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012 Topics: Stealing art, Religions in the US, "Walk the Line," I've had versus I had had, Jump across the pond, "She's a complete knockout!"

时间:2018-05-01   访问量:2396   View PDF
Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 12.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café number 12. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about art in the United States – but not just art, but people stealing art. We’re also going to talk a little bit about the state of religion in America. And as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

We begin this Café talking about a somewhat controversial topic – stolen art. Over the last 10 years, there have been several stories in the American newspapers about art that was owned by famous museums that had been either stolen from someone before it arrived at the museum, or sold somehow, illegally. This has been a particular problem with a major museum, a large museum here in Los Angeles called the Getty Museum. A “museum” (museum) is a building where valuable or important objects are kept – either art or perhaps historical items.

Museums are places where you can go and visit and see these valuable or interesting items. There are lots of famous art museums throughout the world. Some of the most famous here in Los Angeles are the Getty Museum as well as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, although that’s not really as well known as the Getty Museum. In the city of New York, of course, you have a couple of famous museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

One of the controversies in the last few years has been over art at the Getty Museum. Now, to understand a little bit about this issue, you have to understand a little bit about where this art comes from and what period of time we’re talking about. The Getty Museum has two different sections, two different buildings – one of them is called the Getty Villa (villa). The other is called the Getty Center (center).

Most of the controversy, most of the problems have involved the Getty Villa because they specialize or they have an expertise in art from ancient civilizations. The word “ancient” (ancient) means very old, thousands of years old. A “civilization” refers to an organized society. Ancient civilizations would include the Egyptian civilization, the ancient Chinese civilization – there are ancient civilizations here in the Americas: the Incas, the Mayas – we could go on and on talking about ancient civilizations.

The ones that are most commonly thought of in Europe and in the United States are the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome, and those are the two civilizations that the Getty Villa specializes in. As you probably know, a lot of the ancient art that we have from any civilization comes as a result of archaeology, or “archaeological digs,” we might call them. “Archaeology” (archaeology) refers to the study of people and cultures from a long time ago. There are the archaeologists – people who practice archaeology – in probably most major universities throughout the world.

One of the things that archaeologists do is they go on “digs” (digs). A “dig” is when you go and dig into the ground. You remove ground – you remove the soil, the earth – to try to find things that are underneath it, things that are buried. One of the things that they try to do is identify what are called “artifacts.” An “artifact” (artifact) is really anything from a different culture. Usually you find artifacts in the ground. Artifacts can include simple things like a spoon or perhaps a piece of clothing. Artifacts also include things that we consider art – statues, for example, or pottery.

Archaeological digs take place in probably every continent of the world. There are lots of archaeological digs in places like Italy and Greece. Now, in Italy, there are laws against people coming and digging up artifacts and taking them out of Italy and especially selling them to places like museums. Unfortunately, this has happened in the past. The Getty Museum has been involved, unhappily, in some of these cases where someone has gone and dug up or found a piece of art and then sold it to the museum.

The Getty Museum, like most museums, has a curator. A “curator” (curator) is the person in charge of the museum – in particular, in charge of getting works of art for the museum. Well, the curator of the Getty Museum was for a certain time actually on trial in Italy for participating in this illegal activity, or at least in buying artwork that came from illegal archaeological digs. When I say she was “on trial” (trial), I mean the government was saying that she had committed a crime.

Now, one of the problems with identifying art that has been stolen is that the documents that are related to the art, the pieces of paper that say where they came from, are often doctored. “To doctor” (doctor) means to change something, usually a document, to make it say something it didn’t originally say. Basically it is a form of cheating. You are, what we would say, “falsifying” the document. “To falsify” (falsify) means to make it say something that it didn’t originally say.

These documents that are related to where the art came from are often “doctored” – made to look as though they were found and dug up legally when in fact they weren’t. A few years ago, the curator of the Getty Museum was on trial, and it involved some of these illegally obtained pieces of art. What happened? Well, she was not sent to prison. However, the Getty Museum did in fact return some of the pieces of art that it had purchased to Italy because they had been obtained illegally.

This is still a problem for museums. It has become perhaps a little less of a problem now that more museums are aware of this issue of stolen art. So, if you come to the Getty Museum here in Los Angeles – in particular, the Getty Villa – you will still see some wonderful pieces of ancient art from the civilizations of Greece and Rome, but there will be some pieces of art that are no longer there, that have been returned to Italy because they were obtained illegally.

