英语阅读

听力入门英语演讲VOA慢速英语美文听力教程英语新闻名校课程听力节目影视听力英语视频

VOA词汇掌故:Belittle 美国第三届总统杰佛逊首次用到此词

kira86 于2009-02-05发布 l 已有人浏览
增大字体 减小字体
Belittle: Thomas Jefferson First Used This Word迅雷专用 Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their
    小E英语欢迎您,请点击播放按钮开始播放……
Belittle: Thomas Jefferson First Used This Word


迅雷专用 

Now, the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories. 

Today’s word is belittle. It was first used by Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson

美国独立战争领导者,美国主要缔造者,《独立宣言》起草者,美国第三届总统。
他于1743年出生在北美殖民地时期南部的弗吉尼亚的阿尔贝马郡沙得韦尔乡村。他的祖先是英国威尔士人,母亲一系出身高贵,是苏格兰贵族,父亲是中等种植园主,他与华盛顿一样也作过土地测量员,担任过弗吉尼亚第一任治安法官。他坚决主张废除奴隶制度,是当时的左翼领袖与资产阶级革命的号手,十分荣幸地上了英国当局的黑名单。1775年4月,他在费城应大陆会议的要求起草了《独立宣言》。宣言阐发了“天赋人权”、“权力在民”的学说,反映了资产阶级在上升时期的精神面貌,他在宣言中还提出了废奴的主张,但可惜的是这一段在南卡罗来纳与佐汉亚的代表强烈反对下被删掉了,使美国人在几十年后为之付出了几十万人生命的代价。《独立宣言》被马克思称为第一个《人权宣言》(《独立宣言》全文见附件1)。1779年他当选为弗吉尼亚的战时州长,1785年他出任驻法全权公使,1789年,他被任命为美国第一任国务卿,1800年当选为美国第三届总统,他签署命令创办了西点军校。在晚年时,他致力于教育事业,建成弗吉尼亚大学,1826年7月4日就在他亲手缔造的国家庆祝国庆时去世了。

Many years ago, a French naturalist, the Count de Buffon, wrote some books about natural history. The books were a great success even though some critics did not like them. Some critics said, “Count Buffon is more of a poet than a scientist.”

Thomas Jefferson did not like what the Count had said about the natural wonders of the New World. It seemed to Jefferson that the Count had gone out of his way to speak of natural wonders in America as if they were unimportant.

This troubled Thomas Jefferson. He, too, was a naturalist, as well as a farmer, inventor, historian, writer and politician. He had seen the natural wonders of Europe. To him, they were no more important than those of the New World.

In seventeen eighty-eight, Thomas Jefferson wrote about his home state, Virginia. While writing, he thought of its natural beauty and then of the words of Count de Buffon. At that moment, Jefferson created a new word – belittle. He said, “The Count de Buffon believes that nature belittles her productions on this side of the Atlantic.”

Noah Webster, the American word expert, liked this word. He put it in his English language dictionary in eighteen-oh-six.  ‘Belittle – to make small, unimportant.’

Americans had already accepted Jefferson’s word and started to use it. In seventeen ninety-seven, the Independent Chronicle newspaper used the word to describe a politician the paper supported. “He is an honorable man,” the paper wrote, “so let the opposition try to belittle him as much as they please.”

In eighteen forty-four, the Republican Sentinel of Virginia wrote this about the opposition party: “The Whigs may attempt to belittle our candidates … that is a favorite game of theirs.”

In eighteen seventy-two, a famous American word expert decided that the time had come to kill this word. He said, “Belittle has no chance of becoming English. And as more critical writers of America, like those of Britain, feel no need of it, the sooner it is forgotten, the better.”

This expert failed to kill the word. Today, belittle is used, not only in the United States and England, but in other countries where the English language is spoken. It seems that efforts to belittle the word did not stop people from using it.

(MUSIC)

You have been listening to the VOA Special English program, Words and Their Stories. I’m Warren Scheer.

 1 2 下一页

分享到

添加到收藏

VOA慢速排行