TASKS: Read and translate the texts. Do exercises in written form.
2. Лексический и разговорный материал.
Madagascar is an island of the continent of Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world. It is in the Indian Ocean. Madagascar is formed by one large island and several small islands. The countrys total area is 226,658 square miles. It is about the size of Texas. The central part of this large island is made of a mountainous plateau. Madagascar is partly volcanic in origin. The land slopes steeply to a small or narrow lowland bordering the Indian Ocean in the east. There is a somewhat wider coastal plain next to the Mozambique Channel in the west. The best soil in the country is found along the coast, and in river valleys of the central plateau. The major rivers of Madagascar are Betsiboka, Mangoky and Onilahy. All rivers start on the east side of the country, and flow west towards the Mozambique Channel. The largest lake is near Toamasina. It is called Alaotra.
The eastern part of Madagascar gets a lot of rain, which is brought on shore by winds coming from the southeasterly direction. Most of the rain falls between November and April. Coastal regions remain at a warm or hot temperature throughout the year. The central plateau has a climate of warm summers and cool winters. Tropical rain forests are also in Madagascar. The Savanna woodlands and grasslands grow in the drier western regions. Desert vegetation occurs in the extreme southwest. Animal life is uncommon in Madagascar. Lemur is an animal that is found almost always in Madagascar. All the animals that are in Madagascar share characteristics with animals in Africa.
The minerals in Madagascar are like the ones in United States of America. They have coal and nickel. Other important mineral resources include bauxite, chromium, graphite, iron ore, petroleum and copper deposits, as well as small amounts of salt, garnets, and mica.
The two official languages of Madagascar are the Merina dialect of Malagasy, a language of Malayo-Indonesian origin, and the other is French. Approximately 41 percent of the religion in Madagascar is Christian. Fifty-two percent follows traditional beliefs and 7 percent is Muslim.
In 1975, Madagascars government said, under the constitution, that the country was ruled by a president who was elected for seven years. They have a twenty-two member Supreme Revolutionary Council, which is appointed by the president. They also have a Council of Ministers that is led by the Prime Minister. They have another council which is called the Peoples National Assembly. It is a 137 member assembly, elected by the people. The members serve a five year term. Madagascars Judicial system is based upon that of France. It includes a supreme court, located in Antananarivo, a court of appeal, eleven courts of first instance, and special economic and criminal tribunals. Madagascars military has 21,000 members. Madagascar is a member of the United Nations. It also is a part of the Organization of African Unity, and several other organizations.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country remains, like in colonial times, mostly agricultural. Eighty percent of the countrys labor force is engaged in agricultural activities.
Of course Madagascar has its own money. The money in Madagascar is called Malagasy franc. One dollar in US currency is equal to 1846.87 Malagasy francs.
The first European to sight the island was Diego Dias. Dias was from Portugal. He found the island in the 1500s. During the 17th century, the Portuguese, the English, and the French successively and unsuccessfully tried to colonize Madagascar. The French got a temporary hold on the island in 1642. They were driven out in 1674. They finally acquired trading places along the east coast in the following century.