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

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Next in VOA Special English is Words and Their Stories.Then we tell about thegod macial,the first African-American to server the Unit States superme court.Tanscripts and mp3s of our programs are at VOA Special English.com.

 

Now the VOA special English Program Words and Their Stories.Today’s word pan takes us back to the days of the gold rush in California.On January 24th 1848.a man named Jims Vosion Macial discovered gold in the territory of california.

 

The news spread quickly , Thousands rush to west.They travelled on foot,by horse back,and by boat to reach the gold fields.By 1849 the great gold rush was on.Towns and cities grow overnight.Through out 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 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 the mountains.They were after the pieces of gold that rain had washed down from above.The only way to find this golds 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 remian.

 

Across the nation newspapers carried stories of gold being found.One told how thousands of people climbed mountains looking for gold.Some stories told how others followed the rivers and streams with pans.Each one hoped 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 remianed in the language.Today Americans still say it paned out well when something they have done pleases them.A business ,a discovery ,a sample event pans out well if it is successful.Unhappaiy  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 somtimes pan the work of a writer artist or singer.Sometimes  critics may pan a movie or play so severly that no one will go to  see it.There are times,however, when a play became highly successful eventhough most of critics panned it without mercy.The pans should have washed out the play.But editers have pointed out sometimes a critic pan turns up glod.

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