USA Customs and Institutions - complete book guide

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Eustoms and Institutions Ethel Tiers$ MartinTiersky

c0NTIrl|Ts Preface To the Teacher To the Student Acknowledgments

v1l vl11

U|llITI Anitrde$, Ualues, and Lilestyles I 2 3 4 5

The American Character Marciage American St;rle American Family Life American Etiquette What Arnericans Consume

t2 24 36 47

||ltllT2 The $alad Eowl: Biuel'sily inl[eU.$. Cultunal


6 A Nation of Immigrants 7 The African-American 8 Reli$on in American Life

UlllT3 kuels'nin[ I American Eclucation: The First 12 Years IO Higher Education in the U.S.

59 72 83 94 94 106 l1


11 Vacationing in the U.S. 12 Leisure-Time Activities

119 131

||tl|lT5 0wel'nmenlanil l||elmeri0il Ciliruil


13 The Constitution and the Federal System 14 Choosing the Nation's President 15 Citizenship: Its Obligations and Privileges

143 154 166


||ltjll $ T[ettlorlil olAmerican [usiness l6 Capitalism and the American Economy 17 The American Worker 18 High-Tech Communications

1 89 200

||ll[ 7 Amet.ican llolidays:llistony and Customs

27 2

19 ChristopherColumbus:A ControversialHero 2O Halloween: A Time for Scary Fun 21 Thanksgiving and Native Americans 22 The Winter Holiday Season 23 Two Presidents and Two Wars 24 Four Patriotic Holidays Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix



A A Snapshot of More American Holiclays B Units of Measurement:U.S. and Metric C The United States,U.S. Territories, and Outlying Areas D The United States:Map with Time Zones E The Thirteen Original Colonies F U.S. Free and SlaveStatesand Territories. 1860

2r2 224 235 247 259 272 283 285 286 287 288 289

PRTFACI To the Teacher The U.S.A.:Ctstomsand Institutionswas first publishedin 7972.It hasbeen called"a classicin its field," a descriptionthat thrilled its authors.With eachnew edition, the book hasbeenupdatedand expanded.Wefirmly believethat it hasalsoimprovedwith age. Over the decades, the primary goalsofour text haveremainedthe same:to provide newcomersto the United Statesan ovewiew of American culture and traditions and to improve tle readingcomprehensionof nonnative speakersof English.The content strives to crealea gerlerulportrait of the United States,both its virtues and its shortcomings.'Ihe U-S.A-:Customsand Institutiotts answersmany questionstlat foreigners and immigrants ask about this nation and helps them understand Americans better. Teachersfamiliar with the third edition will find the fourth edition similar in terms of topics coveredbut d;fferent in many other ways. One new chapterhasb een addedChapter 18, "Higfr-Tech Communications."All ofthe other chaptershavebeen revised extensively,however,to update statistics,include new research,and explain new attitudesand customs.Althougftrthe book remains a higflr-intermediateto advancedreader, we have tried to deal with sophisticatedideas in the easiestlanguagepossibie.In this editio4 the vocabularyhas been simplified and the sentenc€sshortened to make the content accessibleto a greater nurriber of students. The reaclir4lsremain long enough and difficult enoughto challengeadvancedstudents.However, witl sufficient in-class assistance,studentsin the intermediaterangewill alsobe able to understandand enjoy them. Here are somesalient new featuresthat make the fourth eclition an even more effective teachir4itool: o Prereading discussion quesdons strengthentle backgiroundbrought by students to eachreading and introduce someof the vocabulary used in ihe chapter. o Prereading "Guess" questions arousecuriosity and give studentssomespecific fuformation to look for as they read. . Completely new lllusfiafons-inclutling many photogiraphsand carloonsstimulate discussionand rnakeAnerican culture comealive t}rough visual images and humor. . "check Your comprehenslon" quesdons now follow each sectionof the readingis. Thesequestionsencouragestudentsto reflect upon what they've learned, and teacherscan use them as a starting point for generaldiscussion,paired c,onversation, or writing assignments.

. Exerciseshavebeengreatlyrevisedand are now longerand morevariedin for_ mat. They are alsomoreinteractive,often involvingpairedor small-groupwork and sometimesevengames.In additionto beingmore fun, the exercises arenow broaderin scope.As beforg they emphasizecomprehension, vocabularyidioms, and readingskilis.But now thereis morework with punctuation,phonics,word parts,word endings,writing style,and dictionaryskills. ' Vocabularylists in the "Building YourVocabulary"exercisescontainbrief notes that clarifu confusingword forms,suchas irregularpluralsand wordsusedonly in the plural. . The reading-writingconnectionhasbeenstrengthened in threeways: 1. Everychapterincludesone or two exercises that practicean importantsen_ tencepattern found in the reading. 2. ln the "lssues"secfion(PartA of .,SharingIdeas,'),studentsare askedto dis_ cussmqior controversiesrelatedto the chapter,stopic. After exchangingideas with classmates,they write about one of the issues. 3. In "On a PersonalNote" (PartB of,.SharingIdeas,'),shrdentsareencouraged to write about their reactionsby making cultural comparisons,expressingper_ sonal opiniong and discussingltheir unique experiences.The length of these writingi assignmentsis left for the teacherto decide.For advancedstudents, somewriting topics involve library research. Thz U.S.A.:Customsan"dInstirutions,fourth edition, Lke its predecessors, is designed to $ve teachersmaximum freedomof choice Chapterscan be studied in any order, de_ pending upon studert interest and timeliness. Accompanying this edition of the book is a new Teacher' which includes general teaching tips and a chapter-by-chapterguide that contains background information about the readingand the illustrations, sugjgiestions for additional clas*oorn activities, and answersto the book's exercises.In addition, it contains a reaclingcomprehension quiz for eachchapter.

To the Student This fourth edition of Tlu U.S.A.:Customsand.Institutinnshas two main goals.The first is to introduce you to the lifestyles, attitudes, customs,and traditions of Americans. The secondis to incYease your knowledgeof the most widespreadAmerican customof all-the customof communicatingin En$ish. To accomplishthe first goal,the readings have been updated to $ve you a twenty-first century snapshot of life in the United States.To accomplishthe secondgoal,this new edition contains greatly expandedexercises.They will help you to readwith greaterundersanding, discussyour reactions to *le ideaspresented,learn a specificset of vocabulary words and idioms, and note someimportant conventions of wdtten English.


