Scotland has a history and rich culture of which Scots are famously proud. The stereotypical Scot wearing a kilt, playing bagpipes and eating haggis is not as widespread as visitors might hope, but if you know where to look you won't be disappointed. Several years ago kilts came back into fashion and young men started wearing them again. They're very popular at rugby matches, especially the international matches at Murrayfield. If you're in the centre of town then you’ll probably hear the sound of bagpipes. There's usually a bagpipe player outside Waverley Station in Edinburgh. As for the haggis, despite what locals might tell you, haggis do not run around the hills. If you are determined to try the famous dish of Scotland, keep your eyes open in restaurants and pubs, which often serve it with turnips and potatoes. Alternatively, most supermarkets sell it in the fridge section.
A ceilidh is a popular social event that involves traditional music and Scottish country dancing. Scots really do love country dancing. In fact, at most weddings it’s preferable to a disco! Most language centres provide tours and Scottish entertainment as part of their courses, so you will return home not only with better English but also able to dance Scottish reels. You may acquire a taste for haggis, whisky, shortbread, or Irn Bru, an orange-coloured drink that outsells Pepsi and Coca-Cola and is a very good cure for a hangover. You may even buy a kilt, though a good one will cost as much as a two-week language course. You can use the Internet to find out about Scotland’s many festivals. Of course, the Edinburgh International Festival in August is the most famous, but every town and city has its own, and Glasgow says that it smiles better (= Glasgow's miles better).
1. Write a summary of the text in English, including the most important points, using your own words whenever possible.
- Some aspects of old Scottish culture which are still present today are kilts, which are worn by young men, especially at rugby matches, bagpipes, often heard in town centres and haggis, which you can find in most supermarkets. Furthermore, the Scots still hold ceilidhs and love to dance Scottish reels.
2. Find words or phrases in the text that correspond in meaning to the words and definitions given here.
- a) Skirt traditionally worn by Scottish men: kilts
- b) Typical Scottish dance: Scottish reel
- c) Is sold more than: outsells
- d) Unpleasant physical condition suffered the day after you have drunk too much: hangover
3. Complete the second sentence of each pair so that it has the same meaning as the first one.
- a) Keep your eyes open for haggis in restaurants and pubs
- The writer advised us to keep our eyes open for haggis in restaurants and pubs.
- b) At most weddings country dancing is preferable to a disco
- At most weddings the Scots prefer country dancing to a disco.
- c) Most language centres provide tours and Scottish entertainment as part of their courses.
- Tours and Scottish entertainment are provided by language centres as part of their courses.
- d) If you had enough money, you might even buy a kilt
4. Answer the following questions in your own words.
- a) What sort of people do you think this passage was written for? Why?
- This passage is written for young people who are interested in improving their English, because it talks about the entertainment provided by language centres, about returning home with better English and about two-week language courses.
- b) In what ways are Scottish traditions and culture different nowadays from what might be expected?
- There are many things a visitor may not expect, for example, that a haggis is not an animal but a food, and that nowadays you can buy it in supermarkets. These days, not every Scottish person plays the bagpipes and wears a kilt (which may be very expensive). There are also some other traditional things that foreigners don’t know, such as the ceilidh, Irn Bru and shortbread.
5. If you have done a language course abroad, tell us about it. If not, where would you like to go and do one, and why would you choose this place?
- I have never done a language course abroad, but I did once spend a month in Avignon, in the South of France, working in a hostel making beds and clearing tables and so on. It was quite hard work, but I enjoyed myself a lot because I met a lot of young people from all over the world. However, I didn’t improve my French very much because everyone spoke English, so I practiced this language instead.