The Story of America

[audio:americanculture1.mp3]
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When the speaker pauses, answer the question:

(You can write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page)

England is a diverse country.
The north and the south are different.
London is in the south.
York is in the north.

York is in Yorkshire, which is in northern England.

New York is in America which is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Why do these two cities have similar names?

Why do these two cities which are on opposite sides of the Atlantic have similar names?

Why do these two cites which are on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean have virtually the same name?

What is the connection?
Why is it?
Why is it that their names are so similar?

………………………answer now……………………

The answer is that the United States used to be an English colony.
The English colonized North America.
The United States used to be an English colony.

Canada was also an English colony.
In what year did America separate from England?
Do you know? Do you know what year it was?
Do you know in which year it happened?
Which year was it?

………………………answer now……………………

The Declaration of Independence was in 1776.
The American War of Independence lasted from 1775 until 1783.
The French helped the Americans.
They fought against the English.
What was happening in your country in 1776?
Has your country ever been a colony and what was happening in your country in 1776?

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Let’s get back to New York.
Let’s talk about New York.
New York is a very interesting place.
It is a very interesting city.
It is a world city.
Do you know what I mean by that?

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There are people from everywhere in New York.
There are people from every country in the world in New York.
There are people from every other country on earth.
It is a mix.
It is a mixture.
It is a big mixture.
It is a melting pot.
New York is an international city.
New York is a world city.

How come New York is such a mixture?
How come it got like that?
How come the US is such a big melting pot?

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After America became independent from England, many people went to America.
Why did people go to America?
Why did they go there?
Do you know?
Are you able to tell me?
Are you able to answer my question?
Why did all these people come to America?

………………………answer now……………………

Some people wanted a new beginning.
They wanted a new life.
They needed a fresh start.
Have you ever felt that you needed a fresh start?

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Some people wanted to escape from persecution.
Some people were running away.
Have you ever had to leave your home to escape persecution?

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So some people were following a dream and other people were running away from persecution.

There was another group of people too: slaves.
They were carried there as slaves.
They were forced to go to America.
Did you know that Afro-Americans are the descendants of slaves?

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There is one other group we should mention.
There is one group of people who were already there.
They were the native Americans.

They were the first Americans.
What do you know about them?

………………………answer now……………………

That was an interactive story. Did you answer the questions? Go back and listen again but do not read the text. Listen to the audio and answer the questions orally. Say your answers aloud.

After that you can read the notes and then do the speaking and listening again. Will reading improve your speaking and listening? Try it and find out!

You can find more interactive stories here at this link: interactive stories

NOTES on Different Types of Americans

America is a very diverse country. People from all the nations of the world have contributed to the creation of the United States of America.

African Americans

Many African Americans are the descendents of slaves. Are you interested in the history of slavery? There is a video about slavery in the US on Youtube. You can see it here:

Slavery ended in the US after the Civil War but racial segregation and racial tension remained a problem for a long time. Malcolm X talked about this:

And Martin Luther King talked about it, too:

You can read about African Americans at the wikipedia link on African Americans.

Native Americans

There were many different types of people in America at the time of European colonization. Look at this map of the different groups of language families in north America. It shows the diversity of the different cultures.

The native Americans were also called “American Indians”.

You can hear native Americans mentioned in this conversation. Listen and see what you can find out native Americans.

Dutch Americans

New York was called New Amsterdam before it was called New York. It was a Dutch colony before it was an English colony. A lot of Dutch people came to the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a Dutch American. Do you know anything about him? He was a very interesting man.

German Americans

German and Dutch are related languages. Germany was not a united country until the end of the 1800s. There were many different smaller Germanic nations. Some Germans came to America to escape religious persecution.


Italian Americans

Italy was also unified late in the 1800s. Before that it was broken up into different principalities and parts of empires. A lot of Italians came to America.

Jewish Americans

Jews came to America from many parts of Europe to escape persecution. Many of them stayed in New York. They significantly enlivened the cultural life of New York. They came from many nations in Europe. Henry Miller wrote about them.

Irish Americans

Many Irish came to America to escape the potato famine in the 1800’s. Do you know the cause of the potato famine? Do you know how to make mashed potatoes?

Scandinavian Americans

Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. There are many Scandinavian Americans in the northern part of the country. Do you know anything about Scandinavia?

Polish Americans

Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian Americans speak Slavic languages. They speak related languages.

Russian Americans


Many Russians came to the US at different times.

Spanish Americans and Mexican Americans

Spanish Americans and Mexican Americans generally speak Spanish.

Chinese Americans

So far we have talked of European Americans and African Americans and Native Americans. Some Americans came to America from the west. Chinese Americans are from Asia.

Japanese Americans and Korean Americans

Japanese Americans also came from Asia and so did Korean Americans.

Do you think Asian Americans resemble Native Americans in appearance?
Do you think there is a connection?

New York City

Back to the History Page


You can find somebody from everywhere in New York City.