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2. How can you explain that fewer people are getting married nowadays?

3. Do you think a woman should give up her career after she gets married?

4. What is the difference in marriage traditions in European and Islamic countries? What is your attitude to them?

5. What do you think of arranged marriages? What role should parents play in the matter of their children’s marriage?

Vocabulary 1

Study the meaning of the following synonyms or near synonyms. Make up sentences or short situations to show how you understand the difference in their meaning.

1. to share, to divide

to share – делить, разделять, пользоваться вместе

E.g. They shared everything. – Они делили все.= У них было все общее.

I share your opinion. – Я разделяю ваше мнение.

to divide – делить, разделять на части

E.g. to divide something in two – делить что-либо пополам

They divided in opinion on this subject. – Они разделились (разошлись) во мнениях по этому вопросу.

2. security, safety

security – безопасность, защищенность, уверенность (в будущем)

E.g. national security – безопасность страны

I have a sense of security in his presence. – Его присутствие дает мне чувство безопасности (защищенности).

safety – безопасность, сохранность

E.g. road (traffic) safety – безопасность уличного движения

They kept the money in safety. – Они хранили деньги в надежном месте.

Compare also: to feel safe – чувствовать себя в безопасности (имеется в виду отсутствие угрозы)

to feel secure – чувствовать себя в безопасности (иметь чувство уверенности в будущем)

3. a vow, an oath

a vow – клятва, обет, торжественное обещание

E.g. to exchange vows – поклясться друг другу в верности

to make a vow to do smth – дать клятву что-то сделать

an oath – клятва, присяга

E.g. an oath of allegiance – присяга на верность

to testify on (under) oath – давать показания под присягой

to make (take) an oath – дать клятву, присягнуть

4. modern, contemporary

modern – современный, новый

E.g. modern ideas – современные, новые идеи

in modern times – в нынешние времена

contemporary – современный (чему-либо)

E.g. Dickens described contemporary society. – Диккенс изобразил современное ему общество.

a contemporary record of events – запись о событиях, сделанная их современником

5. fault, blame, guilt

fault – вина, недостаток, ошибка

E.g. It is my fault. – Это моя вина (ошибка).

a party at fault – (юр.) виновная сторона

to find fault with smb – придираться к кому-либо

blame – вина, ответственность, порицание

E.g. to lay the blame for smth on smb – возложить вину за что-либо на кого-либо

to take the blame upon oneself – взять вину на себя

guilt – вина, виновность, сознание вины

E.g. The criminal confessed his guilt. – Преступник признал свою вину.

We have no proof of his guilt. – У нас нет доказательств его вины (виновности).

to suffer from guilt – страдать от сознания вины

6. marriage, matrimony, wedlock

marriage – брак, супружество (институт брака в целом или брак конкретных лиц)

E.g. They were happy in their marriage. – Они были счастливы в браке.

Law of marriage – Брачное право

matrimony - (книжн.) брак, супружество (институт брака в целом)

E.g. to join in holy matrimony – соединить священными узами брака

wedlock – (книжн.) законный брак, супружество (не институт брака в целом, а конкретный брак)

E.g. children born in (out of) wedlock – дети, рожденные в браке (вне брака)

Reading for Information

Read the following article quickly and find answers to the questions given below. Try to concentrate only on the passages that provide the information you need and skip those that are of no importance to you at the moment.

1. What concrete data does the article give on the number of single-parent households in European countries?

2. What law on nontraditional families was passed in Denmark?

3. What would unmarried fathers (in France) be able to do if they were granted full parental rights?

4. What criteria must unmarried couples meet to be covered by new family legislation in the Netherlands?

5. Can an unmarried person have access to his/her partner’s pension?

6. What steps are taken by the authorities to ease the burden on single parents?

All in the Family … or Not

Tradition is in retreat across Europe, where new and varied

family structures are changing the way we live.

Stig Skovlind and Malene Nielsen met 21 years ago and 18 months after they started dating, the two moved in together. Over the years they pursued their careers, and had three children. What they never did was to get married.

“We considered marriage when we had our first child, mainly because it would give Stig a stronger position on custody rights in case we split up,” says Malene. But they quickly decided to leave things as they were. “We trust each other. We don’t need a document,” she says. Adds Stig: “Our attachment has to do with what we feel for each other. If we let legislation into our private space, it would not be good.”

This pattern holds true throughout much of Scandinavia, where about half of all children are born out of wedlock, almost double the EU average. This more informal structure is helped by a legal framework that is increasingly sympathetic to nontraditional families. In Denmark, for example, under a law passed in 2001, cohabiting couples automatically have joint custody of newborn children.

