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Americans Today, Customs and Values – Text in Brief

Published: 02.02.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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Pre-reading Questions

1) Which American reality shows have you watched? What do you think of them?

2) Is America really like what you see and hear on TV and in films? Are all the latest reality shows from the US, really reality?

Americans Today Culture and Values

 

The answer to these questions is perhaps both "yes" and "no". With over 300 million people living in America, some of it must be true. Yet at the same time, many Americans watching these shows shake their heads and laugh. To paint a clear picture of America is almost an impossible task. But with all their differences, cultures, races, shapes and sizes, Americans do have some things in common. Without a doubt, friendliness tops the list. Americans are outgoing and love to chat and to help even a total stranger. What else do Americans share? Well, let's take a closer look.

Vocabulary
  • in common -felles
  • without a doubt - uten tvil/utan tvil
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A Country of Doers

Do It YourselfDo It YourselfAmericans depend on no one but themselves. This quality was passed down from their forefathers who were not afraid of hard work. The country is built on the idea of individualism and that the government is not a provider. Americans are expected to do things themselves and have no one else to blame if things go wrong. Both setting and reaching high goals is what makes America a strong country. The motivation to work hard is the desire to succeed. Money and status are important but often just the thought of one's ancestors who arrived empty-handed and worked their way to a better life, is enough to keep the American dream alive.

Vocabulary

depend - avhengig
forefathers - forfedre/forfader
provider - forsørger/forsørgjar
blame - kritisere
goals - mål
desire - sterkt ønske

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Comprehension
  1. What does the expression "do it yourself" mean?
  2. Are money and status the only motivating reasons to work hard?
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Volunteerism

As hard working as Americans are, they are also very generous. They have a great community spirit and "giving back" to charities and other organizations by volunteering to help is part of being American. You will find volunteers helping out at their child's school, at their place of worship or other places in their local area.

Vocabulary

volunteerism - tilby seg å gjøre frivillig arbeid
generous - sjenerøs
charities - veldedighet/almisse

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Comprehension
  1. What does it mean to "give back" and how do some Americans do this?
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Patriotism

4th July4th JulyAmericans are also proud and very patriotic. Drive through any neighborhood and you will find American flags flying outside many houses. At the start of most sporting games you will hear the singing of the national anthem and at schools across the country, children recite the Pledge of Allegiance. There is an amazing love for the country and most Americans have never left the country - they feel that they have everything right where they are.  

Vocabulary

neighborhood - nabolag
recite - lese opp
pledge - love
allegiance - troskap/truskap

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Americans are Movers

Americans move a lot. They are a bit restless and look for new opportunities. The saying ”the grass is greener on the other side” holds true. Reasons for moving are often due to either work, education, military service, or family. Whatever the reason, Americans pack up and make the best of things. This is also the reason why Americans are so open and friendly. With each move they have to make new friends and join new communities. One can not be shy in order for this to happen!

Vocabulary
  • restless - rastløs/rastlaus
  • holds true - stemmer
  • shy - sjenert
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Comprehension
  1. Give some examples of how Americans show their patriotism.
  2. What are some of the reasons why Americans move often?
  3. What one thing tops the list of characteristics that Americans have in common?
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Tasks and Activities

  1. Drag and Drop interactive task in link collection. Match the description with the typical American characteristic.
  2. Read about pledging allegiance to the American flag, a ritual which many American school children carry out every day. Try the tasks associated with the text. Pledge of Allegiance (right-click to open in a separate window)

 

This text is based on Americans Today - Customs and Values 

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