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#169: 'Roaring Twenties' a Time of Economic and Social Change

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Congressman T.S. McMillan of Charleston, South Carolina with two women who are doing the Charleston dance near the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
Congressman T.S. McMillan of Charleston, South Carolina with two women who are doing the Charleston dance near the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

BOB DOUGHTY: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

The nineteen twenties were a time of economic progress for most Americans. During the administrations of President Warren Harding and President Calvin Coolidge, many companies grew larger, creating new jobs. Wages for most Americans increased. Many people began to have enough money to buy new kinds of products.

对于绝大多数美国人来说,20世纪20年代是一个经济条件大为改善的时期。在哈丁和柯立芝执政时期,美国许多企业发展壮大,创造了新的就业机会。大多数美国人的工资提高了,许多人有了足够的钱去购买新商品。

The strong economy also created the right environment for many important changes in the day-to-day social life of Americans. The nineteen twenties are remembered now as an exciting time that historians call the "Roaring Twenties."

经济实力的强大使得美国人的日常生活发生了许多重大变化。现在,提起20世纪20年代,人们会说那是个令人激动的时期,历史学家把它称为"喧嚣的20年代"。

This week in our series, Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe tell more about that period.

(MUSIC)

KAY GALLANT: The nineteen twenties brought a feeling of freedom and independence to millions of Americans, especially young Americans. Young soldiers returned from the world war with new ideas. They had seen a different world in Europe. They had faced death and learned to enjoy the pleasures that each day offered.

对于数百万美国人、特别是年轻人来说,20世纪20年代给他们带来了自由和独立的感觉。年轻的美国士兵从欧洲战场归来时带回了许多新观念,因为他们在欧洲看到了一个不同的世界。他们面对过死亡,感觉人生在世要及时行乐。

Many of these young soldiers were not willing to quietly accept the old traditions of their families and villages when they returned home. Instead, they wanted to try new ways of living.

许多年轻的美国士兵回国后不愿意默默地接受家庭和乡村里传统的生活方式,相反,他们想要尝试一种新的生活。

HARRY MONROE: Many young Americans, both men and women, began to challenge some of the traditions of their parents and grandparents. For example, some young women began to experiment with new kinds of clothes. They no longer wore dresses that hid the shape of their bodies. Instead, they wore thinner dresses that uncovered part of their legs.

许多美国青年男女开始向他们的父辈和祖辈留下的一些传统提出挑战。例如,一些年轻妇女开始尝试穿新式服装,她们不再穿那种不显身材的连衣裙,而是穿质地薄一些的、能展示腿部线条的裙子。

Many young women began to smoke cigarettes, too. Cigarette production in the United States more than doubled in the ten years between nineteen eighteen and nineteen twenty-eight.

许多年轻女性还开始抽烟。从1918到1928年的10年间,美国烟草产量增长了一倍多。

Many women also began to drink alcohol with men in public for the first time. And they listened together to a popular new kind of music: jazz.

许多女性还破天荒地开始在公共场合与男人一起喝酒,一起听一种新的时髦音乐--爵士乐。

Young people danced the Fox Trot, the Charleston, and other new dances. They held one another tightly on the dance floor, instead of dancing far apart.

年轻人跳起了狐步舞、查尔斯顿舞和其它新式舞蹈,他们在舞池中跳舞时不再是相互离得远远的,而是紧紧地拥在一起。

(MUSIC)

KAY GALLANT: It was a revolution in social values, at least among some Americans. People openly discussed subjects that their parents and grandparents had kept private.

至少对于一些美国人来说,社会价值观的变化是革命性的。人们公开讨论那些他们的父辈祖辈视为隐私的话题。

There were popular books and shows about unmarried mothers and about homosexuality. The growing film industry made films about all-night parties between unmarried men and women. And people discussed the new ideas about sex formed by Sigmund Freud and other new thinkers.

