VOA词汇大师 - UNSV英语学习频道VOA词汇大师http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/http://www.unsv.com/images/unsv.gifWordMaster是美国之音推出的一档英语教学节目,邀请美国英语教育专家对现代英语流行词汇、俚语、习惯用语、语法以及英语教学等展开讨论。http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/zh-CNhttp://www.unsv.com60版权所有©2003-2011 UNSV.COM英语学习频道,保留所有权利。Thu, 21 Jan 2021 02:25:23 UTC<![CDATA[South Atlantic Island Creates Huge* Marine Protection Area]]>Susan Shand如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Tristan da Cunha is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean with only 245 permanent residents. Those residents have declared a marine protection area three times the size of Britain to help keep safe endangered animals. These include rockhopper penguins, the yellow-nosed albatross and other wildlife.

The island is supervised by the British government. People there call it the most remote inhabited island on Earth. The government said Friday that fishing and other activities will be banned from 627,247 square kilometers of ocean around Tristan da Cunha and the archipelago's three other major islands. The area will be the biggest "no-take zone" in the Atlantic Ocean and the fourth biggest anywhere in the world.

The goal is to protect fish that live in the waters and tens of millions of seabirds that feed on them, the island government said. The remote area is nearly equidistant from South Africa and Argentina.

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy project, an environmental effort, says the island supports 85 percent of the endangered northern rockhopper penguins, 11 kinds of whales and dolphins and most of the world's fur seals outside of Antarctica.

"Our life on Tristan da Cunha has always been based around our relationship with the sea, and that continues today," James Glass said in a statement. He is the Chief Islander. "That's why we're fully protecting 90 percent of our waters," he added.

The protection zone will become part of Britain's Blue Belt Program. It provides $35.5 million to assist marine conservation in the country's overseas territories. The program has now protected 11.1 million square kilometers of marine areas. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said that is equal to one percent of the world's oceans.

The waters around Tristan da Cunha serve as a feeding ground for the endangered Tristan albatross and yellow-nosed albatross.

The islands are also home to several kinds of land birds that live nowhere else. They include the Wilkins bunting, Britain's rarest bird, and the inaccessible rail, the world's smallest flightless bird, said the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy project assists with the creation of marine protected areas around the world. It said it would help Tristan da Cunha protect its waters with technology that uses real-time information to look at ocean conditions and human activity such as fishing. It is a joint project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bertarelli Foundation.

The "decision by the Tristan da Cunha Island Council to protect the archipelago's waters is a great example of local leadership that has a global impact," Dona Bertarelli said in a statement. She is co-chair of the Bertarelli Foundation.

The area includes four main islands. The largest is Tristan da Cunha, located 2,810 kilometers west of Cape Town, South Africa. Britain took possession of Tristan da Cunha in 1816 and established the first permanent settlement.

I'm Susan Shand.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

remote– adj. far away from other things

archipelago– n. a group of islands

zonen. an area that is different or set apart for a special reason

albatross– n.a large ocean bird with very long wings

equidistant– adj. of equal distance, at an equal distance from two or more places

global– adj. involving the whole world

impact–n. a powerful or major influence]]>VOA词汇大师Mon, 23 Nov 2020 03:20:00 UTC<![CDATA[美语方言:美国本土的各式英语 | The Many Ways to Speak American English]]>Stephen Kaufman如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

Y’all就是“你们大家”(=You all),在美国南方常常能听到这种说法,例如图中肯塔基州的佛罗伦萨市(Florence, Kentucky)。
Y’all就是“你们大家”(=You all),在美国南方常常能听到这种说法,例如图中肯塔基州的佛罗伦萨市(Florence, Kentucky)。

When you meet Americans, can you tell which part of the country they are from simply by listening to them? Or if someone asked you to imitate an American, would you try to sound like you were from Texas, Southern California or somewhere else? Chances are, it would be an accent you heard in a film or TV show rather than what you learned in class.

当你遇到美国人时,单听他们讲话你能说出他们来自美国的哪个地方吗?或者如果有人让你模仿一下美国人,你会试着让自己听起来像是来自得克萨斯州(Texas)、南加州(Southern California)或其他某地吗?你模仿的口音多半是你从某部电影或电视剧中听到的,而不是在课堂上学到的。

The American accent most nonnative speakers learn is just one among many used daily across the United States. Known as General American (GenAm), it is the same accent you would typically hear on network news, nationally syndicated radio, films and other media where the speakers do not want to draw attention to their background.

绝大部分母语不是美语的人学说的美国口音只不过是美国各地形形色色的地方口音中的一种。它被称为美国普通话(General American, GenAm),和你通常在电视新闻、全国性广播电台、 电影和其他媒体中听到的美语一样,因为这些媒体机构的人员不想特别突出自己的家乡口音。

GenAm has its roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other areas that make up “the Rust Belt,” and it followed settlers westward through the Midwest to California and the Pacific Northwest. The rise of radio and television in the 20th century led media outlets to investigate which American accent seemed the most “neutral” to the public and would therefore be understood by the widest audience.

美国普通话源于宾夕法尼亚州(Pennsylvania)、俄亥俄州(Ohio)和组成“铁锈地带”(Rust Belt)的其他地区,它跟随开拓者穿越中西部西行到加利福尼亚和太平洋西北部沿岸。20世纪广播电视的兴起促使媒体机构开始调查哪一种美国口音让公众听起来最为“中性”并能让最广泛的受众听懂。

While most Americans can easily identify a Southern or New England accent, for example, GenAm has become the national standard, even though its native speakers are confined to a small area of the Midwest.


Most Americans grow up speaking the same way as their parents and neighbors, but sometimes they adopt more common language characteristics to sound less regional or better educated. For example, as a child with a strong Mid-Atlantic background, I once pronounced the U.S. capital city as “Warshington” and the nearby city of Baltimore as “Bawldimer.” My Virginia-born grandfather also worked hard to lose his Southern accent when he moved to New York, since regional accents often invite biased social judgments about the speaker.




