1) Find out in which part of the story the author describes the following (reading for the main idea):
А. why Barbara came to England
B. what surprised Barbara in Notting Hill most of all
C. Barbara’s friends’ images of England
D. Barbara’s discoveries about the English
E. what Barbara knew about Britain
1. “My turn,” said James. “Next game: you’ve got a time capsule and you want to put one thing in it which represents England. What do you choose?”
“A Number Seven Manchester United shirt,” said Ben. Number Seven was the shirt worn by David Beckham, who was Ben’s personal hero.
“That just represents England now,” argued Barbara. “How about a cup of tea?” she suggested.
“No,” said James. “No one drinks tea any more. Everyone drinks cappuccino.”
2. Barbara looked at her friends. There she was in London with a group of Londoners, playing games. She was the first person in her village to go to England and her parents were very proud of the scholarship1 she had won which enabled her to study at the University of Westminster in London. Her college was right in the centre of London.
3. Before she arrived, Barbara had thought that she knew everything about England. She had watched every film about England from her local video shop. She’d watched the film Notting Hill seven times; she couldn’t wait to meet Hugh Grant or some other Englishman who looked just like him. She’d also seen some other films, which showed that there were villages in England, a bit like those at home.
There was a north-south divide, her English teacher had told her. Barbara wondered what the north-south divide looked like. Perhaps it was a bit like the Grand Canyon in America, but smaller.
4. It had been a shock arriving in Notting Hill and finding that apart from the Russells, the family she was staying with, most of the other people in the street were black. Notting Hill, she soon discovered, was a centre of Afro-Caribbean culture. When she first arrived, she discovered that despite her good marks in English at school, she didn’t understand a word anyone said. She also met some of the Russells’ neighbours, who were English with West Indian parents. Barbara discovered, that in fact they spoke more clearly than lots of the white people she met and they were very friendly.
5. One day Barbara met Ben and his friends who met up most evenings to go for something to eat or to see a film.
“The English are strange,” said Ben one afternoon.
“Yes,” agreed Barbara. Later that night, back in her room, she took out some paper.
“Strange things about the English: Number 1,” she wrote.
“There are some things that are bad, which you may talk about, and some things, which are good, that you may not talk about.”
She had discovered that you mustn’t talk about how much money a person earned, but you may talk about how much money a person spent. In fact, the English students talked about money all the time. You may, also, talk about love but not about illness. In fact, considered Barbara, students in England generally didn’t want to talk about anything serious.
Barbara had told her friends about her list and soon they were all making suggestions.
“When the English come back from other countries they always say what a lovely time they’ve had and how friendly everyone was. That’s because they don’t expect people to be friendly, because they aren’t friendly to foreigners,” said James.
“No,” said Barbara, “everyone’s been really nice to me since I got here.”
2) In the story the author writes about some things, places and people of Britain and the USA.
a) What do they mean? Match them with their descriptions. Label the pictures on p.19. Use the story for help. (reading for detail/extracting cultural information)
Manchester United (part 1)
David Beckham (part 1)
Scholarship (part 2)
Hugh Grant (part 3)
Sheffield (part 3)
the north-south divide (part 3)
the Grand Canyon (part 3)
Notting Hill (part 3)
Notting Hill (part 4)
• a very large valley divided by a river in the US state of Arizona
• a sum of money given to a student to help to pay for a course of study
• an area of West London known for its street Notting Hill Carnwal, organised by black people in August every year, known for the colourful costumes worn and the steel band music played
• a British film actor known for being attractive and who usually appears as a typical Englishman
• the difference between southern England and northern England and Scotland; people in the South usually earn more money than people in the North
• an English football player who played for Manchester United and also for the English National team
• one of the eight largest English cities, situated in the north of England, famous for its University and the National Centre for Popular Music
• a 1999 romantic comedy film set in the Notting Hill district in London
• a very popular English football team from Manchester
b) Learning to translate. Translate the sentences with the highlighted Past Participle. (understanding grammar structures)
3) Which statements are true? Which statements are false? Correct the false statements. Prove it from the text, (reading for detail)
• James was going to put D. Beckham’s shirt in a time capsule.
• Barbara was a student at the University of Westminster.
• Nobody from Barbara’s village had ever been to England.
• In England Barbara wanted to meet young people who looked like H. Grant.
• When Barbara arrived in Notting Hill she had a shock.
• Notting Hill population was from West India.
• It was easy for Barbara to understand the spoken language of English people.
• There were some topics the English were not expected to talk about.
• Barbara wrote about her English culture discoveries.
4) What had Barbara done before she came to England? What did she do in England? Complete the sentences. Use the verbs in brackets in the correct verb forms: Past Simple or Past Perfect. Use the story for help, (reading for detail)
came to England,
While in England,
(watch) many films about England.
(learn) about the north-south divide.
(win) the scholarship.
(discover) that the population of Notting Hill was mostly black.
(make) friends with local teenagers.
(learn) many things about English people.
5) Did Barbara’s ideas about England change? What new things did she learn about England? Prove it from the text, (reading for detail)
6) Why is the story called Notting Hill? (understanding unstated ideas)