Since its foundation in 1954, the United Nations has written into its major covenants(契约) the need to establish minimum ages for marriage. But the custom of marriage is a highly sensitive cultural issue, mainly because it is so unpleasantly involved with women’s rights and societal traditions and practices, and rules on marriage vary widely between countries. Some countries, particularly in West Africa, still do not have a legal minimum age for marriage.  
  In the West, a 13-year-old is still considered a child. Even getting married in one’s late teens is not usually encouraged because married life is likely to interfere with a young woman’s education and consequently restrict opportunities in later life. And there are also physical dangers in giving birth so young. The World Health Organization has over the past ten years identified early childbirth as a major cause of female mortality in many countries.
  Under Islamic religious law, the age of consent for sex and marriage is puberty, which Muslims say is in harmony with the biological transition from childhood into adulthood. In Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, the age of puberty at around 13 or 14 is the legal age for marriage, but in Turkey it is 15, and in Egypt and Tunisia, 18 the same minimum age as in many Western countries. It is argued that by allowing earlier marriages, Islamic law is promoting stable relationships, while Western laws are encouraging promiscuity among young people.  
  In many countries, the trends of urbanization and education for girls have seen a drop in the number of child brides. However, early marriages continue to occur in poor rural areas, where society works very much on personal arrangement between families, villages and communities. And it doesn’t only happen in countries which don’t have a legal minimum age. In India, for example, the legal age of marriage for a girl is 18 and to a boy, 21. Yet, according to government statistics, 18 percent of ten to fourteen-year old girls in the poor, rural state of Rajasthan in the northwest of the country are married. There are obvious social and economical advantages for doing this: by marrying off their daughters early, families no longer have to provide for them ; and the younger the bride the smaller the dowry(嫁妆), or wedding price, demanded by the groom’s family.  
  It is clear, then, that child marriages are connected with poverty, lack of education and rural customs such as dowries; there don’t tend to be any child marriages in urban or rich areas. So, unless these real causes are addressed, it will be extremely hard to enforce change, even when change is dictated by a country’s governing body. (451 words)
引用
  1. What is the topic of this passage?
  A. Child brides.
  B. Early marriages.
  C. Minimum age for marriage.
  D. Different attitudes towards early marriages.
  2. The word “promiscuity”(Line 9, Para. 3) means__________.
  A. unstable partnership B. firm partnership
  C. diverse relationship D. single relationship
  3. __________is likely to marry late.
  A. Women from less educated background
  B. Women from rural areas
  C. Women from Islamic countries
  D. Women from cities
  4. Child marriages are NOT related to __________according to the passage.
  A. social position B. rural customs
  C. personal arrangements D. religion
  5. According to the passage, getting married early does all of the following EXCEPT__________.
  A. reducing a young woman’s education
  B. limiting a young woman’s chances
  C. causing infant death
  D. doing harm to a young woman’s health


引用
  [答案]
  1.B 主旨题。本文列举了许多国家法定的最小结婚年龄及造成早婚的原因,所以,这篇文章的主题应是关于早婚。
  2.C 词义猜测题。根据是第三段最后一句。
  3.D 细节推断题。文中第四段考试.大的第一句里有此线索,即“In many countries, the trends …of child brides.”,由这句话判定D项是正确的。
  4.A 判断题。A项在本文中没有提到,故A项为答案。
  5.C 细节题。C项意为“早育使婴儿死亡”,而C项在本文没有提到。故C项为正确选项。
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