Like the United States, the United Kingdom has its own diversity of regional accents, and it has adopted a standard known as Received Pronunciation (RP) that is heard on the BBC and other national news outlets. If you are learning British English, you are most likely learning RP, which spread from southern England among the upper classes in the 18th and 19th centuries.

同美国一样,英国也有自己多种多样的地方口音。英国采用了一种标准发音(Received Pronunciation, RP),这是人们在英国广播公司(BBC)和其他全国性新闻媒体听到的发音。如果你在学英式英语,那么十有八九你是在学标准发音,这种发音在18世纪和19世纪流行于英国南部的上层社会。

One noticeable difference is the American use of the flat “a,” so the word "dance" does not sound like “dahnce.” Perhaps the most easily identified difference between RP and GenAm is the pronunciation of the letter “r” in some words, which phoneticians call rhotacism. For example, an American newsreader will pronounce the r in “hard,” but on British media it will sound more like “hahd.”


All Americans have some kind of an accent. Natives of a relatively small area of the Midwest are closest to the standard known as 'General American.' | 所有的美国人都有某种口音。中西部一个较小地区的居民的发音最接近美国普通话的标准发音。
All Americans have some kind of an accent. Natives of a relatively small area of the Midwest are closest to the standard known as 'General American.' | 所有的美国人都有某种口音。中西部一个较小地区的居民的发音最接近美国普通话的标准发音。

Some American accents, especially in the South, New England and New York, where port cities maintained close trading ties with England, joined their British counterparts in dropping the r sound, but 18th- and 19th-century Americans living inland, many of whom were immigrants from Scotland, Ireland or northern England where the r is pronounced, kept the rhotic accent.


In fact, at the time of the American Revolution, the English language being spoken on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean was rhotic. Despite many films that show colonial Americans speaking in a modern British accent, it did not become fashionable to start dropping the r in places like Massachusetts and South Carolina until after the United States gained its independence.

事实上,在美国革命时期(American Revolution),大西洋两岸都讲r音化的英语。尽管许多电影中殖民时期的美国人都操现代英式口音,但在马萨诸塞州和南卡罗来纳州等地,直到美国获得独立之后不发r音才开始流行起来。

English actor Hugh Laurie, famous for his role on the TV show House, has described American r’s and l’s as the “twin demons for anyone trying to do an American accent.” In a 2012 interview with National Public Radio, he said he warms up for his character by practicing the word “really.” Laurie’s accent is so good that the executive producer of House is said to have been completely unaware that he was English when he auditioned.

因出演电视剧集《豪斯医生》(House)而成名的英国演员休•劳瑞(Hugh Laurie)将美国英语中的r和l说成是“任何想学美国口音者都要降服的孪生妖魔”。 在2012年接受全国广播电台(National Public Radio)的采访时,他说他通过练习念单词“really”来为自己的角色热身。劳瑞的口音极为标准,以致在他试镜时据说连《豪斯医生》的执行制片人都全然没有意识到他是英国人。

Along with helping to preserve the r sound, American speech has also retained several words and expressions that have fallen out of use in the United Kingdom. For example, Americans will still use “mad” for “angry” and “fall” for “autumn.”


Thanks to American films, music, TV shows and other media, American accents are becoming more familiar to nonnative English speakers. Some of the most famous examples of regional dialect have come from U.S. politicians. Compare the New England accent of President John F. Kennedy to Arkansas-native President Bill Clinton’s Southern style of speaking. Of course, both men, like most Americans, probably grew up thinking they didn’t have any kind of an accent!

美国的电影、音乐、电视剧和其他媒体正在帮助母语不是美语的人越来越熟悉美国口音。一些最广为人知的方言例子出自美国政客之口。你不妨将约翰•肯尼迪总统(John F. Kennedy)的新英格兰口音和阿肯色州人比尔•克林顿(Bill Clinton)总统的南方口音做个比较。当然,他们俩人像大多数美国人一样,在成长过程中大概以为自己说话根本没有口音!

]]>http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/2013/04/29/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/2013/04/29/VOA词汇大师Mon, 29 Apr 2013 03:47:00 UTC<![CDATA[林书豪为什么外号Linsanity?]]>UNSV英语学习频道如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

【学个词:insanity】insanity由in+sanity构成,sanity为不可数名词,精神健康之意。而in-是英语中的反义词前缀。所以,insanity就是精精神错乱、疯狂之意。最近很火的词Linsanity即是Lin和Insanity的合体字,意为“林疯狂”。想学英语,果断关注最给力的UNSV.COM英语学习频道 .

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/2012/02/20/Linsanity/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/2012/02/20/Linsanity/VOA词汇大师Sun, 19 Feb 2012 16:00:00 UTC
<![CDATA[选举常见术语 Glossary of U.S. Election Terms]]>U.S. Embassy如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

缺席投票(Absentee voting

缺席投票能够让无法前往投票站投票的选民参加投票。选民可因不同原因无法在选举日当天前往投票站,例如身居国外、身患疾病、在旅行途中或服兵役等。缺席投票让登记选民可以邮寄自己的选票。联邦法律《服役公民与海外公民缺席投票法》(Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act)确定了总统大选举的缺席投票规则。所有其他类型选举的缺席投票规则由各州制定,因而有所不同。在俄勒冈州,所有选举投票都以邮寄方式进行,但选民也可以选择亲自前往郡投票站投票。

