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VOA慢速[词汇典故]大话淘金热潮

2015-02-11    来源:普特英语听力    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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Now, the VOA Learning English program, Words and Their Stories.

Today's word, pan, takes us back to the days of the gold rush in California.
 
On January twenty-fourth, eighteen forty-eight, a man named James Wilson Marshall discovered gold in the territory of California.  The news spread quickly.  Thousands rushed west.  They traveled on foot, by horseback and by boat to reach the gold fields.  By eighteen forty-nine, the great gold rush was on.
 
Towns and cities grew overnight.  Throughout the territory – in the mountains, along the streams and rivers – thousands of people searched for gold.  They had food to eat and blankets to cover them.  They also had mules to ride, and picks and pans to search for gold.
 
Some found areas of mountain rock thick with gold.  These men got rich.  But such areas were few and quickly claimed by the first men to find them.  Others searched for gold in the rivers coming down the mountains.  They were after pieces of gold that the rains had washed down from above.
 
The only way to find this gold was by panning.  First a gold miner put dirt in a metal pan and added water.  Then he shook the pan so that the water would wash the dirt.  Slowly, he poured the water out of the pan.  If he was a lucky miner, pieces of gold would remain.
 
Across the nation, newspapers carried stories of the gold being found.  One told how thousands of people climbed the mountains looking for gold.  Some stories told how others followed the rivers and streams with pans.  Each one hoped that the place he claimed panned out well – had some gold.
 
For many, gold mining did not pan out.  For a few, it panned out well.  But in time, huge machines were built that could wash many tons of dirt at a time.  Panning died out.
 
The word, however, remained in the language.  Today, Americans still say, "It panned out well," when something they have done pleases them.  A business, a discovery, a simple event pans out well if it is successful.  Unhappily, sometimes things do not pan out.
 
In recent years, the word pan has taken on another meaning.  Today, it also means to criticize.  How it got this meaning is hard to discover.  But the job of a critic is to sometimes pan the work of a writer, artist or singer.
 
Sometimes, critics may pan a movie or play so severely that no one will go to see it.  There are times, however, when a play became highly successful, even though most of the critics panned it without mercy.  The pans should have washed out the play.  But, as actors have pointed out, sometimes a critic's pan turns up gold.
 
(MUSIC)
 
This VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES was written by Herb Sutcliffe.  I'm Warren Scheer.

文本来源于普特论坛[report整理] SENEWS-2015-01-04


这里是美国之音慢速英语词汇典故节目。今天的典故与“pan”相关,它将带我们回到加利福尼亚州的淘金热潮时代。

1848年1月24日, 一名叫James Wilson Marshall的人在加利福尼亚州境内发现了黄金。这一新闻很快传开了。成千上万的人或徒步,或骑马,或乘船冲向西部加利福尼亚州。1849年,伟大的淘金热开始了。

加利福尼亚的各个城镇一夜之间人山人海,成千上万的人遍布整个加利福尼亚,在山上或沿着溪水河流寻找金子。他们带着食物和遮体的毛毯,他们骑着骡子,带着镐和锅来寻找金子。

一些人在岩石山发现金子,这些人变得富有了,但是这些地区很少,且被首个发现的人很快占有了。其他人到山脚下的河流中寻找到了金子,这些黄金碎片是被雨水从山上冲刷而下的。

寻找黄金的唯一方法是淘洗。首先,金矿矿工带泥沙的金子放进金属锅里加水,接着晃动金属锅将泥土洗掉。他再缓缓倒掉金属锅中的水,如果他足够幸运,金子就会留下来。

全国各大报纸都报道了淘金热的故事,有的报道人们是怎样在山上寻找金子的,而有的报道人们是如何带着锅顺着河流溪水寻找金子的。每个人都希望他 们占有的地方能淘到金子。

对很多人而言,淘金并没有收获。只有少数人有所收获。但是,大型机器应运而生,可以一次淘上万吨矿渣,人们就不再用淘金锅了。

然后,这个词语在语言中保留下来了,如今,美国人借此表达结果理想。生意、发现、小事成功了就用这个短语“pans out well”,但是如果不成功就用“do not pan out”。

近几年,“pan”这个词又有了其他意思。现在它也可以用来指批评,起源已经不得而知了,但是批评家的工作有时候是批评作家、艺术家或歌手的作品。

有些时候,批评家可能将一部电影或戏剧批得体无完肤以至于没人想去看。有时候,即便有多数批评者将一部戏剧批得体无完肤,这部戏可能大获成功。因此演员说有时候批评家的批评变会有好结果。

本期美国之音慢速英语词语典故节目由Herb Sutcliffe撰写,我是Warren Scheer。



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