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高级美语教程第6课

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Lesson 25 Earthquake Precautions 地震防范措施

During the earthquake

If possible, get out of the building you are inside of and into a clear area.

If escape from a building is impossible, get away from windows and doors try to find shelter under structural beams or under any heavy piece of furniture, like a large table or bed.

After the major earthquake (remember that aftershocks will occur):

When shaking ends or subsides, turn off gas lines.

Leave the building (never use elevators quickly but not in a panic.

If uninjured, be ready to assist rescue workers with information or labor.

When a Big One happens, there is little anyone can do. Then above contingency preparations, however, could make the difference between life and death.

 

Lesson 26 Berries: Nature's Natural Desserts

浆果---大自然的天然点心

 

The last child has left the house for school. The table is clean and neatly set, and the coffee is brewing. The cool orange juice stands like a sentry over the tableware. Mother sits down, pours cereal into a bowl, and sprinkles it lightly with sugar. She is then ready for the final masterpiece. She carefully spoons precut ruby red strawberries onto the mound of golden corn flakes. Pouring ivory-white mild over the concoction, Mother smiles to herself. An attractive, nutritious breakfast fit for a queen.

Most people around the world are now familiar with and can enjoy strawberries, but few are familiar with other more exotic berries, such as the goose-berry, blackberry, and raspberry. Indeed, even fewer people realize what the word berry technically refers to. The berry of the botanist and the berry of the public are often two quite different fruits.

Those whose specialty is plants define a berry as a simple, fleshy fruit with a thin wall and many seeds. Under this classification are several surprises. One would expect that cranberries are berries, of course, but less obvious members of this class are dates, grapes, tomatoes, and even potatoes, bananas, and asparagus! Indeed, according to botanists, some popular "berries" are not true berries at all. Experts in plant life consider the blueberry an "inferior berry" and the strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry and "aggregate fleshy fruit". However, no matter how scientists call them, most people think of berries as small, round, sweet, and delicious fruits.

Berries such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries prefer cool and moist growing conditions. Though they rarely thrive in tropical conditions, they can be grown on the sides of taller hills and mountains there. Several species of wildlife forage for berries, the largest of these being the bear. Some smaller mammals and birds, too, enjoy berries, not to mention people. Wild berries are noticeably smaller than their domesticated cousins, but many people prefer the full, rich taste of freshly picked forest berries.

Besides being a condiment of breakfast cereals, are there any other uses for berries? Westerners make good use of their local fruits. Jellies, jams, and preserves can be easily made with berries, gelatin, and sugar. These three sweetened foods differ only in the process used to make them. Jellies are made from the juice of a fruit, jams from the thoroughly crushed fruit, and preserves from the partially crushed or cut fruit. They are all equally delicious!

Berries are also used in baked goods. Pies and tarts often contain berries as do many other pastries. These small fruits are also added into cakes and even breads, especially after drying. In addition, the concentrated juice of berries can be used to make cool summer drinks. Concentrated further, various syrups can be added to foods as diverse as pancakes and ice cream. As flavorings, they are often added to candies and chocolates. In Western cuisine, life would be less sweet and interesting without the humble berry.

For some people, though, berries are best eaten fresh. They say that after washing and refrigerating, simply place a generous portion of berries into a cereal bowl, add chilled milk, and top with sugar. Enjoy! As the season for berries is usually in the summer and fall, this snack or dessert really hits the spot. For those who do not live where berries grow naturally and plentifully, these natural dessert fruits can be enjoyed while visiting those area lucky enough to have them.

 

Lesson 27 The Global Proliferation of English

英语的疆域扩张

 

Everyone knows that there are more speakers of Mandarin than any other language in teh world. Just over one billion people speak Mandarin as their native tongue. Compared to the naerly four hundred million native speakers of English, there would appear to be "no contest". Yet, it is just as well-known that English, not Mandarin, is the international language. Given these statistics, how can this be? Looking more closely at these and other facts reveals how English has become the world's most widespread language.