公民表决提案(Ballot initiative




蓝州(Blue state


巴克利诉瓦莱奥案(Buckley v. Valeo

巴克利诉瓦莱奥案导致1976美国最高法院对竞选资助法作出具有里程碑意义的裁决。该裁决维持了《联邦竞选法》(Federal Election Campaign Act)中有关财务披露、捐款限制以及总统大选公共资金的规定。法院推翻了该法对竞选开支的限制,但运用公共资金的总统候选人自愿接受的开支限额不在此涵盖范围。因此,这项裁决使国会议员候选人(无公共资金)的竞选开支不受限制,也使支持或反对某一候选人——但不与任何候选人或竞选活动协作——的个人或团体可以无限额地投入资金。这项裁决还确定,对没有接受公共资金的候选人在竞选活动中使用个人资金不必有任何限制。另见《麦凯恩-法因戈尔德法》


预选会议是地方级会议,在这个会议上,一个政党在市、镇或者郡县中的注册党员对支持本党哪一位候选人作出决定。在州选举或全国联邦职位竞选中,这些地方会议意见的总汇结果决定了该州党员所支持的候选人。Caucus一词也用来指由一些民选官员基于共同目标组成的团体,旨在为支持共同的政治议程作政策规划,例如著名的“国会黑人核心小组”(Congressional Black Caucus)和“国会拉美裔核心小组”(Congressional Hispanic Caucus)。这两个小组的成员分别致力于讨论和推进各自选民群体的利益。



公民联合会诉联邦选举委员会案(Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission


非开放式初选(Closed Primary






会后弹升(Convention bounce



一位政府官员所代表的人民就是他/她的选民。这个词有时仅指那些投票选出该官员的选民。总统的选民包括全体美国人民; 一位市长的选民包括该市或该镇的居民。



分掌政府(Divided government


选举协助委员会(Election Assistance Commission

选举协助委员会根据2002年《帮助美国投票法》(Help America Vote Act)成立,主要作为选举信息全国交流中心和资源中心。它也审视联邦选举的管理和程序。

选举团(Electoral College


联邦竞选法(Federal Election Campaign Act


联邦选举委员会(Federal Election Commission








硬钱/软钱(Hard money/Soft money


《哈奇法》(Hatch Act

《帮助美国投票法》(Help America Vote Act
为了解决在2000年总统选举中遇到的投票问题,国会通过了《帮助美国投票法》。这项立法鼓励州和地方政府淘汰打卡及杠杆投票机。根据《帮助美国投票法》的规定,自2003年以来已向州拨款29亿美元,用于改进选举程序。这项立法还设立了选举协助委员会(Election Assistance Commission),为管理联邦选举以及选举法和选举项目提供支持。

赛马(Horse race



跛脚鸭(Lame duck


对等资金或公共资金(Matching funds or public funding
同意限制其竞选开支的总统候选人可以获得公共资金资助。来自个人的、总计不超过250美元的捐款可以带来从总统选举竞选基金(Presidential Election Campaign Fund)中拨出的对等资金。此项基金来源包括由有资格的纳税人在所得税申报表上自愿认捐的每人3美元。另见纳税人认捐机制

正式名称为《两党竞选改革法案》(Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act)。《麦凯恩-法因戈尔德法》是根据两位主要参议院发起人(亚利桑那州的共和党人麦凯恩和威斯康星州的民主党人法因戈尔德)命名,旨在消除“软钱”对候选人竞选联邦职务的影响。该法取消了过去允许使用软钱帮助候选人竞选联邦职务的“漏洞”(即立法疏漏)。另见硬钱/软钱

负面广告(Negative ads




开放式初选(Open primary




政治行动委员会(Political Action Committee





初选是州一级选举。选民在初选中选出隶属于某一政党、将在今后大选中与另一政党的候选人展开竞争的候选人。初选可以是“开放式”(Open),即允许州里任何一名登记选民参加投票决定政党候选人;也可以是 “非开放式”(closed),即只允许属于某一政党的登记选民投票选举该党的候选人。另见非开放式初选开放式初选



抗议票(Protest vote


公共资金(Public funding


导向性民意调查(Push polling


指 在州内对选举国会众议员的选区范围进行重新划分。州内的民主党人和共和党人都力图掌控重新划分选区的法律和政治机制——通常是经由州立法机构,以便让重划选区给自己的政党带来选举优势。

红州(Red state



单一席位选区(Single-member district

单一席位选区是美国选举产生联邦和州议员的现行体制,即每一选区有一个议员席位;得票最多的候选人当选。“单一席位”制意味着一个选区只能有一个政党获胜。欧洲实行比例代表制(proportional system),其选区范围相对大得多,可使数个候选人基于各党得票比例同时当选。

软钱(Soft money


话语片段(Sound bite


政治化妆师(Spin doctor

指由竞选班子雇用的媒体或政治顾问,用以确保让候选人在任何情况下都得到最佳宣传报道。这些媒体顾问的作用是把一种情形或事件朝着对自己一方尽可能有利的方向 “发挥”。

意向测验/投票(Straw poll/vote


摇摆选民(Swing voters


超级政治行动委员会(Super PAC


超级星期二(Super Tuesday

“超级星期二” 这一用语从1988年开始流行,当时一些南方州联合起来,举行了第一次有影响力的大规模地区初选,以期提升南方各州在总统候选人提名程序中的重要性,减弱艾奥瓦预选和新罕布什尔初选等早期投票结果的影响。今天,该用语的意义已经较为宽泛,多指在总统初选季节不同地区于一个或数个星期二可能举行的数场州级初选。这些集中举行的初选意义重大,因为这种大规模的投票结果会产生一大批全国党代会代表,可能导致角逐总统候选人的某些人士脱颖而出或被迫出局。2012年的“超级星期二”为3月6日。但是,由于一些州已将初选日期提前,因此今年“超级星期二”的重要性将不如往年。

纳税人认捐机制(Taxpayer check-off system


任期限制(Term limits


第三党(Third party


拆分投票(Ticket splitting


现场交流会(Town hall meeting


跟踪调查(Tracking survey


http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/2012/01/06/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/2012/01/06/VOA词汇大师Thu, 5 Jan 2012 16:00:00 UTC
<![CDATA['App' an Apt Word for Tech-Crazy 2010, but How Do You Even Say 'Culturomics'?]]>Rosanne Skirble, Avi Arditti如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: We check in with the American Dialect Society for some notable words from the past year, including the one that the group considers least likely to succeed.

