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

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Next the VOA special english is words and their stories.Then, we tell about Thurgood Marshall, the first African America to serve on the United States Supine Court. Transcripts and MP3s of all programs are on the VOA special english.com. Now, the VOA special english programs "words and their stories".Today's word "pan" takes us suspect to the days of gold rush in California. On January 24th 1848, a man named James Marshall discovered the gold in the territory of California. The news spread quickly. Thousands rushed west. They travelled on foot, by horseback and by boat to reach the gold field. By 1849, the great gold wash was on. Towns and cities grew overnight. Throughout the territory in the mountains along the streams and rivers, thousands of people search 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 people to find them. Some searched for the gold in the rivers coming down the mountains. They were asked the pieces of gold that the rains had washed down form the above. The only way to find this gold was by panning. First a gold miner put the dirt on the metal pan and added the water. Then he shook the pan so that the water would wash the dirt. Slowly he poured the water out of the pan. If you was a lucky miner, pieces of gold would remain. Across the naiton, newspapers carried the stories of the gold being found. One told how's the 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 paned out well had some gold. For many ,gold money did not pan out. For a few, it paned out well. But in time, huge machines were built that could wash many times of dirt at that time. Panning died out. The word ,however, remain in the language. Today Americans still say " it pan out well". When something they have done pleased them, a business, a discovery, a single event pans out well if it is successful. Unhappily, sometimes things do not pan out. In recent years, the word "pan out " 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 the 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 the play became highly successful even though the most of the critics pan it without mercy,the pans should have washed out of the play,but as actors have pointed out sometimes a critic's pan turns up gold.
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