Thc II.S.A.:Customsand Institutionsdiscussesboth strengthsand weaknessesof American culture.Howeveqits primary intent is to describeand analyzerather than evaluate.It is left to you, the reader,to comparcAmerican wayswith thoseof other cultures and to form opinions about American lifestyles. If your past instruction in English has been in British English,don't worry. The $Mitch to American En$ish will not present major problems.In terms of sentence structure, thesetwo versionsof English are almost the same.British En$ish has more irregular verbs tlran American En$ish (learnt versusleanwd.,for example).There are someminor spelling differences(such as eolour versus color) and some differencesin vocabnlary.(The British lfr is the American elnala4 a British vestis an Ameican undershirt.)Still, you wiil find that British and American Englishare very much the same language. As you probably know, English is rapidly becoming the global languageof our shrinking world. It is spokenby about 1.5billion peopleand is the languageof international communication in business,diplomacy,technology,sports, trav-el,and entertainment. Whereveryou go and whatever you do, your knowledgeof English wili come in handy. anl Institutions, fourth edition, will help you imWe hope that Thz U.S.A.:Custoftzs proveyour understandingof American Engilishand American people.Whether you're living in the United States,visiting the country, workingl or studying with Americans who live in your countgz,or perhapsmssring Americans for the first time in the pa$es of this book, we want to extendyou a warm welcome to the U.S.A.! Ethel Tiersky AssociateProfessor CommunicationsDept. (English & ESL) Harry S. Truman College Chicago,Illinois

Martin Tiersky Attorney-at-Larz Chicago,Illinois

Acknowledgments With iharks to: . our editors, Iaura Ir Dr6an and Michael Ryall, for their expertise,encouragement, and dedication to this project o Marianne Carello ar:tl Mykan White for their photo research; o Andrea Bryant, our developmenteditor, and Sylvia Darg our production editor; o the hundreds of ESL studentsat Harry S. Truman Collegein Chicagowho classroom-testedour book and whose questionstold us what immigrants want to know.



Photo Credits Photographsand Art: p.l o A. Rame,y/Slonei p. lZ photographby David Simm, t!]v,tldt,r 1111.;ri];liiri:,,.;p. 16 o 2000 Reprirted courtesyof Bunny Hoest and paradeMa{ldii,i |. : I I I t,r;r;,.1 Bosl€r/ston€;p. 26 o Reprirltedwith specialpermissionKing F€aturessyndicat€;p. i 6 r 20co lr' N.ri Yorkercollection from Rights Reserved;p. 47 o )eff cretrlr.ri,{)nrri,-,r,ii,-,ilj communications,Inc'; p. 59 o rg89 by Kry Berkson;p. 61 oJosephsohn, chroflosohrr r,c /ci )RIJIS: p. 72 Jenrifet Ge$ard.Coufiesyof Victory GardenTheater.Cheryl Lynr: Frrrcr as lJilri)iir! Il)!,i,r1riri "Voiceof GoodHope;"p.83 Photocourtesyofrh€ NormanRockwellMuseurnrrbrc(krrJili!.,. -ir.r, the Norman RockwellFamily Trusq p. 94 o The sth Wave,www.tle5thwav€.coru;p 97 o 2000 T/ir Ncw Yorkcrcollection from Rights Reserved;p. 106 N( )f.l sl-.ei il'r i-iii i r ,l!. wiley Miller. Dist. by UNTVERSALPRESSSYNDICATE. ReprintedrviLhperuissiorr -,r")lri1|r:, :.,: served;p. 119 (top lefo @Neil Rabinowiu/CoRBtS;.p. 119 (bottom left) ojohn Lamb,/Stone:p. , iti (right) oJanButchofsky-Houser/CORB]S; p. 125 photo by Martin Tiersky; p. 131o 2000 the Nr.,,' ,::: Rockwell Family Trust; p. 143 ojoseph Sohm, ChromoSohmIn.,/CORBIS;p. 1S4Ap/Wide W.:,.1 Photos;p. 156AP,/WideWorld Photos;p. 166Associatedpress,Ap; p. 177 Reprinted*.jrh sir:. :, I : r . missionKing Featur€ssyndicate;p. 180AP,/wide world photos;p. 189AIr/ wrdc \iior lJ f,ii, i.. ,; ,a; Re p ri fl te d w i th s p € c i a l p e rmi s si onl (i ngFeaturesS yndi cate;[email protected] 2000Frpri rrredL,,L ,1,,... r , , . , Hoest and ParadeMagazine;p.212 @ Bertman/coRBlS;p. 224': i(,.\'ii., sclr.. cf,i.i,r(,:.,,.rl I'C,,/CORBIS;p. 235Ted Curtin for Plimoth plantation,plymouth, MA: p. 240 },lolo b.y.Rc,irlt)c\!;r,iir p.247 @ToooStillo,/Omni-PhotoCommunications,I.,"i p- ZS2 AplWide lt7or]dphci{)s._,il:,: ir l:,a-l Archive Photos;p. 264 o Scott T. Smith,/CORBISi p.272. Ke\'tt, \\/crJ (.,rf:i;\. . ,!r.j. Poulides/Stone,o Hulton cetrylstone; p. 276 @Bettman/CORBIS.



t_ t I a

t t I

i i--



I t

I i |JNIT -


and Ualues,

The American Charucter

faces of the U.S.A.:diversity as a way of life

BeroRrYou ReRo Discuss 1. Compare Americans to people in other countries. What differences have you noticed in behavior, attitudes, and values? 2. Look at the headings and subheadings in this chapter. Can you predict what each section might have to say about the U.S. and its residents? 3. Take a survey of the languagesspoken by students in your class. Where in the world are these languagesspoken?