RS: But we start with the word of the year for 2010 as voted Friday night at a meeting of language scholars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Ben Zimmer chairs the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society.

BEN ZIMMER: "The word of the year is 'app,' a-p-p. That's, of course, an application program for a computer or a phone operating system. It's a word that has been around for a while. People might have talked about a 'killer app,' a particularly important computer application, like spreadsheets were a killer app.

"But now we use that word app just to refer to these little programs that we run on our mobile devices or on Facebook or lots of other places. People just expect anything should have some sort of associated app now."

RS: "Was app the overwhelming victor?

Ben Zimmer
Ben Zimmer

BEN ZIMMER: "Well, the word that came in second place was also a three-letter word, and the one that app beat out is 'nom,' n-o-m, which is a form of onomatopoeia. In other words, it sounds like what it's supposed to represent, in this case the sound of pleasurable eating. You can think of it a bit like 'yum.' It can be used an interjection. It can be used as a noun to refer to delicious food. You could talk about 'noms' as in 'Let's get some noms,' meaning let's get some food to eat."

AA: "When did this arrive on the scene?"

BEN ZIMMER: "Well, it's been percolating for the past few years, especially online. It also started showing up this past year a lot on Twitter, where on Twitter sometimes if you're sending a tweet while you're eating, you might append a nom on that to talk about how delicious whatever food you're eating happens to be.

"There's a lot of dispute actually about where exactly it first developed. But Cookie Monster from 'Sesame Street' seems to have played an important role in people's use of this, because Cookie Monster on that children's television show eats cookies in a very ravenous fashion. And the noise that he makes as he's eating cookies sounds like 'nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom."

AA: "Now, I'm looking at the category of least likely to succeed, and I see that the winner there, with 44 out of 85 votes cast in that category, was -- how do you even pronounce that?"

RS: "Cultur-OH-mics?"

AA: "I can never say it."

BEN ZIMMER: "Well, that's part of the problem --

RS: "Cultur-AH-mics?"

BEN ZIMMER: "People don't know how to pronounce it. The word is 'culturomics,' and it's pronounced cultur-oh-mics, spelled c-u-l-t-u-r-o-m-i-c-s. It's that o-m-i-c-s ending that confused a lot of people. Some people thought this word should be pronounced cultur-ah-mics because it seems like it might have to do with economics.

"But what this word is, it came from a paper that was published in the journal Science by a team of researchers at Harvard and Google. And it was about research that was done analyzing the history of language and culture by using the millions and millions of books and other materials that have been scanned by Google from the big research libraries.

"What's called Google Books has created a big corpus, or collection of texts, that can now be analyzed in very interesting new ways. And there are all sorts of great new applications, and Google actually presented this to the public in the form of what they called the N-gram Viewer which allows you to plug in words or phrases and see how they've waxed and waned over time. So there's all sort of really interesting applications for this research. Unfortunately the name that was given did not quite resonate with people who were trying to figure out what the heck it might mean.

"The name was a bit of a stumper, and the problem with the name is that -omics ending comes from genomics. So that's the study of the human genome and how you can find out things about evolution or population dynamics by crunching lots of data and doing what's called genomics. And so the idea here is you could crunch lots of data about the history of culture and use those similar research techniques for what they call culturomics."

RS: Ben Zimmer is executive producer of VisualThesaurus.com and the "On Language" columnist for the New York Times Magazine. He heads the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society.

AA: For links to all of their notable words of 2010 and previous years, and that N-gram Viewer we talked about, go to www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster.

RS: And that's WORDMASTER for this week. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

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<![CDATA[Finding Comfort in Euphemisms When Words Make Us Feel Uneasy]]>Rosanne Skirble, Avi Arditti如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: There's a new book called "Euphemania: Our Love Affair With Euphemisms."

RS: Author Ralph Keyes defines euphemisms as comfort words that we use in place of words that make us feel uncomfortable.

RALPH KEYES: "Today we no longer feel any strong need to say 'gad' or 'golly' instead of God. And yet euphemisms reflect changing values. We're much more likely today to make euphemisms out of words for money or money-related matters, for war, for death.

"If we aren't comfortable saying we 'slaughter' meat, we 'butcher' meat, we can always say we 'process it.' I was recently at a park in California and at the entrance to the park it said 'Feral pig depredation in process.'"

AA: "Huh?"

Ralph Keyes
Ralph Keyes

RALPH KEYES: "Depredation. Yeah, huh, exactly."

AA: "Feral pig -- oh, I get it."

RALPH KEYES: "A lot of pigs are going to die. But we're not comfortable saying 'die.' If you walk through old graveyards, and I've done this, sometimes even the old, old tombstones would talk about 'Worms are eating his corpse' and 'Soon, you shall be like me.' Nowadays we wouldn't dream of using words like those. You know, people 'pass,' they 'pass on,' they 'went over,' you know, they were 'called home.'"

AA: Well, interestingly, one thing I learned from your book is what 'consumption' is. I'd been hearing that word all my life and never really knew what it was. Why don't you tell us what consumption is?"

RALPH KEYES: "Well, this one is personal to me because my great-grandmother, Myrtie Lacey, died of consumption. And it was only quite a few years later that I learned that consumption is an old-time euphemism for tuberculosis. Tuberculosis used to be the biggest killer, and so we came up with lots of euphemisms for that disease, the most common one being 'consumption' because tuberculosis 'consumed' the body."

