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[word-lover] 【整理】2008-07-27 Words and Their Stories

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HOmework Next in VOA Special English is words and their stories.Then we tell about Thurgood Marshall, the first African Amercian to serve on the United States printing court. Transcripts and mp3 of out programs are at VOA Special English dot com. Now the VOA Special English program words and their stories. Today's word "Pan" takes us back to the days of gold rush in California. On January 24th, 1848, a man named James Wilson Marshall discovered gold in the territory of California. The news spread quickly. Thousands rushed to the west. They traveled on foot by horseback and by boat to reach the gold field.By 1849, the great gold rush was on. Towns and cities grow over night through out the ????In the mountains along the streams and rivers,thousands of people searched for gold . They had food to eat and blankets to cover. They also had mules to ride and pigs and pans to search for gold. Some found areas of mountain rock thick with gold,these man got rich. But such areas were few, and quickly claimed by the first man to find them. Others searched for gold in the rivers coming down in the mountains, they were after pieces of gold that the rains has washed down from above. The only way to find this gold was by panning. First, a goldminer put dirt in a mental 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 lucy 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, howere, remained in the language. Today Amerciasn still say " It panned out well" when somthing they have done pleases them. A business, a discovery, a simply even pans out well if it is sucessful. Unhappily, somtimes 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 critic is to sometimes pan the work of a writer, artist or singer. Sometimes critics may pan a movie or a play so serverly that no one will go to see it. there are times, however, when a play became highly sucessful 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 critics pan turns up gold.
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