the republic's area is covered ... forest and bushes. 4. The country is famous ... its national reservation. 5. Dense forests of pines mix ... birch and oak groves. 6. The auroch is the pride ... the reservation. 7. The nature of Belarus has suffered much ... the Chernobyl catastrophe. 8. The disaster has badly affected ... the health of people and the climate. 9. Numerous charitable funds provide the people living in the contaminated areas ... the proper medical treatment.
6. Diving Deeper
A. Agree or disagree with the following statements.
1. Belarus is situated in the western part of Europe. 2. It borders on France. 3. Our native land is remarkably beautiful. 4. Most of the
Belarusian territory is covered with mountains. 5. The aurochs live in the Belarusian Polessye. 6. The aurochs range freely within the reservation. 7. The climate of Belarus is mild. 8. The nature of our country has suffered greatly from the nuclear catastrophe that took place in Chernobyl in 1985.
B. Give detailed answers to the following questions.
1. Where is Belarus situated? 2. What countries does it border on? 3. What is our republic rich in? 4. How many rivers and lakes are there in Belarus? 5. What are the longest and the largest of them?
6. What is the Belarusian Polessye famous for? 7. Where do the aurochs live? 8. What climate do we have in our country? 9. What catastrophe has badly affected the life of many people? 10. What are the consequences of the catastrophe?
Prove the statements using the information from the text.
• Belarus is remarkably beautiful.
• Our country has the right to be called "blue-eyed".
• The nature of Belarus has suffered much.
8. General Comprehension
Read the text and complete the chart with the missing information.