Guess Tryto answerthe questions. rhen lookfor the answers in the reading. l. What is the approximare populatio' of the U.S.?Check(/) one: 725 million _ 2TSmillion _ _ ?smillion 2. Whichis the largesrethnicnri'orify in the U.S.?Check(/) one: _

Hispanics ---


_ African-Americans

The Arnerican Character A Land of Diversity t

WhatareAmericanslike?WhatdoAmericanslike?Theseareverydifferentquestions. In answeringthem, this chapterwill provide a sketchof the Americancharacter.,,But wait,"some readerssay."ln this huge nation of peoplefrom everywhere, is there reallv a nationalcharacter?"Let'stacklethis third questionfirst. 2 Thereis great diversityin the ethnic makeupof America.Nevertheless, manywriters havegeneralized about typical Americanvalues,attitudes,and beliefs.lor example, Mortimer B. Zuckerman,editor-in-chiefof U.S.Neur €-WorldReport, seeshis countryas "a unique culture of self-reliance,independence,resourcefulness, pragmatism,and novelty-"He goes on to describehis fellow Americansin greaterdetail, "We are comfortablewith changeand with peoplewho makethings happen.In America,the new is betterthan the old; takingchargeis valuedover playingit safe;makingmoneyis superior to inheriting it; education and merit are favoredover family ties.,, 3 The most important characteristicof the U.S.A.can be stated in one word: diversity. Most Americans take pride in the great variety found in the country,sgeographyand population.Covering3,700,000 squaremiles (9,590,000 squarekilometers),the the fourth-largestnationin the world {afterRussia,China,and Canada).Within this vast nation are tall mountainsand flat cornfields,desertsand tropical regions,prairiesand forests,ruggedcoastlinesand gentle,rolling hills. Theclimate,too, coversall extremes. In southern Florida,visitors come to swirn and sunbathe in December.In northern Alaska,winter temperaturesmay drop to -75' Fahrenheit(-54" Celsius). 4 with roughly 275 million people,the the third-largestnation in population afterChinaand India.About 9tr/oof the people now living in the U.S.wereborn there. Still' the U-S.has one of the world'smost variedpopulationsin termsof nationalancestry.This diversityis often highlightedand celebratedat school and communityfes, tivals.Racially, the about82%white,l3% black,4ToAsian and pacifictslandetand l7oNativeAmerican(includingEskimoandAleut).Hispanicsare roughly12"/o of the entire Americanpopulation,makingSpanish-speaking peoplethe nation'ssecondlargest ethnic minority. Some newcomersto the U.S.may be surprisedby the varietiesof inn colorthey see,but Americanstakeit for granted.Racismand prejudicearestill serious UNITI . Attitudes,Values,and Lifestvles



problemsin the U.S.;however, mostAmericans believein the idealsof equalityand mutual respect. s Threesignificantpopulationtrendsmay changethe Americancharacterto someextent.First,the U.S.CensusBureauestimatesthat, by the year2050,the country'spopumillion. Will more crowdedconditionsleadto closerfriendshipsor , / ^ lation will be 394 4n;..j.gtt'nl--firmore disputesbetweenngighborsJSecond,in recentyears,the averageage of Ameriu (from28 in 1970to about 35today).Thistrend,oftenreferred canshas beenincreasing "graying" demographers say, of America,is expectedto continue. By 7-023, to as the "Amerabout l8% of Americanswill be 65 or older.By 2038,that figurewill reach34"/". ica is a countryof youngmen,"wrote RalphWaldoEmersonin the nineteenthcentury. theirelders. Americanshaveoftenbeenaccusedof worshipingyouthand undervaluing are at 72,000 Americans middle age. Some Now,the typicalAmericanis approaching least 100yearsold! By 2050,there may be 800,000centenariansWhatwill happento the youth culturethen?Third,the nation'sethnicand racialminoritygroupsare growpredictthat by 2050,this ing much fasterthan the generalpopulation.Demographers maiority of the population.No country'sminoritygroupscombinedwill makeup the doubt,this changewill affectattitudes,values,and customs. 6 Regionalvariationsalso add diversityto the Americancharacter.Travelaround the country and you'll notice differencesin language,diet, recreation,and even regional character.SomeAmericanscantell what part of the countryotherAmericanscomefrom iust by listeningto their accents.Cookingstylesalso varyfrom placeto place,influenced by the differentimmigrantgroupsthat havesettledin that areaand by the edibleplants, fish, seafood,and wildlife nativeto each region.Recreationalso variesfrom place to place,influencedby climate,geography,and ethnictraditions.In addition,attitudesand r . , behaviqr may differ somewhat from one region of the country to another. For example, tg"f ) >th * fi'h"Lf '? ' ()' New Englandersare commonly describedas seriousand self-reliant,Southemersas graciousand leisurely,and Westernersas casualand friendly.Californiansaresaid to be eagerto try new fads. Midwestemersare consideredmore conservativethan Californians and less sophisticatedthan New Yorkers.Of course,rnanyresidentsof a particular region do not fit these generalizations. THEWEST


Regionsof the United States 1 . TheAmericanCharacter CHAPTER



However,moderncommunicationand massproductiontend to decreaseregional and ethnicdifferences. From the EastCoastto the West Coast,travelersfind similar shoppingcenters,supermarkets, departmentand discountstores,restaurants, hotels, motels,and apaftmentbuildings.Nationaladvertising createsnationaltastesin clothing stylesand otherconsumergoods.NationalnewsmediainfluenceAmericans'reactions to world events.Television, movies,and schoolshelp to createa body of Americanvaluesand traditionsDespitethe nation'sgreatdiversity,somegeneralizations can be madeabout whatthe typicalAmericanbelievesin, admires,values,and wants.