RS: "Do euphemisms change over time? In your research did you find that?"

RALPH KEYES: "Oh, yes.  We're always clever about finding new ways to express ourselves. One thing I saw and included in the book was the word 'canoe.' [It] showed up as an old-time euphemism for sex. Well, I've since learned that 'going canoeing' is the full euphemism.

"Now, why is that a euphemism? Well, because in a time when couples were supposed to be chaperoned when they were out together, they quickly discovered that if they went out in a canoe, there wasn't room for a third person. And today we say 'hook up.'"

AA: "Well, you know, and on a somewhat related topic, lately there was all this controversy about the new increased security measures at the airports in the US, and this new phrase 'Don't touch my junk' has become -- "

RALPH KEYES: "Isn't that amazing? Where did 'junk' come from?"

AA: "And, of course, we're talking about 'privates' Laughter

RALPH KEYES: "Privates, exactly. Thank you, Avi."

RS "'Private parts.'"

AA: "'Private parts,' to use the technical term."


RS: "You talk about how our values are changing. How do you see through euphemisms that our lives are changing?"

RALPH KEYES: "Well, you can tell what issues we're concerned about most. The oldest known euphemism is bear. 'Bear' is a derivation of 'bruin,' which means 'the brown one.' And some of our earliest ancestors in northern Europe were so afraid of this large, ferocious animal that they wouldn't even say its actual name. Bear has now become, of course, the standard word for this animal. We no longer know what the original word was."

AA: Today's euphemisms suggest to Ralph Keyes that people are likely to more afraid of bear markets than actual bears.

RALPH KEYES: "You don't even use the word money. You say 'assets,' 'liquid assets.' You don't 'borrow' money, you 'leverage.' You don't 'pay off' loans, you 'deleverage.' You know, markets don't 'fall,' there's an 'equity retreat' or a 'market correction.'"

AA: "'Equity' itself -- these home equity loans, the way that people were borrowing against their homes. They used to be called second mortgages."

RALPH KEYES: "Exactly. Which is a much more clear and ominous term -- a 'second mortgage.' It's like a second ball and chain, which is why it got changed to 'home equity loans' by the lending industry."

RS: "Just one last question, is focused on our audience of speakers of English as a foreign language. What would you recommend, what advice would you give for them studying euphemisms?"

RALPH KEYES: "Well, I'd listen very carefully for the ways people use euphemisms, because they do all the time, and you can get in trouble by either not understanding the euphemisms that are being used or using the wrong ones.

"And incidentally, this can happen even among English speakers. In the US, for example, 'top-shelf' refers to first rate [best quality]. In the UK, 'top-shelf' refers to pornography, because it's kept on a top shelf."

RS: Ralph Keyes is an author, speaker and teacher.  His newest book is called "Euphemania: Our Love Affair With Euphemisms." And that's WORDMASTER for this week.

AA: Archives are at www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

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<![CDATA[Writing Laws So Lawyers Are Not the Only Ones Who Can Read Them]]>Rosanne Skirble, Avi Arditti如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: Our guest is David Marcello, executive director of the Public Law Center, a joint program of the Tulane and Loyola law schools in New Orleans.

RS: For about 20 years now, the center has been training people from other countries whose job is to write legislation. More than 500 legislative drafters from 90 countries have attended a training institute held each June.

AA: David Marcello says two trends account for the need for increased skills in legislative drafting. The first: the move toward a global economy, requiring more international trade agreements.

DAVID MARCELLO: "The second is the move toward democratization, which likewise requires a new regime of domestic laws. So legislative drafting personnel -- the people who actually write the acts that are considered by legislative bodies -- have been under the gun to produce better drafts of legislation. And our program has attempted to respond to that need with the two-week training program."

RS: "How important is language?"

David Marcello
David Marcello

DAVID MARCELLO: "Language is, of course, how we communicate policy, and it's important that those communications -- particularly in the form of legislation -- be direct and simple and free as much as possible from ambiguity."

RS: "You say that it's important to be direct and to be simple. How do you teach that in two weeks?"

DAVID MARCELLO: "We like to ask our drafters at the end of the training, Which of the techniques that we have suggested can you take home next week and put into practice in your office? And then we list them: shorter sentences and paragraphs. Everyday language. Words that have ordinary meanings in dictionaries. Punctuation that is used appropriately.

"All of these things are things that drafters can do to enhance reader understanding and to eliminate ambiguity in the law. And they do not need to ask permission to do these things. They can do them because they are appropriately within the realm of the drafter's role and discretion.

"Many pieces of legislation are written in a way that suggests they only speak to one group of people: the lawyers who wrote it. In fact, legislation should speak as broadly as possible to as many people as possible, and plain English is one way of doing that -- or plain language, more generally speaking."

AA: "And I'm curious about that. Again, from language to language, culture to culture, are there some where you find it's just easier to write more plainly and directly?"

DAVID MARCELLO: "I think across most cultures the tendency to write in more complicated modes of expression has been characteristic in the past. I see it as more a measure of modernity, moving into a more modern idiom, that we move from complicated to simpler expression.

"You know, you have to have a certain confidence in your ability as a culture to express policy before you can embrace the simplest way of doing that. The law has a dignity that will not be denied by the use of plain language. It does not need outdated, complicated forms of expression in order to accomplish its purposes. And, in fact, its purposes are best accomplished by the use of plain language rather than language that keeps readers from understanding what's intended."

RS: "When you present these ideas to your students, the people who are taking your seminar from other countries, are you basically raising awareness to this point?"

DAVID MARCELLO: "I'll relate for you an anecdote that one of our former drafting participants gave to us. She said that she felt she had not been well-served by her legal education because she was taught to write in flowery language. And she realized as she looked back upon it that that might have been a deliberate strategy by a government that was not particularly governed by the rule of law, but rather by the rule of edict. The rule of law carries substance and meaning at its heart and it constrains government."

