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

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Next in special english is words and their stories,then we tell about Thurgood Marshall,the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court,Transcripts and MP3s of our programs are all at VOAspecialengilsh.com.

Now,the voa special english programme ,words and their stories,today 's word pan takes us back to days of gold rush in California,On Jan 24th 1848,a man named James Wilson Marshall discovered gold in the territory of California,the news spread quickly,thousands rushed west,they travlled on foot ,by horseback and by boat to reach the gold fields,by 1849,the great gold rush was on ,towns and cities grew overnight .Throughtout 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 mulls to ride,and picks and pans to search for gold.Some found areas of mountain rock are thick with gold,these man got rich,but such areas were few,and quickly claimed by the first man who found them,others search 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,the gold miner put dirt in the 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 been found,one told how thousands of people climbed the mountains looking for gold,some stories told how others follow 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 build,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 paned out,in recent year,the word pan has taken on another meaning,today it also means to criticize,how would it got this meaning,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 are play so severely that no one would go to see it,there are time however when the paly became highly successful eventhough most of the critics paned it without mercy.The pan should have washed out the play,but as actors have pointed out,sometimes a critics pan turns up gold.

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