Some cities are located by chance. A wagon breaks down, the driver spends some time in repairs, finds that he is in a congenial spot, and settles down. Later another person builds a house near his, and later someone adds an inn. Someone else starts selling farm produce there. Soon there is a little market, which grows to a town, and later to a city.
Other places were destined by nature to become cities. London, for example, is on what is called the head of navigation – the point where it becomes too difficult for ocean-going ships to continue upriver, and must transfer their cargoes. As with London, the head of navigation is also the point where the river can be conveniently bridged. In fact, the location of a bridge is often the reason for the birth of a town – as Cambridge or Weybridge in England show. Again, a good harbour will generally lead to a city growing up about it. New York and San Francisco began life as ports, as did Cape Town in South Africa.
Some places were created mainly for military purposes, such as Milan, and the host of English cities finishing with – cester, which is derived from castra which means camp in Latin. Chester itself, created to guard the Welsh border is a very good example. Other such military bases are Manchester, Doncaster, and of course, Newcastle.
A few cites are not created by accident, but by intention. This was the case with Milton Keynes in England, but the most famous examples of such cities are capitals. Brasilia, Canberra and Washington are capitals created in modern times, but even their greatest admirers will admit that they lack a certain character. It is no co-incidence that there are famous pop songs about New York, ("New York, New York") Chicago ("My kind of Town") San Francisco (“Going to San Francisco") and many other US cities, but none about the nation's capital. On the other hand any Londoner can give you at least three songs about the place.
2. Choose the correct answer.
1. This article is about
a. why capital cities are created.
b. places where cities might begin.
c. urban life.
d. why some city sites are chosen.
2. London owes its origin to
a. a river.
b. a bridge.
c. an army camp.
d. because ships could sail there.
3. The writer feels that
a. cities are created by chance.
b. planned cities lack soul.
c. that no-one can tell why a city will develop.
d. some cities were planned by generals.
4. Which is NOT given as a reason for a new city?
b. Random events.
5. "Congenial" in the first paragraph means
a. on the coast.
b. on a river.
c. near an army camp.
d. none of these.
6. The article suggests that English cities of military origin
a. can be found from their locations.
b. can be found from their names.
c. are more common than other cities.
d. always end with end with -cester.
7. There are no songs about Washington because
a. the city has little character.
b. it is too modern.
c. it is the national capital.
d. songwriters don't like politics.
8. This article is mainly about
THE SHRINKING LAKE 1. Read about this disappearing lake in central Africa. Seven sentences have been removed from the article. Rikki Mbaza has a very English name but his part of central Africa is suffering from a problem that few in England would have to put up with: a lack of rain so acute that Rikki's livelihood is literally evaporating away.
"I would love to have the English weather here in Chad. Then the lake would not go away."
Rikki Mbaza lives in the town of Bol near the shores of Lake Chad, a lake that has shrunk by 90% in the last 40 years.
"I am a fisherman. For me, it is like watching my life draining away every day. The fishing is getting worse and worse in the lake. They are getting smaller and I think the fish breeding has been disrupted by the reduction in area and in depth." Lake Chad is only a metre deep in most places.
Rikki struggles now to provide enough food and income for his wife Achta and their four children. Achta has had to take up pottery in her spare time in order to try and boost the amount of money coming into the household every month.
"Our rent doesn't go down with the level of the lake unfortunately," Mbaza complains. "We still have six mouths to feed but I need assistance from the government.
Angela Muscovite at the Center For African Politics at UCLA sees little reason for optimism in the case of the shrinking lake in the African heartland.
4.“_______________________________________________________________. This is a body of water that, in 1960 was over 25,000 km2 in size – now it's less than 10% of that."
"It has been so over-exploited and it is an issue the whole international community, obviously more so those governments in Africa, need to co-operate on to find a resolution. And that isn't going to happen any time soon.
5. __________________________________________________________________. It's sad but that's how I see things panning out."
The guilty parties, as so often in these cases, blame each other for the problems that now beset the lake. Charlie Vaughan, who teaches Environmental Science at Cambridge University in Britain, explains why the lake is going the way of the Dodo. 6.”__________________________________________________________________. Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon all lay claim to the waters of this lake and you only need a five metre shoreline to be able to extract water from it. The whole area has been a target for massive irrigation schemes over the last couple of decades with each country's agricultural ministry blaming the other three for the problems.
7.___________________________________________________________________. This is a dry area."
None of this gesturing and buck-passing will help Rikki, Achta and their four children in the near future. "I am learning how to fix cars. I don't think cars will be disappearing soon and will certainly last longer than this lake will," muses the glum-looking fisherman. "There won't be any more fishermen in this area in ten years." And with that, he says he has to go and study how to remove and repair brake pads.
2. Choose from the sentences A – H the one which fits each gap (1 – 7). There is one extra sentence you do not need to use.
A. The water is moving further and further away. We believe desertification has contributed most to the demise of Lake Chad.
B. The main culprit is geography funnily enough.
C. A lack of rain is only one of many culprits being blamed for this emerging disaster.
D. They have left me to fend for myself in a desperate situation.