AA: David Marcello at the Public Law Center in New Orleans says legislative drafters sometimes face resistance to what they learn there. But he says some countries have invited staff from the center to come and provide follow-up training.

RS: Training not only for other drafters, but in some cases for the politicians elected to vote on what they draft. And that's WORDMASTER for this week. With Avi Arditti, I'm Rosanne Skirble.

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<![CDATA[Seriously: 'OK' Began as a Joke in a Newspaper in Boston in 1839]]>Rosanne Skirble, Avi Arditti如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: We talk with Allan Metcalf, author of the new book "OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word."

RS: And not just the greatest word, in his view.

ALLAN METCALF: "America's most important word. The most successful American export to the rest of the world. And also the embodiment of the American philosophy, the American way of thinking."

AA: "All this, packed into two letters."

ALLAN METCALF: "Yes, that's the beauty of it and that's the economy of it. One of the two aspects of the American view of the world is pragmatism, getting things done. Even if they're not perfect, they're OK. And the nice thing about OK is it doesn't imply that everything is perfect or beautiful or wonderful. In fact, it's a neutral affirmation. When you say 'That's OK' or someone asks you 'How are you?' and you say 'I'm OK,' it doesn't mean that you're in perfect health. But it also doesn't mean that you're sick.

RS: "OK [is] just two letters of the alphabet. Do they stand for something?"

Allan Metcalf
Allan Metcalf

ALLAN METCALF: "Well, they do, as a matter of fact. One of the curious things about OK that makes it require a whole book to tell its story is that it began as a joke. It was on March 23, 1839, in a Boston newspaper, that the newspaper first used 'o.k.' and explained those as an abbreviation for 'all correct.' And, of course, the joke was that 'o' is not the beginning of 'all' and 'k' is not the beginning of 'correct.' So this thing supposedly all correct was not all correct."

AA: "Kind of a sarcastic joke, or what was it meant to be?"

ALLAN METCALF: "Well, it was not so sarcastic. It turned out that at that time in Boston there were all sorts of supposedly humorous abbreviations in the newspapers of that sort. And most of these abbreviations completely disappeared. And you could well imagine that they would, because they were rather stupid.

"But it turns out that in the next year, 1840, in the American presidential election of 1840, a man named Martin Van Buren was running for re-election. He happened to come from Kinderhook, New York, and so somebody thought of calling him 'Old Kinderhook' and then thought of founding clubs supporting him throughout the country, called OK Clubs. OK, Old Kinderhook, is OK, all correct or all right. And that suddenly gave continued life and prominence to OK.

"And then there was a third, very strange thing that happened. During that presidential election year, Martin Van Burne's predecessor as president had been Andrew Jackson, and so there was an attack on Andrew Jackson by an opponent of Van Buren. The attack said that Jackson couldn't spell, so that Jackson would look at a document and if he approved of it, he would write OK on it, meaning it was all correct. Now it turns out that that was a complete hoax.

"It turns out that Andrew Jackson actually could spell pretty well, and the curator of the documents of Andrew Jackson confirms that he never wrote OK on a document. But as a result of that story, within about twenty years people really began marking OK on documents, as they have done ever since. And so it took on a practical, down-to-earth aspect that ultimately developed into the OK we know today."

RS: But Allan Metcalf says the idea that OK began as a joke kept people trying to guess where it really came from.

ALLAN METCALF: "The OK-as-Andrew-Jackson's hoax was the first misleading statement of its origins. And then around the 1880s a professor decided that the true origin was from the Choctaw Indian language, where they had an expression like OK which means 'it is so,' and for various reasons that was proposed as the true explanation for OK. They spelled it 'okeh,' and the only American president ever to have a PhD, Woodrow Wilson, thought that was the correct explanation, so he would mark o-k-e-h on documents."

AA: And, as we will hear next week, there is more to "OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word." Allan Metcalf is an English professor at MacMurray College in Illinois and executive secretary of the American Dialect Society.

RS:    And that's WORDMASTER for this week. Transcripts and MP3s of our program are at www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster. With Avi Arditti. I'm Rosanne Skirble.


AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: We're back with the author of the new book "OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word."

RS: Last week, Allan Metcalf explained how OK began as a joke on March 23, 1839. That was the day a Boston newspaper first used it as a humorous, misspelled abbreviation for "all correct." Other factors later helped propel OK into wider use.

AA: But not everyone thought OK was OK, says Allan Metcalf.

ALLAN METCALF: "Throughout the rest of the nineteenth century, it was well-known, but there were places where it was not used. And one of them was by writers of fiction. All the good writers seemed to avoid OK, like Mark Twain, who certainly used slang, and Brett Hart. Both of them could easily have used OK. They must have known it. But they avoided it."

AA: "What did they use in its place?"

ALLAN METCALF: "Just something like 'all right' or 'that will do' or whatever else. And then there's a very interesting case. Louisa May Alcott wrote a book called 'Little Women' about twenty years after OK was invented. And, in it, there's one OK in a letter from one of the girls to her sisters.

"And then that was revised for a second edition, and OK was removed and 'cozy' was put in instead. So everything is 'cozy' instead of everything is 'OK.' So there must have been some sense that OK was too silly a term to use even in fiction."

RS: "How does OK in our vocabulary represent who we are as Americans?"

ALLAN METCALF: "One way that it represents who we are is that it represents the pragmatic sense of getting it done. Maybe not getting it done perfectly, but it's OK. But the other way began with a book published in 1967 by a guy named Thomas Harris. The book is called 'I'm OK -- You're OK.' And the book happens to be about a kind of psychology known as transactional analysis.