cnecr YounWhq is the tJ.S. called"a land of diversitq"? Compnehenslon What three populationtrendsare predicted? f,lernocracy

in Actio*


Americandemocracy is basedon the principleof majority rule. ln a democraticlegislativebody,decisionsare made by voting. In the U.S.,voting is not just a tool for selectingpolitical leadersand passinglaws.It is also a way of makingdecisionsin the businessworld,in socialgroups,in schools,and evenwithin the family.AmericansbeIievethat people shouldtake part in makingthe rulesthey must live by.Americanchildren are introducedto the ideasof maiority rule and representativegovernmentat a veryearlyage.Many familieshold weeklymeetingsto determinehouseholdrulesand activities.Most schoolshavestudentcouncilswith electedrepresentatives so that students can voice their opinions about school regulationsand activities.In the adult world,all kinds of organizations(unions,religiousgroups,etc.)electofficersand make decisionsby voting.ln publiclyownedcompanies,stockholderselectthe directors. 'All men are createdequal," saysthe Declarationof lndependence.This statement 9 does not mean that all human beingsare equal in ability or ambition. lt meansthat all peopleshould be treatedequallybeforethe law and given equal privilegesand opportunities.Equal opportunitymeans(amongother things)an equal chancefor a good education and a good iob. '10 The American commitment to equality of opportunity inspireswhat is commonly called the American dream-the belief that anyone can achieve successthrough honesty and hard work For many immigrant Americans,this dream becamereality. Financial successhas often beenthe resultof takinga risk,of quitting a salariedpositionand stafting one's own new business.Social mobility-movement from one social classto another-has alwaysbeen characteristicof the U.S.It is usuallyachievedby improving one'seducationallevel,occupation,and/orincome. i1 A democratic, representativegovernment gives citizens an opportunity (and a responsibility)to encouragepositivesocialchange.Ordinarycitizenscan improveconditions, especiallyif they unite in a common cause."Grassroots"movementscan bring about changesin lawsand policies.In the past half-centurymany such groups have forcedchange in local, state, and federal laws. Somegroups have even influenced foreign policy-for example,those that opposedAmericanparticipationin the Vietnam Warof the 1960s.Othergroupshavepersuadedlawmakersto passstricterlawsto pro,

! a

t i. i i

UNIT 1 . Attitudes, Values,and Lifestyles



tectAmericansfrom drunkdrivers,pollution,and the illegaluseof handguns.Still other groups fight for the rights of minorities-African-Americans,Hispanics,gaysand lesbians,peoplewith disabilities,seniorcitizens,and so on. Americansknow that. in the battle for human rights,there is strengthin numbers.

Z **to*


iileals? WhatAmericanattitudesarerelatedto democratic Whatdoesmaiority rule mean?

"1?y It-You'Il

Like It"

The greatAmericannovelistand humorist Mark TWaindescribedthe typical Englishman or -womanas a "personwho doesthings becausethey havebeendone before"and the typicalAmericanas "a personwho does things becausethey haven'tbeen done before."Americanslove to try somethingnew out of curiosityand a belief that newermay be better. As a nation of immigrants,the U.S.has had a continual influx of people with a 13 pioneeringspirit, with the courageto make maior changesin their lives. ln the midnineteentn century this spirit l^d American settlers to make the long, difficult, and dangerousiourney westward in searchof gold or free land. The desire to make a fresh start in a new place is still noticeablethroughout the nation. About 42 million Americans changeresidenceseveryyear.Some moves are due to changing iobs or going off to college.Other people move from big cities to suburbs (or vice versa).Some move to find adventure or a more pleasant climate. The pioneering spirit of Americansis evident in the working world, too. Employeeschange iobs and even careersas opportunities change. 14 Americanslbve scienceand technology becausethese fields involve new discoveries. The U.S. has embraced the age of communication with great enthusiasm. From preschoolersto senior citizens,Americansare learning to use computers--at school, at work, and at home. Robots, lasers,and other inventions of modem technology fascinate them. Americans subsidizeall kinds of spaceexploration, from outside the Earth to inside the atom. in order to uncoverthe secretsof the universe. Love of change is closely tied to faith in improvement. Americans have alwaysbeen t5 optimistic, believing in the perfectibility of people, the basic goodnessof their country, and the ability of American ingenuity to improve the quality of life. But people have come to realizethat, if life can become better, it can also become worse.The dangersof air and water pollution, nuclear power,and overpopulation have become clear. 12

oltheAmeriunpioneefing ,Wftataresme etumples tfpical t6

American Behavior and Values

WatchingAmericansin action, foreignerssometimessee behaviorthat seemsrude, but certainlynot misguided,or just plain silly.The followingtraits are characteristically, American. exclusively, CHAPTER1 . The AmericanCharacter



Hurry,Hurry,Hurry.Almost everyAmericarrwearsa watch,and, in nearlyevery room in an Americanhome,theie'sa clock."Beon time.""Don'twastetime.",.Time is money.,, "Timewaits for no one."All thesefamiliar sayingsreflectthe Americanobsessionwiih promptnessand efficiency.Studentsdispleasetheir teachersand employees displease their bosseswhen they arrivelate.This desireto get the most out of every minute often makesAmericansimpatient when they have to wait, The pressureto make everymoment count sometimesmakesit difficult for Americansto relax. l8 Thedesireto savetime and do work more quicklyand easilyleadsAmericans to buy manykindsof machines.Theserangefrom officeequipmentsuchas calculators, photocopy machines,and computersto dozensof home and personalappliances, such as microwaveovens. 19 TheImportance of Money. Aftervisitingthe the 1830s,the FrenchhistorianAlexis de Tocquevillewrote, "l know of no country . . . where the love cf money has taken strongerhold . . ." Americansare often accusedof being materialistic, of valuing wealth and possessionsabove all else.Money is valued both as a symbol of successand also for a more obvious reason-its purchasingpower.Many items that didn't even exist 50 yearsago are now considerednecessitiesin the Americanhome. In addition,purchases are made in order to "keep up with the loneses,,'toshcw friendsthat one can afford a biggerhouse or a fanciercar.Also, advertisingencouragespeopleto ke.p buying things far beyondwhat they need. In the mid-nineteenthcentury,the Americanuritoi Henry David Thoreau advised his countrymen,"simplify your needs!" Howevet Americans have moved in the opposite direction. Now, iust as Thoreau predicted, many find that their possessionsown them. They must work hard to earn enough money tt buy and maintain the many possessionsthey consider necessities. 20 Yes,Americans love to make a lot of money and spend it on themselves-to buy things that save time, give them pleasure,or serveas status symbols. However,Americansare also very generousand verywilling to donate money to good causes.TheAmerican characterincludes a strong senseof obligation to help those in need. 21 SayWhatYou Mun, andMeanWhatYou Say.Americansbelievethat "honestyis the best policy."They are direct and assertive. Theyask for what they want. In many cultures,respect for those in positions of authority keepspeople from expressingtheir true feelings or intentions- In the U.S.A.,however,children often argrrewith their parentsand.citizens express opposition to actions of the government. If the soup is cold or the meat is tough, the diner can complain to the waiter.If a teacher is wrong or confusing,a student may sayso. If the boss makesa mistake,an employee may politely point it out. Assertive behaviorsometimes seems improper and rude to foreigners,but it work well for Americans. In fact, assertivenessis almost a necessityin the business world. 22 TheNud toWin.The extremely competitive nature of Americans is often criticized.Of course,compedfion isn't alwaysbad. ln fact, it promotes excellencebyencouraging individuals (and businesses)to try to do their best. But the desire to get ahead of others sometimescausespeople to do things that are unkind and even dishonest23 The PracticalOutlaok.Americans admire what is practical, fast, efficlent, and new. Sometimesthey fail to appreciateculturesthat prefermore traditional,leisuretywaysof doing things. Conversely,people from other cultures may dislike the practicat,nectic Americanlifestyle.