The history of written Chinese goes back at least 4000 years, that of English little more than 1000 years. The language called English is actually a hybrid of Scaninavian and German tongues created by immigrants to England in the 5th century. A.D. Over the next 500 years, English developed into several major dialects spoken principally on most of the island of England. With continuous invasions by more Scandinavians and the French over the next few centuries, the English language received a fresh stimulus of foreign words, including Latin and Greek, the preferred classical alanguages in educational and political circles at that time in Europe. English as a principal language of literature did not evolve until the 14th century (Chaucer). By the 16th century, English was in full bloom, both in literature as well as in science.

England, referred to as Great Britain by this time, was amassing political, economic, and military power at breath-taking speed. The Industrial Revolution of the next century required foreign resources; imperialism gave the go-ahead for Britain and other European powers to not only take what they wanted from foreign lands but to lay conquest to those lands as well. Additionally, the rapid social changes engengered by the change from agriculture to manufacturing meant a surplus of farm workers, resulting in a waiting army of the dispossessed to emigrate to Britain's newfound colonies. In the 17th and 18th centuries, millions of Englishmen left their mother country for North America. In the 18th century, hundreds of thousands more set sail for Australia and New Zealand, as well as South Aisa (the British Raj) and Africa (primarily South Africa). At the height of the British Empire, one-fourth of the world's people and lands were living under the Union Jack. Thus, by the close of the 19th century Englsih rule had extended to the six principal continents (including British Guyana in South America).

This first-ever domination of the blobe by one language is the primary reason for the international use of English today. A second reason lies in the rise of the United States of America as a leading world power just as Britain's power began to fade. At the close of the 19th century, the US fought with Spain (in 1898). After the US victory, Spain ceded the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico, resulting in the further introduction of English into Asia and the Caribbean. After US involvement in both World Wars, despite Britain's continued decline, English became more commonly used around the world, especially in continental Europe and Japan. Since 1950, the rapidly growing US economy as well as its academic and scientific excellence has insured that English remains the language of commerce and intellectual intercouse. The world of entertainment, most notably Hollywood, has also contributed to the popularization of English.

It is estimated that at least 300 million people around the world are now studying or using English as a second language, for purposes of education, employment, or personal interest. Some 75% of all international communications are in English, and with the rise of the Internet, it is doubtful that this figure will decrease any time soon. At the dawn of the new millennium, the world has one international language, English.

 

Lesson 28 Tips on English Body Language

Mr. Garcia, a businessman from Madrid, Spain, is speaking English to one of his customers, Mr. Patton, from Vancouver, Canada. As they speak, a bystander notices that as Mr. Garcia slowly steps closer to Mr. Patton, the latter slowly steps away. This slow dance continues throughout the conversation until Mr. Patton is literally against the wall. He now crosses his arms in front of him. Mr. Patton appears nervous and a little annoyed; Mr. Garcia, aware of this, thinks he is not explaining himself well enough in English, even though Mr. Patton fully understands him. Thinking the business deal has gone sour, Mr.Garcia excuses himself and leaves.

What is going on here? If Mr. Garcia or any other non-native English speaking businessman, student, immigrant, or tourist had been aware of English body language, this unfortunate incident could have been avoided. Among English speakers, personal space is very important; indeed, personal space is important in all languages, but the distance considered critical to trigger discomfort differs.Spanish speakers tolerate a much closer speaking distance, a distance of some 30 centimeters, which is about half that which English speakers prefer. Thus, a Spanish Speaker will instinctively move in closer to talk with an English speaker, who instinctively moves away, closer to his preferred speaking distance.

Body language is one kind of nonverbal communication, such as winking (to indicate "I'm kidding" or a sexual advance), or arms held akimbo (in some cultures, merely resting; in others, a threatening or defiant stance). This communication can, on occasion, be even more important than the actual words spoken.

Take winking for example. In most cases, English speakers will wink (the closing of only one eye) at each other to show that they are not serious about what they are saying. They may also cross their middle finger over their index finger to indicate the same thing. These gestures are extremely important as they virtually negate what the speaker says.

