Bac Techno Blanc Anglais LV1 2001 : Compréhension écrite

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Le sujet   2001 - Bac Techno - Anglais LV1 - Compréhension écrite

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I was out for a walk the other day and I was struck by an odd thing. It was a glorious day - as good as a day can get, and very probably the last of its type that we shall see for many a long wintry month around here - and yet almost every car that passed had its windows up.

All these drivers had adjusted their temperature controls to create a climate inside their sealed vehicles that was identical to the climate already existing in the larger world outside, and it occurred to me that where fresh air is concerned Americans have rather lost their minds, or sense of proportion, or something.

Oh, occasionally they will go out for the novel experience of being out of doors - they will go on a picnic, say, or for a day at the beach or to a big amusement park - but these are exceptional events. By and large most Americans have grown so reflexively habituated to the idea of passing the bulk of their lives in a series of climate-controlled environments that the possibility of an alternative no longer occurs to them.

So they shop in enclosed malls, and drive to those malls with the car windows up and the air-conditioning on, even when the weather is flawless, as it was on this day. They work in offices where they could not open the windows even if they wanted to - not, of course, that anyone would want to. When they go on holiday, it is often in an outsized motor-home that allows them to experience the great outdoors without actually exposing themselves to it. Increasingly, when they go to a sporting event it will be in an indoor stadium. Walk through almost any American neighbourhood now in summer and you won't see children on bikes or playing ball, for they are all inside. All you will hear is the uniform hum of air-conditioning units.

Cities across the nation have taken to building what are called skywalks - enclosed pedestrian flyovers, climate-controlled of course - connecting all the buildings in their centres.

Now it is possible to walk for half a mile or more downtown in any direction without ever setting foot outdoors. All the shops that used to be at street level have moved up to the first floor, where the pedestrian traffic now is. Now the only people you ever see at street level are winos and office workers standing around having a smoke. The outdoors, you see, has become a kind of purgatory, a place to which you are banished.

The last time I was in my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, I ran into an old friend of the family. He was dressed in a sweat-suit and told me that he had just come from a session with the Valley West Mall Hiking Club. It was a splendid April day, and I asked him why the club didn't use any of the city's several large and handsome parks.

'No rain, no cold, no hills, no muggers,' he replied without hesitation.

'But there are no muggers in Des Moines,' I pointed out.

'That's right,' he agreed at once, 'and do you know why ? Because there's nobody outside to mug.' He nodded his head emphatically, as if I hadn't thought of that as indeed I had not.

Bill Bryson, Notes From a Big Country (1998)


Tick the correct answer :

1) This text deals with
 o  American people's fear of cold weather
 o  American people's extensive use of air-conditioning
 o  American people's allergy to air-conditioning
 o  The danger of changing temperatures

2) The narrator
 o  approves of American people's attitudes
 o  is angry with American people
 o  criticizes American people's attitudes
 o  is not surprised at American people's attitudes

3) The narrator is
 o  English
 o  Irish
 o  American
 o  French


A) True or false ? Justify your answer with brief quotations :
1) The situation described in paragraph one takes place in fine weather
 o  True          o  False

2) On the day the narrator recalls, air-conditioning was necessary
 o  True          o  False

3) Americans are no longer used to being out of doors
 o  True          o  False

4) Americans mostly shop in street-markets
 o  True          o  False

5) In most American cities, shops are underground
 o  True          o  False

6) The narrator has always lived in the same town
 o  True          o  False

7) The narrator had not planned to meet his old friend when he went to Des Moines
 o  True          o  False

B) What are the four occasions when American people are outdoors ? Quote from the text.

C) Tick the correct answer
1) "The bulk of their lives" (ligne 11) means
 o  The early years of their lives
 o  A few years in their lives
 o  The most important part of their lives
 o  Half their lives

2) "An outsized motor-home" (ligne 16) is
 o  A motor-home that is too small
 o  A motor-home that is too big
 o  A motor-home that has a normal size
 o  A motor-home that has a strange aspect

3) "People having a smoke" (ligne 26) means
 o  People making a fire
 o  People smoking a cigarette
 o  People analysing smoke
 o  People running from a fire

4) "No muggers" (ligne 32) means
 o  No storms
 o  No wild animals
 o  No hunters
 o  No robbers

D) Pick out a sentence showing that the narrator disapproves of the Americans' attitude regarding the outdoors :

E) Find in the text equivalents of the following words or expressions :
1) Strange :
2) Closed :
3) I got the idea :
4) Perfect :
5) A walking person :
6) A bridge :
7) In the city centre :
8) Drunkards :