UNff 1 . Attitudes. Values,and l_ifestvles



Despitethesetraits,which.,many foreignersmay view as faults,Americansare usually consideredvery likable.Most are friendly,kind-hearted,and eagerto help visitorsand immigrants.In this nationof immigrants,the foreignerdoes not remainan outsiderfor long.

ArrenYou Reno l. Getting the Message Workwitha partner.Puta check(/) in thecorrectcolumnfor each phraselistedbelow. Americans like or approve of this.

Americans don't like or approve of this.

l. forming groups to bring about change 2. wasting time 3. allowing cittznnsto influence lawmakers 4. allowing social mobility 5. protesting;social evils non-violently


6. doing things the waythey've always been done in the past


7. making decisionsby voting


8. buying as fewpossessionsas possible 9. being assertive 1O.competing to be the winner or the best

ll. BuildingYour Vocabulary A. Ihese are the 15 keyvocabularywordsfor this chapter.Theyare boldfacedin the reading.Prontounce thesewords afteryour teacher,and discusstheir meanings. assertive charactef competition conservativet democracy

demogfrapher diversity efEcient ethnic generalize

majority materialistic minority possession variet5l

*Charactcr is uncountable as it's used in this chapter tConservative can be a noun or an adjective.

CHAPTER1 . The AmericanCharacter



It-F I

B- Witha partner,answerthesequestions with onewordor a few words. 1. r.I/ould a materialistic person have many possessionsor few?

2. Do elections usually irtglye"o*petition? 3. Does a conservative person like or dislike.a lot of change? 4. Ifpeople work quicklybut do poor work, are they efficient?

f'l p

5. What does a demographer study? 6. What is the main characteristic of a democracv? 7. What are two expensive possessions that most Americans want to own? 8. Do Americans think that it's good to be asserfive? What do you think?

lll. SharpeningReadingSkills Topic Sentences A paragraphis a group of sentencesthat developsone idea.Most para€Faphscontain a statementof the main idea. That statementis called the topit sentence.Itis usually, but not always,the first sentencein the paragraph.It is the most important sentencein the paxagraph.The other sentencesdwelop the topic sentencq perhapsby gving reasons,causes,examples,facts, or descriptivedetails. Rereadtheparagraphslistedandlook for the topic sentence.Thenwritethe first two words of the topic sentenceon the lineafter theparagraphnumber. Example (3)

J\q moer




lV. Understandingldiomsand Expressions Usefte following72 expressions to complete thesentences onpage9. Capitalize thefirst wordatthe beginning givethe paragraphs of a sentence. Thenumbers in parentheses in you whichtheexpressions areused.Reread theparagraph if haveforgoftenwhatthe expressronmeans. "$rassroots" movement (1L) (19) keep up with theJogesgs_ majority rute (8) make every riciment count (17) lqass p-roduction (7)

(z) gbyjgg-_i-1*s-tfe UNIT 1 . Attitudes, Values,and Lifestyles


point out (21) dbnior crrtien (n,14) gtatus sysbet(20) take it for granted (4) S4kingq.barge(2) vice versa (13)


1. My friendJoe rides his ntotorcycle 90 miles an hour. He doesn't believe in !,

2. The twins expect their parents to give them a gift on their birthday. They

{,+. 3. MariaJohnson is very popular amongthe peoplein this state.In fact, there is il a(n)

to elect her as the next governor.


4. They are averyhappy couple.Sheloveshim and



5. Don't waste time.


6. Teachers

mistakesso that students will

learn the correct way to speak and write English. 7. An expensive car is a(n)

It makes the

owner seem important.

S. My grandfatheris 68 yearsold. Becausehe's a(n) , he getsa discount atmany movie theaters. meansthat decisionsare madeby voting.

i{ , lV 9.

10. You don't have to buy a new car just becauseyour friends did- You don't have to

l'l v


helps to keep prices down.

12. Johnleft the company,so Helen is


of the offi.cenow.

V. TakingWords Apart Nouns serveas subjectsof sentencesand objectsof verbs and Noun or Adjective prepositions.Adjectives are commonly usedbefore nouns or after linking verbs (zuch asbe,seem,ffidfeeD. Underlinethe correct wordform for eachsentence. society. / corupetitiue) @@tUn " 2. Voting is an (imytffi,tue / important) partof a democratic (society/ sgial). 3. To have a successfirl democraq, it is (ngp{W / nncessary)to have (edywfwn / edrcattd) citizens. 4. To havqasuccessfrrldemocracy,well+ducated citizens arc a (necessitg / //\ 1. The U.S. is


5. Americans believe in (e4.Wrltft/ equal) opportunity for all. 6. Most Americans understand the (importarce / important) of parttcipating in then @emocrarg/ ilzmncrati.c)government.