在畅销书和时髦节目中,出现了未婚母亲和同性恋的题材。发展壮大的电影业拍摄有关未婚男女通宵派对的电影。人们还开始讨论弗洛伊德和其他新生代思想家们有关性的新理念。

An important force behind these changes was the growing independence of American women. In nineteen twenty, the nation passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

在这些变化的背后有一股重要的力量,那就是美国女性的日益独立。1920年,美国通过了宪法第十九修正案,赋予妇女投票权。

Of equal importance, many women took jobs during the war and continued working after the troops returned home. Also, new machines freed many of them from spending long hours of work in the home washing clothes, preparing food, and doing other jobs.

同样重要的是,许多妇女在一战期间参加工作。战士们回国后,她们继续工作。另外,新的家用设备将女性从洗衣做饭等费时的家务活儿中解放出来了。

HARRY MONROE: Education was another important force behind the social changes of the nineteen-twenties. More and more Americans were getting a good education. The number of students attending high school doubled between nineteen twenty and nineteen thirty. Many of the schools now offered new kinds of classes to prepare students for useful jobs.

教育是美国20世纪20年代出现社会变革的另一种重要动力。越来越多的美国人接受良好的教育。1920年至1930年间,高中学生人数增长了一倍。许多学校还开设新的课程,教授学生有用的技能。

Attendance at colleges and universities also increased greatly. And colleges offered more classes in such useful subjects as teacher training, engineering, and business administration.

上大学的人也大幅增加,大学里开设了更多实用的课程,如教师培训、工程和商业管理。

Two inventions also helped cause the social changes. They were the automobile and the radio. The automobile gave millions of Americans the freedom to travel easily to new places. And the radio brought new ideas and experiences into their own homes.

另外有两项发明也是社会变革的重要力量,那就是汽车和广播。汽车使数百万美国人能轻松地到达没去过的地方,而广播则让人们坐在家里就能了解新的想法和经验。

Probably the most important force behind social change was the continuing economic growth of the nineteen twenties. Many people had extra money to spend on things other than food, housing, and other basic needs. They could experiment with new products and different ways of living.

但是,推动20世纪20年代社会变革最为重要的力量,也许还是美国这个时期经济的持续发展。许多人有闲钱来购买食品、住房等基本生活所需以外的东西。他们可以尝试使用新的商品,体验不一样的生活方式。

(MUSIC)

KAY GALLANT: Of course, not all Americans were wearing strange new "flapper" clothes or dancing until early in the morning. Millions of Americans in small towns or rural areas continued to live simple, quiet lives. Life was still hard for many people including blacks, foreigners, and other minority groups.

当然,并非所有的美国人都在穿花哨的吊带裙,或者跳舞跳到天亮。生活在小城镇或乡下的千百万美国人仍然过着简单平静的生活。对于黑人、外国人、其他少数族裔来说,生活依然是艰苦的。

The many newspaper stories about independent women reporters and doctors also did not represent the real life of the average American woman. Women could vote. But three of every four women still worked at home. Most of the women working outside their homes were from minority groups or foreign countries.

虽然那时候的报纸上有许多关于独立的女记者和女医生的报导,但这些故事并不能代表普通美国妇女真正的生活。妇女是有投票权了,但四分之三的妇女仍然只是家庭主妇。走出家庭参加工作的妇女大多来自少数族裔或其他国家。

The films and radio stories about exciting parties and social events were just a dream for millions of Americans. But the dreams were strong. And many Americans -- rich and poor -- followed with great interest each new game, dance, and custom.

对千百万美国人来说,电影和广播中描述的那种让人激动不已的社交活动和社会事件只能是梦想。 但这种梦想很强烈,许多美国人,无论是富裕的还是贫穷的,都在以极大的兴趣去追赶时髦的东西,不论是新的游戏、新的舞步还是新的风俗。

HARRY MONROE: The wide interest in this kind of popular culture was unusually strong during the nineteen twenties. People became extremely interested in exciting court trials, disasters, film actors, and other subjects.

人们对这种通俗文化的广泛兴趣在20世纪20年代异乎寻常的浓厚。人们对法庭审判、灾难事故、电影明星和其他一些事件都非常感兴趣。

For example, millions of Americans followed the sad story of Floyd Collins, a young man who became trapped while exploring underground. Newsmen reported to the nation as rescue teams searched to find him. Even the "New York Times" newspaper printed a large story on its front page when rescuers finally discovered the man's dead body.

