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[Report] Words and Their Stories 2013-03-03

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[Report] Words and Their Stories 2013-03-03

本帖最后由 qingchengshan 于 2013-3-6 15:59 编辑


Words and Their Stories

wordlover-2013-03-03


 

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Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Some of the most exciting information comes by way of the grapevine, that is so because reports received through the grapevine are supposed to be secret.

The information is all hush hush. It is whispered into your ear with the understanding that you will not pass it onto others. You feel honored and excited. You are one of the special feel to get this information. You can not wait. You must quickly find other ears to pour the information into, and so the information secret as it is begins to spread nobody knows how far.

The expression by the grapevine is more than 100 years old. The American inventor Samuel F. Morse is largely responsible for the birth of the expression. Among others, he experimented with the idea of telegraphy sending messages over a wire by electricity. When Morse finally completed his telegraphic traffic instrument, he went before congress to show that it worked. He sent a message over a wire from Washington to Baltimore. The message was "what have God rot?" This was on May 24th, 1844.

Quickly, companies began to build telegraph lines from one place to another. Men everywhere seemed to be putting up poles with strings of wire for carrying telegraphic messages. The workmanship was poor and the wires are not put up straight. Some of the results looked strange. People said they looked like a grape vine. The large number of telegraph lines were going at all directions as quick as the vines that grapes grow on, so was the born of the expression by the grape vine.

Some writers believed that the phrases would soon have disappeared where it not for American civil war. Soon after the war began in 1861, military commanders started to send battle field reports by telegraph. People began hearing the phrase by the grapevine to describe faults as well as true reports from the battle field. It was like a game. Was it true? Who says so?

Now as in those far off civil war days, getting information by the grapevine remain something of a game. A friend brings you a bit of strange news. No, you say, it just can't be true. Who told you? Comes the answer, I got it by the grapevine.

You really can not know how much if any of the information that comes to you by the grapevine is true or false. Still, in the words of an old American saying, the person who keeps pulling a grapevine shakes down at least a few grapes.

You have been listening to the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES. I am Christopher Cruise.

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