CH,APTER 1 . TheAmericanCharacter


7. Amenc.ansare practical. In other yXds, they are (pragryti,,;,: , ,,r..i:i,r,ji 8. Traveling from one (region/ regiilal) of the country to anl{i;l: . ,1ui{rncan tourists see a great (vangtg / vaj&d) of people and pprces. 9. There is a lot of (ethydity / ethnic) (diversity/ dt{sd i,;: :ir i '. r 10. Do Ameydns uar( ^olr"y"r,d (ma t erjdl ism / m"at erial k t ir)?

por."r.ions more than anytliing eisc',).l,-it:i irry


What at{:ou, common endingson the nouns in this exercise?- - yW ( What are four common endings on the adjectives in this exert_-is*?

Vl. PracticingSentencePatterns Dashes and Definitions Rereadthe frst and lastsentencesin paragraph10. Notethatdasl'resir€ u:.:;,s,1 irefc.r-r definitions of the phrases American dreamandsocialmobility.Cn ltr: J;ilr:if,.,ii:r.,,', i:.,..". 1,,::.::'i:: senfencesthatincludedefinitions of a phrase. 1. Writea sentencewith the definition at the end.llse onedash. Erample I like cocoa-a hot drink with chocolatein it.

2. Writea sentencewith the definitionin themiddle.Usetwo Ca.:,hes. Example I drink cncr:,a-a hot drink with chocolate in it-every

morning for hreaktasr.

Vll. Sharingldeas

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A. lssues Debatetheserssuesin smallgroups.Thenchooseoneand vrr+teabcif il. 1. Is there really equality of opportunity in the U.S.?trf no! what eau I:e done ru, se,atsi1P 2. Whafs good and what's bad about rnajoritg rule? 3. Americans are usually describedas sociablg conventic,naipe*ple wia* i*i:: llroups anidW to behavelike everyoneelseiri the fraup. f {owevr:::,lr-;;.:lr: Americanbooks irnd movieshavemadea hero of th': pe{*:q*n fipJ:;riLrr: u,,;f'l:ri'i majority will and tries to accomplishsomettringgoori indep*nctrent1;1. betler-to be ajoiner or aLorur?

UNIT 1 . Aftitudes, Values,and Lifestyles


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B. On a Personal Note Writeaboutoneof thesetopics. 1. Do you think wealth and possessions makea person important? If no! what does? 2. In the 1980s,a Russianimmigrant and popular entertainer aamed Yakov Smirnovbeeame famous for his three-word reaction to the U.S. Whenever something surprised him, he said, "what a countrJr!" what surprisesyou about the U.S.?Why? 3. Americans are often accusedof admiring youthfirl beauty and ene4y over the experienceand wisdom of olderpeople. Who shouldbe most mp""t"d-yo,rrrg adults,middle-agedpeople,or senior clr..riz,ensf Why? 4. Would you like to live to be 100 years old? Why or why not?

CHAPTERt . The american Character


Marriagez American

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An Americanbride and groom cutting their wedding cake

You Rrno BeroRe Discuss 1. Have you ever seena wedding in the U.S.?What did you notice?What were the bride and groom wearingf; Was anything confusing to you? What? 2. Think about the American couplesyou know. Whathave you noticed about American husband-wife relationships?What generaltzattonscan you make about American marriages? 3. What doesthe first sentenceof this reading lrnearP-


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Tryto answerthe questions. rhen lookfor the answers in thereading.


1- what percnntageof adult Americans (t8 and order) are married?_o/o


2. What does the American bride throw to her wedding guests?


Marriage: American, Stgle -

Before the Wedding 't

"Marriagehalvesour griefs,doubles our joys, and quadruples our expenses,,'says a also decreasesboth freedomand loneliness.Today'sAmericans seemwilling to take the bad with the good becausethe institution of marriagecontinues to be popular in the midciicage,about 92%of Americanshavebeen married at least once. 2 Howevel the countrys singleadult population is almost as largeas the marriedpopulation. Only 56"/"of American adults are married and living with their spouse.The number of unmanied adults, now around 77 million, has been growing much faster than the married population. One reason is that today's Americans are marrying at an older age. In 1970,the median age of a first-time bride was 20.6,and the median age of a groom was22.5. Today,the median ages are about 25 for the bride and 2Z for the groom. Among younger adults (ages25 to 34l,about ?5o/ohaveneverbeen married. Why are people staying single longer? Many young adults want to get their careers well established before marriage.Also, many couples live together without {or before) marrying. s Although Americans try to be practical in most matters, when they choose a spouse, the decision is usually based upon feelings of love rather than on practical considerations. In the U.S.,parents do not arrangemarriagesfor their children. Teenagersusually begin dating in high school and eventually find partner through their own social contacts. They want to "fall in love" before they think about maniage. Most parents encourage their children to marry someone of the same race and religion. Still, when young adults move away from their parents' home to attend college or to work in another city, they often date and then marry a person from a different ethnic background. Maniages between Americans of different religions or different national origins are common. However,maniages between black and whites continue to be rare, involving lessthan 0.3",6of the nation s 58 million manied couples. a When a man and woman become engaged(agreeto marry each other), they enter a very exciting and busy period of their lives. At this time. it is traditional for the man to give his fianc6e a gift she will (hopefully) wear and treasure for the rest of her life-a diamond engagement ring. During the engagement period, the bride-to-be and her fianc6 meet each other's relatives,if they havenot done so already.Theyalso plan their CHAPTER 2 r Marriage:AmericanSVle


wedding and rentor buy an apartmentor house.tln the U.S.,veryfewnewlyweds begin marriedlife livingrvitheithefset of parents.) 5 Engagementand weddinggifts help the coupleto set up their new is common for engagedcouplesto go to a departmentstore bridal registryand fill out a list of the items they would like to receive,such as particularpattems of dishes,silverware, and glassware,plus cooking utensils,appliances,and linens. Weddingguestscan choosegifts from this list beforethe weddingand havethem mailed to the bride,to-be's home. In addition to weddinggifts, the couple also receivesshowergifts. A shower is a party iust for women at which eachguestgivesthe bride-to-besomethingusefulfor her new home. Also, shortly beforethe wedding,the groom and his closefriendsand relatives celebrateat an all-maleparty called a bachelor or stagpafi. On this occasion,the groom often receivesgifts, too.


What are threeAmericanengagement custnms?