"Now most of us have either forgotten or never heard about transactional analysis. But that brilliant statement, 'I'm OK -- You're OK,' which happens also to be the only famous quotation ever involving OK, is one that has seeped into our American consciousness.

"And I think nowadays we as a people are much more tolerant than we used to be, partly because 'I'm OK' -- that means I can do what I want. 'You're OK' -- you can do what you want. Maybe we aren't doing the same thing, but that's OK."

RS: "And speaking of OK, do you think OK also has not only a past longevity, but a future?"

ALLAN METCALF: "It's hard to imagine a world without OK, and I mean not just America without OK but any other part of the world. I've received a few anecdotes about OK once my book was published. It was used in Polish. That's one anecdote. Another in French.

"I'd be very pleased if your listeners would send me any stories about how OK is used in their countries. I'm thinking of a sequel called 'OK Around the World.'"

RS: "We'll try to help you on that."

AA: "Speaking of these other languages, you mention that there are similar terms in other languages. Did any of those come before OK, or have they all emerged since then?"

ALLAN METCALF: "The Greek language has an expression something like 'olla kalla' which means 'all good,' which has been around in Greek for a couple of thousand years. And so when OK was imported-exported to Greece, the Greeks thought 'Oh, that's an abbreviation of one of our expressions.' But there's absolutely no connection leading from Greece to the American Boston in 1839."

AA: "And there are so many ways it's written: O.K., OK without periods, o-k-a-y. Is there one you prefer?"

ALLAN METCALF: "Well, for my book, since I wanted to emphasize OK, I used capital O, capital K without periods. But those other spellings that you mention are also legitimate. The original OK was 'o.k.' And if you want to make it look more like an ordinary word, you spell it 'okay.'"

RS:    Allan Metcalf is the author of "OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word."

AA:    Let us know if you use OK in your language.

RS:    OK?

AA:    Go to www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster, click on the Contact Us link and tell us your story. We'll forward it to Allan Metcalf.

RS:    That's WORDMASTER for this week. With Avi Arditti, I'm Rosanne Skirble.

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<![CDATA['Jack and the Beanstalk,' Told With Food-Related Slang]]>Rosanne Skirble, Avi Arditti如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER: Our theme is food, or more precisely, slang having to do with food. After all, Thanksgiving is just a day away, and the traditional way to celebrate the holiday is with a big, festive meal.

So we're dusting off a vintage WORDMASTER, a segment we did with our old friend David Burke, better known as "Slangman." It's a story he wrote for our listeners based on the children's classic "Jack and the Beanstalk."

DAVID BURKE: "Once upon a time, there lived a woman who was as American as apple pie. She lived in the Big Apple."

RS: "Where else."

AA: "New York."

DAVID BURKE: "New York. With her only son Jack, the apple ...

AA/RS/DAVID BURKE: " ... of her eye!"

David "Slangman" Burke
David "Slangman" Burke

DAVID BURKE: "The most important thing to her. Unfortunately, she just couldn't cut the mustard in the working world. And to cut the mustard means to succeed. So she could not cut the mustard in the working world, and Jack was such a couch ... "

RS: "Potato!"

DAVID BURKE: "Very good. A coach potato, a lazy person who does nothing but sit on the couch and usually just watch television. He was such a couch potato that there was no one to bring home the bacon, which means to earn money for food. For now, selling milk from their cow was their bread and butter, which means the only way they could earn money. But the cow they bought turned out to be a lemon, defective. [laughter] That's something you buy then you discover later that it just doesn't work."

AA: "Like a car."

DAVID BURKE: "Right, we hear that a lot, especially of course with cars. If a car doesn't work after you bought it, it's a lemon.

"But in this case, the cow was a lemon and stopped producing milk! They were certainly in a pickle -- a bad situation. I have no idea why we say that, although we do. That's the interesting thing about some of these expressions. If you ask an American 'why do you say that, where does it come from?' we don't know, we just use it. So, 'Jack,' said his mother. "I'm not going to sugar-coat this.' That means to tell it like it is, even though it may be painful for the other person to hear. Well, the mother said, 'We have to sell the cow.' 'Sell the cow?!' Jack exclaimed. 'Mother, I think your idea is half-baked!'"

RS: "Not a great idea."

DAVID BURKE: "Right, not carefully considered. It's half-baked. But Jack's mother kept egging him on, which means pushed him to do something, to encourage him. And the next morning, Jack took the cow to the city to sell it. Well, on his way to the market, Jack was stopped by a man who said 'I'd like to buy your cow, and I'll give you five beans for it.'

"And Jack said: 'What are you, some kind of a nut?' -- somebody who's crazy. We can say nutty. In fact, the movie 'The Nutty Professor' means the crazy professor. 'Ah, but these are magic beans!' said the man, 'and that's no baloney!' And baloney, which is ... "

AA: "Processed meat."

DAVID BURKE: "Processed meat. I was going to say it's a food, but it simply means in this case nonsense, 'that's baloney.' The man told Jack that if he planted the beans, by the next morning they'd grow up tall, tall, tall and reach the sky. Well, since Jack really didn't know beans about ...

SLANGMAN/RS: " ... beans!"

DAVID BURKE: "If you don't know beans about something, it means you don't know anything about it. Well, he did agree, and took the beans, then ran home to tell his mother the good news. When his mother discovered what Jack had done, she turned beet red. Now a beet is a vegetable that is really deep red. She turned beet red and went bananas, and threw the beans out the window.

"When he woke up the next morning, to Jack's surprise, there was growing an enormous beanstalk. 'Hmm, I'll see where it goes,' thought Jack, and with that he stepped out of the window on to the beanstalk to climb up and up and up.

"In the distance, he could see a big castle. When he walked in, Jack tried to stay as cool as a cucumber -- which means very calm, very relaxed. Well, it was difficult to stay as cool as a cucumber, because sitting there at the table was a giant who was rather beefy."

