Н. А. Новик american culture course Pack Американская культура Курс лекций

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Н.А. Новик


Course Pack
Американская культура

Курс лекций

на английском языке

Минск: 2014

Рецензенты: Могиленских Н.П., заведующий кафедрой межкультурной экономической коммуникации, кандидат филологических наук, доцент

Рекомендовано кафедрой профессионально ориентированной английской речи

Новик, Н.А.

Американская культура =Аmerican culture. Курс лекций на английском языке / Н.А.Новик. - Минск: БГЭУ, 2014. – 119 с.

Предлагаемый вниманию читателей курс лекций представляет собой учебное пособие по дисциплине «Культура страны изучаемого языка». В нем приводятся интересные, полезные и новейшие сведения о настоящем и прошлом Соединенных Штатов, культуре американцев, национальной политике, языке, вкладе иммигрантов в формирование американского государства и менталитета, т.д. Тексты информативны, сопровождаются словарем, кратким содержанием и ключевыми вопросами по теме. В каждую тему включена дополнительная информация, которая может быть использована на семинарских занятиях. При подготовке издания использованы оригинальные источники информации - в т.ч. книги, периодические издания и Интернет.

Пособие предназначено для студентов, изучающих английский язык и межкультурную коммуникацию, для преподавателей, переводчиков, персонала туристических фирм, деловых людей, туристов и просто для тех, кто изучает английский язык.

Culture n.
1. a. The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.

b. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.

c. These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.

d. The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.

e. The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next.

2. Intellectual and artistic activity and the works produced by it.

3. a. Development of the intellect through training or education.

b. Enlightenment resulting from such training or education.

4. A high degree of taste and refinement formed by aesthetic and intellectual training.

5. Special training and development: voice culture for singers and actors.

6. The cultivation of soil; tillage.

7. The breeding of animals or growing of plants, especially to produce improved stock.

8. Biology a. The growing of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium. b. Such a growth or colony, as of bacteria.
Usage Note: The application of the term culture to the collective attitudes and behavior of corporations arose in business jargon during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Unlike many locutions that emerge in business jargon, it spread to popular use in newspapers and magazines. Its usage in the corporate world may also have been facilitated by increased awareness of the importance of genuine cultural differences in a global economy, as between Americans and the Japanese, that have a broad effect on business practices.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

LECTURE 1. The U.S.A. and Its Cultural Regions 7

LECTURE 2. The United States - Nation of Immigrants 23

LECTURE 3-4. The United States Culture 44

LECTURE 5. American English 79

LECTURE 6. Tourist Attractions in the United States 101



What is culture? And how does it affect us? We encounter and make use of the word culture several times a day and in very different contexts. We attend cultural programs, discuss cultural differences as well as agricultural practices, read about the danger of cults and cultivate good or bad habits. Even when standing in the dairy section of the supermarket we are confronted with live and active cultures while searching for the right yoghurt to buy!

Reflecting its Latin origin in the word cultus, past participle of colere - meaning to inhabit, cultivate, foster, worship or take care of the term culture holds numerous meanings throughout various disciplines such as sociology, cultural anthropology, biology and agriculture.

But for the purpose of intercultural relations and research, how do we define culture and how does it impact us? Is it the way we dress? The way we eat or prepare food? The kind of cars we like to drive or other means of transportation we might prefer? Culture is all these things and much more.

In fact, most everything we do is influenced by culture: the way we give and receive information, use time and space, or view authority: Culture is a framework of behavioral patterns, values, assumptions and experiences shared by a social group.

Culture is a mostly automatically or unconsciously applied orientation system of collective values, which makes its group members’ behavior comprehensible and to a certain degree predictable for each other.

Culture is communication, it impacts how we send and interpret messages,

Culture shapes human conduct within a cultural group.

Culture is something we learn.

Culture is like mental software and has accordingly been defined as “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others”.

Culture acts as a kind of filter or lens through which we view others, affecting the way we see them and creating multiple perspectives.

Culture is often compared to an iceberg. Like the tip of an iceberg, visible aspects of culture such as behavior, eating habits, or clothing are easy to see. Under the surface, however, hides a huge and potentially fatal portion made up of beliefs, values, customs, experiences and assumptions. Knowledge of the deeper parts of the iceberg helps us understand the “why” behind the behavior. It enables us to make more informed evaluations of global counterparts and avoid misunderstandings that can waste time and damage relationships.

Awareness of our own cultural conditioning and knowledge about other cultural systems build the foundation of cross-cultural training while paving the path towards cross-cultural competence.


This lecture will cover the following items:

  • the U. S. political geography

  • origin of states' names

  • the U.S. capital and largest cities

  • large country with many differences

  • cultural regions: the Northeast, the South, the West, the Midwest, the Southwest

  • Americanization,

Key Words and Proper Names: affiliation, arid (semi-arid), contiguous county, cradle, drainage, encompass, extant political entities, forested ridges, gorge, insular, parish, statehood, township, tributary, urban sprawl; coextensive, cultural identity, converge, drawl, homogenizing influence, intermixing of cultures, level off regional differences, metro area, pronounced peculiarities, resentment, reverence for the past, , tolerance, unsophisticated;

Martin Waldseemüller, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Wolfe; Sunbelt and Frostbelt.