IIre Big Day 6

Most wedding customsobservedin the began in other countriesand past centuries. Some are based on old superstitions about ways to bring the couple good Iuck and many children. Others symbolize the marital promise of lifelong devotion. 7 The traditional American bride wearsa long white gown ard a veil. {ln earlier times, people thought the veilwould protect the bride from evil spirits. The white gown and veil also symbolize innocence.)Tladitionat brides also obey the well-known verseand wear "something old, something new something borrowed, and something blue-" The groom usuallywearsa tuxedo (a formal suit with a bowtie), which is commonlyrented just for his wedding day.Tradition saysthat the groom should not seethe bride'sgown before the wedding. AIso, on their wedding day, the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other until the cenemony. The wedding c€remonymay be held in a church, synagogue,home, hotel, or nice outdoor area. Guestsare seatedon either side of the center aisle, and the ceremonystarts with a procession down the aisle. Ttaditional pieces of music played during the procession are the wedding march from Wagners opera Lohenginand orchestral music from Mendelssohn'sA MidsurrmerNighfsDream,but today many couples select other music. The bridal party (the people participating in the ceremony) includes the bride and groom and theirclosest relativesand friends. Thereare usually bridesmaidsand a maid of honor (all wearing matching dresses)and the grooms ushers and "best man" (usually his brother or best friend). Walking in front of the bride is a young "flower girl," who throws flower petals from a straw basket.The bride walks down the aisle with her father or both parents, who 'give her away''to the groom. The bride and groom then face the cleric or iudge conducting the service,and a traditional service is recited. The content of the servicedepends,to some extent, on the couple's religion. During a typical ceremony,the bride and groom exchangeldendcal wedding rings. The ring, a circle with no beginningand no end, symbolizesunendinglove and loyalty.

UNIT 1 e Attitudes, Values,and Lifestyles



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It is worn on the fourth finger'ofthe left hand becauseof a veryold {and incorrect)idea that a vein or nerveruns from this finger directlyto the heart. At the end of the weddingceremony,the groom and bride are pronouncedhusband and wife and are invited to kiss each other. Then,the entire wedding processionwalks backup the aisle.After a churchwedding,guestsmay throw rose petals,confetti (small piecesof colored paper),or rice at the newlywedsas they leavethe church.Rice,a common fertilitysymbol,is supposedto help the couplehavechildren.Sometimes, the couple's car is decoratedwith tin cans, paper streamers,or old shoes,along with a "fust Married"sign. The tin cans and shoes reflect an old idea that noisemakersscareaway evil spirits and bring good luck. After the ceremony,there is a ranption-a party with food, drinks,and dancing.During the reception,the weddingcake,which is usuallytall with white frosting,is displayed.Most weddingcakeshavea miniaturebride and groom or miniaturewedding bells on top. After the meal, the bride and groom cut the cakeand it is servedto the guests.Some gueststake home a slice of cakein a little box. Some people believethat if a singlewoman sleepswith this pieceof cakeunderher pillow she will dreamof the man she is going to marry. Iust before the bride leavesthe reception, she throws a bouquet of flowers backward over her head to a group of single women standing behind her. Supposedly,the one who catchesthe bouquet will be the next to marry.At some weddings,the groom throws his bride's garter to the single men. Catching the garter also means an approaching maniage. Thereare, of course,endlessvariations on American weddings.Sonreweddingscombine American customs with those of the couple's native countries. Many weddings blend customs from different cultures becausethe bride and groom are from different ethnic or religious backgrounds.Other couples discard tradition and "do their own thing." Some couples want their wedding to reflect their interests or display their talents. They may, for example,write their own wedding vows.They may get manied on a mountaintop or a beach and wear blue jeans.Many couples havegotten manied in front of the Statue of Liberty. One couple even held their wedding ceremony in an amusement park on a roller coaster! Who pays for the wedding? In the past, the bride's parents were expectedto pay for and almost everything. But today the averageAmerican wedding costs about $lg,OOO, some large, lavish ones run as high as $80,000.Therefore,expensesare often shared by the parents on bth sides. Of course;tsiimecouples (especiallyolder ones) pay for their weddings themselves.To avoid the expense and trouble of planning a large wedding, some couples elope. Others go to City Hall, where a iudge can "tie the knot." (These types of weddings may also be chosen when parents disapprove of the match.) People marryingfor the second (or third, fourth, or fifth!) time may do so quietly wilh only a few guestspresent. To be legally wed, a couple need only fulfill the requirementsset by the state in which the ceremony is performed. State laws determine who may get a marriage license. In most states,teenagers18or older can marrywithout parentalconsent,but 16-and 17year-oldsmust have parental permission. In most states, those under age l6 are not allowed to marry. Marriagesbetween first cousins or people more closely related are for-

2 o Marriage:AmericanStyle CHAPTER

bidden in many states.Most statesrequiremedicalexaminationsand certificatesbefore issuinga marriagelicense,and some refuselicensesto peoplewith certainphysical or mentalillnesses. 16 After the wedding,the newlywedsusuallytake a vacationcalleda honeymoon.This word means"month of honey"in refersto a formercustom-for newlywedsto sharea drink madewith honeyeveryday duringthe first month of their marriage.

List ftveAmericanweddingcust!ffis.