Throughout Europe couples like the Skovlind-Nielsons are redefining what the term family means. Forget the stereotype of a breadwinning father, stay-at-home mother and 2.4 children in a one-family dwelling, garage attached.

In the past 10 years in Germany, for instance, the number of single-parent households with a man at the head has risen by 63%, with female-led households rising by 31% over the same period. In the Netherlands, 23% of children are born out of wedlock. And in the Eastern bloc, out-of-wedlock births in Poland have almost doubled in the past 20 years.

What’s more, increasing numbers of Europeans are choosing not to have children at all, a trend that not only promises some sizable demographic shifts in the years ahead (with fewer younger people around to shoulder the cost of supporting their generational forebears) but also could cause a growing schism between parents and nonparents about how government money for social services is allocated. “It’s an explosion waiting to happen,” says Frank Ferudi, a reader in sociology at the university of Kent who is researching a book that, among other things, will explore the growing resentment childless couples have over what they see as preferential treatment for their child-rearing counterparts.

That’s not to say that the traditional family is completely dead and buried. In Great Britain, for example, around 63% of people with dependent children are married. But it’s an idea that’s fast losing ground. “Essentially, there is more diversity,” says Kathleen Kierman, a professor of social policy and demography at the London School of Economics.

These changing attitudes haven’t gone unnoticed by European governments. In 1998, when the coalition government came to power in Germany, one of its first moves was to redefine the family as any “relationship involving children,” thus stretching the concept. “The family can be lived in manifold ways,” says Gabriel Conen, head of the Family department at the Ministry for Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. “There is no ideological discussion any longer about what a family is. We don’t put up a model, but orient our policies toward what exists.”

Other countries are also taking steps to ensure that de-facto relationships have some legal recognition. About two years ago the French National Assembly passed the pactes civils de solidarité, which legally recognized and gave certain rights to couples living together. The French are now considering proposals that would grant full parental rights to both parents of children who were born out of wedlock. Registered unmarried fathers would be able to put their children on their social security card, receive school notices, claim aid for lodging to accommodate their offspring, even if they don’t have full custody, and qualify for family transportation discounts and tax deductions.

The Netherlands, too, allows couples who are not married, but who meet certain criteria, such as living together and making a commitment to mutual financial support, to register as a domestic partnership. New legislation means that such couples now have the rights of inheritance, pension and continued possession of an owner-occupied home.

But for many cohabiting couples such laws fall short, if they even exist. While they may provide proof that a relationship exists, they often do not carry full legal authority or grant unmarried partners the same tax breaks or entitlements that married couples enjoy, such as access to the partner’s pension.

If societies – and the governments they elect – approve of and encourage these new forms of family life, they must be prepared to pay for them in the form of child care and tax allowances – for both married and unmarried parents. “A lot of pressure could be taken off the mothers and fathers if there was better child care,” says Furedi. “But this isn’t happening at the moment”. He laments the situation in the UK, which has the worst record in Europe for looking after preschool children. “We are going to end up like those societies in Spain, Portugal and Italy where women just aren’t having children because they know it is impossible to have a kid and work. As a society we are just not able to organize life to make childbearing a realistic option and that would be a very sad state of affairs.”

Nevertheless, there are moves afoot in several countries to ease the burden on parents. In Germany, children of single parents take priority on kindergarten waiting lists and parents who need child care receive an annual allowance of $1,418. In France, the Prime Minister recently announced a plan to set aside $130 million for daycare. And Italy, a country with one of the lowest birthrates in the Western world, a campaign is under way to increase annual tax deductions for children from $250 a year – which, critics complain, is totally inadequate – to a more realistic $450 a year.

In other words, societies, politicians and policymakers are starting to recognize that families, whether they are nuclear or single-parent, are a part of the common good – and that children, the precious future of any society, must be cared for – no matter what kind of family they come from.

(From ‘Time’, abridged)


Now read the article very carefully, find the following word combinations in the text and learn their meaning. Make it a particular point to use these word combinations in the further overall discussion of the problem.

To consider smth (consider doing smth), to have full/joint custody of …, to leave things as they are, to hold true (This pattern holds true …), a framework (a legal framework, in the framework of …), to (re)define smth, a breadwinner, a trend, to allocate money for …, to claim aid for …, lodging, to qualify for smth, a tax deduction, to meet criteria, a right of inheritance, to fall short (Such laws fall short.), to carry full legal authority, a state of affairs, to ease smth, to receive an allowance.

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