AA: "A big guy."

DAVID BURKE: "A big guy. Big and muscular, that's beefy. And the giant was definitely what you would call a tough cookie, a stubborn and strict person. The giant placed a goose on the table and said, 'Lay three eggs!' and out came three golden eggs!

"The giant took the eggs, and left the room. 'Wow!' thought Jack. 'If I borrow the goose, my mother and I will have no more money problems! This is going to be as easy as pie!' he thought. Which means something extremely easy to do, which is kind of strange because pie is not that easy to make. Have you ever tried to make a pie?"

AA: "That's true."

DAVID BURKE: "So he climbed up the table and grabbed the goose. The giant came running after Jack. Jack quickly climbed all the way down the beanstalk, took an ax, and chopped it down. And that, my friends, is the whole enchilada."

RS: "Enchilada."

DAVID BURKE: "That's a Mexican dish, meat and cheese, that's wrapped in a tortilla which is made of flour and water. 'The whole enchilada' -- that means that's the whole story."

AA: For more of a taste of how you can learn English with help from Slangman David Burke, you can visit his website, slangman.com. With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

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<![CDATA[Lost for Words? Here Are Some Tips to Remember About Improving Memory]]>Rosanne Skirble, Avi Arditti如果想下载文章的MP3声音、PDF文稿等配套英语学习资料,请访问以下链接:

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on WORDMASTER some ways to help you improve your memory.

WENDI ELDH: "We don't forget, we just haven't learned it in the first place."

RS: That's Wendi Eldh. She's a communications trainer who teaches memory skills. One technique she uses she calls the three R's -- record, retain and retrieve.

WENDI ELDH: "That is, you have to say, what is the piece of information I want to learn, and you record that. Then you have to figure out where you're going to put it. I don't just throw it in my brain. Am I going to put it with car information, will I put it with insurance information. So you actually get disciplined enough to organize the information you retain in some kind of filing system. And then when you're ready to retrieve it, you know where to get it, just like filing information in a filing cabinet."

RS: "But this is your head." [laughter]

WENDI ELDH: "Exactly."

AA: "Is your brain set up that way?"

Wendi Eldh
Wendi Eldh

WENDI ELDH: "Sometimes. It takes a lot of work. And I would say that in addition to the epiphany of learning that until you learn it you can't forget it, I think the other thing to realize about memory is that it takes a tremendous amount of discipline."

RS: "Well, how do you go about doing that?"

WENDI ELDH: "Well, there are many different memory techniques. I would say that the majority of them have to do with using very intense visual images. The more elaborate, the more bright, the more it draws on all your senses, the better you'll remember. Let's say somebody's name is Campbell. How are you going to remember Campbell? Well, break it up -- camp bell. You want to see that person at a campsite. He's got a huge bell in his hand and he's ringing it. And you see that in your mind, and you hear the bell ringing, very loudly, and you smell the pine needles. Now, you're never going to forget Mister Campbell."

AA: "So you file that, what file do you put that under?"

WENDI ELDH: "I'm going to put that under names, and I would probably file it -- depending on the scenario -- under a workplace name. Now that is a danger, though, because then we have what is called 'queue dependency."

RS: "Aren't you at risk of forgetting your cue?" [laughter]

WENDI ELDH: "You definitely are, and in fact that is one of the ways that we forget. We forget from decay. If you've studied another language, you know that if you don't use it, you lose it. And we've all heard that. Another is depression. When we have either a mental or a physical illness, our ability to remember and retain information goes down dramatically."

RS: "How would you apply these techniques that you've been talking about, the three R's -- record, retain and retrieve -- to learning a foreign language?"

WENDI ELDH: "I think that I would use a lot of the pneumonic devices where you make associations with words. I would also use the device that we use where you use the first letter of each of the words that you have to memorize. I'll give you an example: In America, we have what are known as the Great Lakes. Of course, we all know that. How do we remember the Great Lakes. Can either one of you remember how you ... "

AA: "Let's see, Huron, Michigan, Superior -- what are the other two?" [laughter]

RS: "Erie."

AA: "Erie, right, of course."

WENDI ELDH: "Now, I'll tell you an easier way to memorize this. You take the H for Huron, the O for Ontario, the M for Michigan, the E for Erie and the S for Superior and you make the word homes. Now you don't stop there -- and this is what I really want people to get from this information, that you don't just stop at homes, you don't just stop at an acronym, you take it further. You see homes -- it can be floating homes, on the lake, and you see people talking about their homes on the lake, and they're saying 'aren't these lakes beautiful that we float around on in our homes.' And so you can see you deepen the image that you have."

RS: "At one point in my life, I really, really wanted to be good at telling jokes. I never told many jokes and I thought it would be really fun to do that. And so what I did is -- but I could never remember the punch lines of the jokes that I'd hear. So I would write the punch lines down or a word or two, and all of a sudden I had a repertoire of jokes. So I think that writing down reinforces in some ways the things you're trying to remember."

AA: "Assuming you can remember where you put the paper. You know that situation ... "

WENDI ELDH: "Absolutely."

AA: "You write something down and you can't -- is there a simple way to remember where you put the paper?"

WENDI ELDH: "Ahhh ... "

RS: Memory and communications trainer Wendi Eldh. Now let's see if you can remember some addresses.

AA: The first address is our Web site: www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster. Next, our e-mail address. That's word@voanews.com. And, finally, our postal address. It's VOA Wordmaster, Washington DC 20237 USA.

RS: With Avi Arditti, I'm Rosanne Skirble.

MUSIC: "Thanks for the Memory"/Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, from the film "The Big Broadcast of 1938"

http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/scripts/2010/11/16/http://www.unsv.com/voanews/wordmaster/scripts/2010/11/16/VOA词汇大师Mon, 15 Nov 2010 16:00:00 UTC