Another example is eye contact. In many American Indian and East Asian cultures, respect is shown by not looking directly into the eyes of a person considered of a higher social class than oneself. For Western Europeans, the opposite is true. For them, anything less than full eye contact is considered disrespectful or even devious. Problems have arisen when Chinese or Korean school children enter American or European schools. Western teachers assume that these children are "up to something" or that they are showing disrespect, when, in actuality, they are behaving correctly for their own culture. One Chinese child was denied entry into a gifted students' school because he was considered "lacking leadership qualities" despite his overall excellence in his academic and interpersonal relations. When it was pointed out that Chinese children are taught not to be aggressive (show leadership qualities) the school reconsidered and admitted the lad.

Sometimes gestures used in different languages have contrary meanings. This can produce a humorous effect. In Vietnam and China, the gesture for "come here " is quite similar to that of waving "good bye" in English. Thus, when speakers of these two cultures are leaving each other, if the English speaker gestures "good bye", the Far Eastern speaker may misinterpret the signal as meaning, "come back here."

Learning body gestures in rather difficult from textbooks. The best way to learn gestures---for any language or culture--is to stay a while in a foreign country to learn not only what people say but how they say it. For most people, the learning of body language is an exciting and charming aspect of learning a foreign language.

 

Lesson 29 The Fundamentals of Public Speaking 演讲的基本要素

 

What is the most terrifying experience for most people? Is it drowning? Is it falling from a high place to their death? Is it being attacked by wild dogs? Though these experiences would certainly frighten most people, according to a recent poll, most people fear standing on a stage in front of a group of people to deliver a speech more than anything else, including the above life-threathening scenarios! What is going on here? Why is public speaking so menacing to most people?

Coaches of public speaking are fond of noting that public speaking "is an unnatural act." This is a tongue-in-cheek definition. Though people usually think of kinky sex as an "unnatural act" public speaking is in one important way unnatural. Human communication is inseparable from the human condition; that is, we actually spend more time in communicating with others (including listening to prerecorded spoken information) than we do anything else except breathing. There is, in other words, nothing unnatural in communicating. Standing on a stage in front of a group of people to deliver a speech, however, is certainly unnatural. In no other situation do so many humans have to keep quiet, watch the speaker attentively, and keep their minds on the message without an opportunity to respond. In no other situation can one speaker command the silence of an entire group of people. The responsibility on both sides is taxing; hence, the very act of speaking in public breaks the natural rules of human discourse and is thus unnatural.

The result of this unnatural act is to make both the speaker and the audience somewhat nervous in their new roles as dominant speaker and submissive audience. Most people do not understand the mechanics of crowd control or public speaking and are terrified by even the notion of appearing alone in front of what many perceive as a hostile group of people. Actually, the audience should be pitied, not the speaker. Who wants to sit through a long, boring speech? Who wants to sit and have to listen, whthout the chance to respond to the speaker? Accomplished public speakers learn to accept that tension between the audience and the stage and work with it. These savvy speakers have some tips for novice speakers.

An obvious suggestion is to be well prepared. Though it is not a good idea towrite out a speech and memorize it (this is a recitation, not a speech), preparing an outline of the main ideas of the topic in logical order is. Further, practicing the speech out loud will help the speaker identify the strong and weak parts of the speech.

Another good idea is to face the audience. The audience, after all, is the object of the endeavor. By noting their expressions, a speaker can often monitor whether he is speaking loudly enough, too quickly or slowly, at too difficult a level, etc. "Sweeping" the audience with one's attention ---looking at all sections of the audience at one time or another and regularly---helps the audience keep its attention focused on the speaker.

The most important of these suggestions, however, is simply to be sincere. The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time. You can fool all of the people some of hte time. But you can't fool all of the people all of the time." These profound words are applicable to speakers in public. Since the audience is observing and listening to the speaker closely, it is virtually impossible for a speaker to fake sounding confident if he is not, nor is it possible for the speaker to convince an audience of his conviction if he himself is not convinced.

Following the simple tips listed above will improve a speaker's performance in public. Like any other skill or art, the more one practices, the better he is likely to become. Public speaking is not only for speech contests; all professionals must present themselves in public sooner or later. Rather than shirking the opportunity to speak, seize it and make the most of it the next time fortune knocks.

 

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