例如,千百万美国人密切关注佛洛伊德.柯林斯遇难的事。这位年轻人在地下岩洞里探险时遇险。新闻记者把救援情况向全国报导。当救援队发现柯林斯的尸体时,甚至《纽约时报》也在头版对这件事进行了大篇幅的报导。

Another event that caught public attention was a murder trial in the eastern state of New Jersey in nineteen twenty-six.

另一件引起公众高度关注的事是对一起谋杀案的审判。事情发生在1926年,地点是东部的新泽西州。

Newsmen wrote five million words about this case of a minister found dead with a woman member of his church. Again, the case itself was of little importance from a world news point of view. But it was exciting. And Americans were tired of reading about serious political issues after the bloody world war.

一位牧师被发现与他的教会里一位女教友死在一起,记者写了500万字对此事进行报导。这件事从世界新闻角度来看微不足道,但却吊起了公众的胃口。一战之后,美国人已经厌倦了阅读那些严肃的政治议题。

(MUSIC)

KAY GALLANT: The nineteen twenties also were a golden period for sports.

20世纪20年代的美国也是体育发展的黄金时期。

People across the country bought newspapers to read of the latest golf victory by champion Bobby Jones. "Big Bill" Tilden became the most famous player in tennis. And millions of Americans listened to the boxing match in nineteen twenty-six between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney. In fact, five Americans reportedly became so excited while listening to the fight that they died of heart attacks.

全美国的人都买报看报,了解高尔夫球王鲍比.琼斯的最新战况;了解最著名的网球运动员、外号"大比尔"的比尔.蒂尔登的赛事。1926年,数百万美国人收听杰克.登普西和吉恩.腾尼之间的拳击比赛。有报导说,甚至有5个美国人由于收听比赛时过于激动而发心脏病死亡。

However, the greatest single sports hero of the period was the baseball player, Babe Ruth.

不过,这一时期最著名的体育英雄还要数棒球运动员贝比.鲁斯。

Ruth was a large man who could hit a baseball farther than any other human being. He became as famous for his wild enjoyment of life as for his excellent playing on the baseball field. Babe Ruth loved to drink, to be with women, and to play with children.

鲁斯身材高大魁梧,他把棒球击出的距离之远无人能及。他声色犬马的生活和他在棒球场的出色表现一样出名。他喜欢喝酒、喜欢女人,也喜欢与小孩子玩耍。

Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth

HARRY MONROE: The most famous popular event of the nineteen twenties was neither a court trial nor a sports game. It was the brave action of pilot Charles Lindbergh when he flew an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean without stopping. He was the first man in history to do this.

20世纪20年代的美国,最著名的事件,既不是法庭审判,也不是体育比赛,而是飞行员查尔斯.林德伯格驾驶飞机不间断横跨大西洋的英勇壮举,他是人类历史上有此创举的第一人。

Lindbergh flew his plane alone from New York to France in May, nineteen twenty-seven. His flight set off wild celebrations across the United States.

林德伯格1927年5月从纽约起飞,独自飞到法国。他的这一行动引发了全美各地疯狂的庆祝活动。

Newspapers carried story after story about Lindbergh's success. President Coolidge and a large crowd greeted the young pilot when he returned to Washington. And New York congratulated Lindbergh with one of the largest parades in its history.

报纸连篇累牍地报导他的成功。柯立芝总统和大批民众在他返回华盛顿时热烈欢迎他。纽约举行历史上规模最盛大的游行来庆祝他的成功。

Americans liked Lindbergh because he was brave, quiet, and handsome. He seemed to represent everything that was best about their country.

美国人喜欢林德伯格,因为他勇敢、冷静、英俊,他似乎代表了美国一切最好的东西。

KAY GALLANT: The nineteen twenties was also a time of much excellent work in the more serious arts. We will take a look in our next program at American art, writing, and building during the exciting "roaring twenties".

(MUSIC)

BOB DOUGHTY: Our program was written by David Jarmul. The narrators were Kay Gallant and Harry Monroe.

You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at www.unsv.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

___

This is program #169

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