The Contemporary American Marriage 17

Among marriedcouplesin the U.S.,one finds a wide rangeof livingpatterns.Some older couplesstill havetraditional marriages,with the man as breadwinner(moneyeamer)and the woman as homemaker.But most youngerwomen today are not content to be full-time homemakers.The women's liberation movement, which swept the country in the 1960s,changedattitudes and behaviorforever.Today'syoung American woman wants maniage,but she also wants to keep her own identity.She wants what men have alwayshad-a marriagethat is important but still allowstime to pursue individual goals.The maiority of Americanwives,even those with children,work outside the home. As a result, the older idea that housework, cooking, and child care are "women'swork" is being discarded. In the contemporary American marriage,the husband and wife shareboth financialand domesticresponsibilities.In most families,the working wife probat ly still handles the larger shareof the housework,cooking,and child care, but she gets some help from her husband. l8 Sharing money-making and housekeepingresponsibilities provides a better life for both parents. The typical American wife enioys being out in the working world. Her husband discoversthat cooking and child care can be fun and can bring him closer to his family. He mayalso find that it's nice to have his wife's help in supporting the family. Of course,problems can develop in the two-income family if the husbandexpectshis working wife to be the perfect homemakerthat his stay-at-homemother was.Also, there may be arguments if the wife expects h"erhusband tohelp with household chores,but he is unwilling todo"so. 19 The contemporary American maniage is also characterizedby a relationship of equality and shared decision making. Most American women today will not tolerate a husband who considers himself the boss. The American girl is given freedom and education equal to a bot's. After completing her education, she is able to get a iob and support her-

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UNIT i r Attitudes. Values.and Lifestvles


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self.Shedoes not needto marryfor financialsecurity.She is self-sufficient and will not accepta submissiverole in marriage.Whenhusbandand wifeareableto sharedecision makingand respecteach other'sviewpoints,their marriageis probablycloserthan thoseof past generationsWhenthey battlefor dominance,they'relikelyto end up in divorcecourt.

Z**ro* ,Comlmh3mlofi

Howhaswomen's liberationaffected theAmericanmarriage?

t i

Divorce and Alternative Lifestyles 20








Americansbelievethat they are entitled to happiness,and they expectmarriageto contributeto their enjoymentof life. But in one study in l999, only 38"/"of the Amerias "veryhappy."(ln 1970,the figurewas53%.)For cansquestionedidentifiedthemselves place every100marriagesthat take today,there are about 50 divorces.The U.S.divorce rate is twice that of Europeand three times higherthan fapan's. What goeswrong?The fact that divorceis so common in the U.S.does not meanthat Americansconsider marriagea casual,unimportant relationship.fust the opposite is true. Americansexpecta great deal from marriage.They seekphysical,emotional,and intellectual compatibility. They want to be deeply loved and understood. lt is because Americans expect so much from mariage that so many get divorced. They prefer no maniage at all to a marriage without love and understanding. With typical American optimism, they end one mariage hoping that the next will be happier.No-fault divorce laws in many states make it eacierthan ever to get a divorce. When a couple gets divorced,the court may require the man to pay his former wife a monthly sum of money called alimony. The amount of alimony dependson the husband'sincome,the wifes needs,and the length of the maniage.lf the woman is work ing and earnsa good salary she may receiveno alimony at all. Occasionally,the court decidesthat a woman should pay her husbandalimony. lf the woman has supported her husbandduring the mariage, the court may decidethat she must continue to suppon him after the divorce. lf a divorcing couple has children,the court must determine which parent the children will live with and who will provide for their support. In most cases,the children live with the mother and the father pays child support and has visitation rights. However,it is not uncommon for a father to get full custody or ioint custody when this arangement is in the childrens best interest. The high risk of divorce doesn't seem to make Americans afraid to marry again- Remaniage and the creation of new, blended families is extremely common in the U.S. One American ioke tells of a wife calling to her secondhusband, "Ouick,lohn! Come hereand help me! Your childrenand my childrenare beating up our children!" Although the maiority of Americanadults marry,the number of people living alternative lifestyles is increasing,and their behavior is increasinglyacceptedby the general population.The number of unmarriedcouples living together rose from about half a million in 1970to more than 4 million today.Many older people are upset by the grow-

CHAPTER 2 o Marriage:AmericanStyle



ing number of unmarried.gouplesliving together.However,this is not iust an American trend. lt's quite common in Europe,too. The lifestyleof the gay population,which includes approximately3.5"Aof Americanmen and 2% of Americanwomen, is also consideredalternative.Many gay people live with same-sexpartnersin relationshipsthat last for many years,with the same loyalty,emotionalattachment,and financialcommitmentsas traditionalmarriages.

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aaaimWhudosomanyAmencans Ztomfinbifritbn getdivorced? Happy Anniversary! 26

Maintaininga good marriagehas alwaysbeen work as well as fun, so it's no wonder that Americanscetebratethe completionof each successfulyear.Marriedcouplescelebrate most of their weddinganniversariesratherquietly,perhapsby going out for a romantic dinner for two or by sharingthe occasionwith family membersor closefriends. the twenty-fifth and fiftieth-are consideredmore But certain anniversaries---especially important and are commontycelebratedwith big parties.A particulartype of gift is traditional for each anniversary(clocksfor the first, crystal or glass for the third, silverware for the fifth, and so on). This custom is often ignored except for the twenty-fifth anniversary,when silver is given, and the fiftieth, when a gift of gold is traditional. It is a joyous occasion when a couple celebratesa golden wedding anniversarywith their children, grandchildqen,and great-grandchildrenaround them. Reachingthis moment is a goal of most young couples when they walk down the aisle as bride and groom'

AFTERYOU RTAO l. Getting the Message A. Discussor writeanswersto ftese guestionson a separatepieceof paper.Wrttecomplete sentences. 1. What are three good things thatpara$raph 1 saysabout matna$e? 2. Whatare twobad things thatparaggaph 1 saysaboUt maria$e? 3. CompareAmerican wedding customsto wedding sustons in other countries' Which are the sameor similar? Which are different? 4. What two alternative lifestyles are discussedin this chapter?

UNIT1 . Attitudes,Values,and Lifestyles

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B. Chronological I order means"in.o "inorderof fime"or "in theorderthateyentshappened." put the followingevents eyentsin chronological chronolol orderby numberingthem7-6, startingwtththe earliest. k wedding day .CI silver anniversary fr


shower for the bride-to-be



L at

errgugement marriage proposal

ll. BuildingYour Vocabulary A. Iheseare the 15 key vocabulary wordsfor this chapter.Theyare boldfacedin the reading.Pronounce fhesewordsafteryour teacher,anddiscusstheirmeanings. I

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alimony anniversary bride @remony elope

optimism superstition symbolize

groom honeymoon identical




B. Completethesesentenceswtthsomeof the keyvocabulary words.Makenounsplura!if necessary,and puteachverb intothe correcttenseand form. 1. In order to get married" the engagedcouple must get amarraage P"i"es

2. Thetraclitional

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