When families gather for Christmas dinner, some will stick to formal traditions dating back to Grandma’s generation. Their tables will be set with the good dishes and silver, and the dress code will be Sunday-best.

  But in many other homes, this china--and--silver elegance has given way to stoneware (粗陶)--and--stainless informality, with dresses assuming an equally casual--Friday look. For hosts and guests, the change means greater simplicity and comfort. For makers of fine china in Britain, it spells economic hard times.

  Last week Royal Doulton, the largest employer in Stoke-onTrent, announced that it is eliminating 1,000 jobs--one-fifth of its total workforce. That brings to more than 4,000 the number of positions lost in 18 months in the pottery (陶瓷) region. Wedgwood and other pottery factories made cuts earlier.

  Although a strong pound and weak markets in Asia play a role in the downsizing, the layoffs in Stoke have their roots in earthshaking social shifts. A spokesman for Royal Doulton admitted that the company “has been somewhat slow in catching up with the trend”toward casual dining. Families eat together less often, he explained, and more people eat alone, either because they are single or they eat in front of television.

  Even dinner parties, if they happen at all, have gone causal. In a time of long work hours and demanding family schedules, busy hosts insist, rightly, that it’s better to share a takeout pizza on paper plates inthe family room than to wait for the perfect moment or a “real” dinner party. Too often, the perfect moment never comes, Iron a fine-pattened tablecloth? Forget it. Polish the silver? Who has time?

  Yet the loss of formality has its down side. The fine points of etiquette(礼节) that children might once have learned at the table by observation or instruction from parents and grandparents(“Chew with your mouth closed.”“keep your elbows off the table.”)must be picked up elsewhere. Some companies now offer etiquette seminars for employees who may be competent professionally but clueless socially.


  Choose correct answers to the question:

  1.The trend toward casual dining has resulted in ______

  A. bankruptcy of fine china manufacturers

  B. Shrinking of the pottery industry

  C. restructuring of large enterprises

  D. Economic recession in Great Britain

  2.Which of the following may be the best reason for casual dining?

  A. Family members need more time to relax.

  B. Busy schedules leave people no time for formality.

  C. People want to practice economy in times of scarcity.

  D. Young people won’t follow the etiquette of the older generation.

  3.It can be learned from the passage that Royal Doulton is _______

  A. a retailer of stainless steel tableware

  B. a dealer in stoneware

  C. a pottery chain store

  D. a producer of fine china

  4.The main cause of the layoffs in the pottery industry is _______

  A. the increased value of the pound

  B. the economic recession in Asia

  C. the change in people’s way of life

  D. the fierce competition at home and abroad

  5.Refined table manners, though less popular than before in current social life, _______

  A. are still a must on certain occasions

  B. are bound to return sooner or later

  C. are still being taught by parents at home

  D. Can help improve personal relationships

  1.[B] 推理判断题。首先依据题目中的casual dining找到第2段中的informality。其后有两个for引导的介词短语,后一个说“对于英国精致瓷器的制造商来说,这(informality)意味着经济困难时期”;此外,第3段用数据具体指出陶瓷业裁员之严重,说明陶瓷业在萎缩,即B。A、D均属夸大事实,C与文章内容无关。

  2.[B] 事实细节题。根据倒数第2段第2句中指出现今休闲文化流行的背景:工作时间长,家庭生活节奏紧张,B中的 Busy schedules与文中的demanding family schedules对应,故为答案。

  3.[D] 事实细节题。Royal Doulton在文章中出现过两次:第3段说它裁员,因为人们用餐越来越随意(不再讲究餐具的精致);第 4 段中“A spokesman for Royal Doulton admitted that the company...”,暗示公司的性质,可以推断它是精制器皿的生产者。

  4.[C] 事实细节题。根据题目中的the layoffs找到文章第4段首句,其中的have their roots in相当于题目中的main cause is,shifts相当于C中的change。其实本题与第1题是交叉相关的,从第1题的题目可找到本题的答案。

  5.[A] 事实细节题。根据最后一段,特别是第2句“The fine points of etiquette... must be picked up elsewhere良好的餐桌礼仪必须在其他地方被重拾起来”,可知礼仪在某些场合还是必要的,故答案为A。