Native American tribes; the Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondacks, the Cordilleran system, the Great Plains, the Interior Highlands, the Interior Plains, the Ozark Plateau, the Intermountain Plateaus, the Laurentian Highlands, the Rocky Mountains; the Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie), the St. Lawrence River, the Mississippi-Missouri rivers; the Colorado Desert, the Great Basin, the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert.
The United States of America is a constitutional federal republic, it comprises 50 states and one federal district, and has several territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.

To call the country as America is not absolutely correct. It is called as the United States, the U.S., the U.S.A., the U. S. of A., America, the States, or (poetically) Columbia depending on a degree of formality

In 1507, German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller made a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere as "America" after Amerigo Vespucci, Italian explorer and cartographer. The former British colonies first used the country's modern name in the Declaration of Independence, the "unanimous Declaration of the 13 united States of America" adopted by the "Representatives of the united States of America" on July 4, 1776. The current name was finalized on November 15, 1777, when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, they state, "The Stile (name) of this Confederacy shall be 'The United States of America."

The United States of America is the third largest country in the world after Russia and Canada with an area of 9,826,630 (9.8) sq km.

The estimated U.S. population as of July 2013 was over 316,590,000 people. So, in size of population it is also the third in the world behind China and India.

The US political geography: The U.S. has the longest undefended ground border in the world with Canada and also shares a long ground border with Mexico.

The country is divided into three distinct sections:

a) the continental United States also known as the lower 48;

b) Alaska, which is physically connected only to Canada,

c) and the archipelago of Hawaii in the central Pacific Ocean.

49 states (all except Hawaii) lie on the North American continent; and 48 of them (all except Alaska) are contiguous and form the continental United States.

The state’s names are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Now look at the names of the states again and listen to the song.

As said above, the U.S. also holds several other territories, districts and possessions, first of all, the federal district called the District of Columbia, which is the nation’s capital, and several overseas areas, the most significant of which are Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands. The U.S. Navy has held one military base called Guantanamo at an occupied portion of Guantanamo Bay on Cuba since 1898.

The 50 U.S. states vary widely in size and population. The largest states in area are Alaska with an area of 1.7 ml sq km, followed by Texas, and California. The smallest state is Rhode Island, with an area of 4,002 sq km. The state with the largest population is California (35.8 ml people), followed by Texas, and New York. Only a bit more than 500,000 people live in Wyoming, which is also the least populous state. New Jersey, on the other hand, is the most densely populated state.

A few words about the origin of some states’ names. State names speak to the circumstances of their creation. We may find:

British names. Southern states on the Atlantic coast originated as British colonies named after British monarchs: Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland. Some northeastern states, also former British colonies, take their names from places in the British Isles: New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York.

Native American names. Many states' names are those of Native American tribes or are from Native American languages: Nebraska, Kansas, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Connecticut, Missouri, Idaho, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Mississippi, Texas, Utah, and others.

Spanish names. Many states in the southeast and southwest have Spanish names, because they are on territories previously controlled by Spain or Mexico. They include Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, California and Nevada.

French names. Because it was previously a French colony, Louisiana is named after the Louis XIV (King of France at the time).

Washington, D.C., or the District of Columbia (also known as the Nation's Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the U.S.A.

Washington, D.C. is a part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. It should not be confused with the U.S. state of Washington, located in the Pacific Northwest.

The District of Columbia is a federal district. As specified by the U.S. Constitution, the District is ruled by the U.S. Congress, though it is unrepresented in that body. The population of the District of Columbia is more than 5 mln people.

The centers of all three branches of the U.S. federal government are situated in Washington, D.C., as well as the headquarters of most federal agencies. Washington also serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States, and other international (and national) institutions. Washington is also the site of numerous national landmarks, museums, and is a popular destination for tourists.

Largest cities: The U.S. has dozens of major cities, including several important global cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The figures expressed below are for populations within 10 city limits (as of October 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates).






New York City




Los Angeles




















Washington, D.C.















Extensive areas of urban sprawl exist in larger metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and New York City.

The U.S. politics: The states are generally divided into smaller administrative regions, including counties, cities and townships, with the exception of Louisiana, where counties are called parishes, and incorporate cities, villages, towns. Altogether, there are an estimated 85,000 extant political entities in the U.S. including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special districts.

The U.S. politics is represented by 50 state governments plus the government of the District of Columbia, and further down the ladder are still smaller units that govern counties, cities, towns, boroughs and villages.

Like the national government, state governments have three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial; these are roughly equivalent in function and scope to their national counterparts. The chief executive of a state is the governor, elected by popular vote typically for a four-year term (although in a few states the term is two years).

All states have a bicameral legislature, the upper house is usually called the Senate and the lower house is called the House of Representatives, the House of Delegates, or the General Assembly, except for Nebraska, which has a unicameral legislature.

There are three general types of city government: the mayor-council, the commission, and the council-manager. These are the pure forms; many cities have developed a combination of two or three of them. Almost all city governments have some kind of central council, elected by the voters, an executive officer or mayor, assisted by various department heads, to manage the city’s affairs, a judge as well as a sheriff to provide law enforcement services.

51st state: The phrase 51st state refers to the territories considered candidates for addition to the 50 states of the country. Sometimes it is used in a serious political context, but often it has a humorous or a negative meaning referring to associates, which act based on American influences, such as Israel, Canada or the United Kingdom.

The District of Columbia is widely recognized to be one of the most likely candidates for statehood. The term is also used in Canada and other countries as a term signifying excessive negative American influence. In Europe, people who believe their local or national culture has become too Americanized sometimes use the term “51st state” in critical reference to their respective countries and governments.

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