Our second topic in this Café has to do with religion in the United States – in particular, the main religious groups that you find here. Now, one of the differences perhaps between the United States and many countries, at least in Europe, is that there is a very high percentage of people in the U.S. who say that they believe in God. Now, that’s not unusual in some parts of the world. In many parts of the world, you will find a high percentage of people who say they believe in God, but in the U.S. it tends to be higher than, say, in some of the countries of Western Europe.

It’s always dangerous to give exact percentages because these numbers change over time, but probably around three quarters, or 75 percent, of Americans identify themselves as not only believing in God but being what we would call a “Christian.” A Christian is someone who believes in the religion founded by Jesus Christ 2,000 or so years ago. There are of course a growing number of people in the U.S. who don’t identify themselves with any religion, who say that they don’t believe in any particular god.

The U.S. also has a Jewish and a Muslim population, although those populations are much smaller. The main religious group in the U.S. is still what we can call, in general terms, “Christian,” although within that designation, within that particular group, there are a lot of smaller groups – different Christian churches that believe different things. The Christian community is often divided into three major subgroups, and within some of those groups there are even smaller divisions.

The three major groups that we sometimes talk about are “Catholic,” “Orthodox,” and “Protestant.” The “Catholic (Catholic) Church,” sometimes called the “Roman Catholic Church,” is the church that is the largest single Christian group in the U.S. Probably around 25 percent of the total population call themselves Catholic. This is the church that is associated, as you probably know, with the Pope – the religious leader in the Vatican, in Rome.

The Orthodox churches are usually found in the Greek and Russian communities in the United States. They are a much, much smaller community. I said that the Catholic Church in the U.S. is the largest single group, but that’s really only because the other main group is itself divided into even smaller groups. However, if we consider the Protestant denominations, or groups, as one group, then that is clearly the largest Christian group, with more than 50 percent of the population calling themselves Protestant.

The word “Protestant” comes from the word “to protest” (protest). “To protest” means to say that you don’t like something and you want it changed. These are the churches that began several hundred years ago with people such as Martin Luther in Germany and King Henry VIII in England. There were people who protested the way the Catholic Church was being run at the time and some of the beliefs of the church. Within the Protestant community there are, as I mentioned, several smaller churches.

In the United States, one of the largest Protestant groups is probably the Baptist Church. The Baptist Church is particularly popular in the southern part of the United States, or what we would call simply in “the South.” The term “the South” refers to the states in the southeastern part of the United States. Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina – all of these would be states that we would probably classify as being in the South.

As I mentioned, there are also of course other religious groups – believers in Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as of course a Jewish population and a growing Muslim population in the U.S. So, that’s a little bit of general information about religion in the United States.

Now let’s answer some of the questions you have sent to us.

Our first question comes from Carmen (Carmen) In Spain. Carmen wants to know the meaning of a movie title that she saw. The name or title of the movie is Walk the Line. Walk the Line is an American movie about a famous singer in the United States by the name of Johnny Cash – actually, it’s about Johnny Cash and his wife who was also a singer, June Carter Cash. The name of the movie is actually the name of a famous song by Johnny Cash called “Walk the Line.”

What does it mean? Well, one of the lines or sentences in the song is: “Because you’re mine, I walk the line.” “Because you’re mine” – meaning because I love you – “I walk the line,” meaning I’ll do the right thing. “To walk the line” means to obey the rules, not to cause problems, not to do anything illegal or against the rules, because the man singing the song loves this woman so much, he’s going to walk the line. He’s going to be good from now on, we could say. Don’t believe it, ladies. Don’t believe it.

Our second question comes from Kai (Kai) in Hong Kong. The question has to do with an expression Kai heard: “jump across the pond.” Well, let’s start with the word “pond” (pond). A pond is a small body of water, a small – you could think of it almost as a lake, a little lake – a very small section of water that you find that sometimes can be deep – that is, sometimes there can be a lot of water in it – but usually a pond is relatively small. It’s smaller than a lake.

“To jump across the pond” would mean literally to, I suppose, run and then go up into the air and over the pond, although most ponds are too big to actually jump over them. This is actually an expression that has nothing to do, in a way, with someone jumping over water. The “pond” in this expression actually refers to the Atlantic Ocean, and “to jump across the pond” is to go from the United States to Europe – in particular, to go to Great Britain.

People talk about “across the pond,” referring to the United States if they’re in Great Britain or to Great Britain if they’re in the United States. If you go from London to New York, you’re going (or jumping) “across the pond.” I suppose we also use it for other countries in Europe, but I’ve heard it most often in connection to Great Britain.

Finally, Big (Big) in Thailand wants to know the meaning of the expression, “She is a complete knockout.”

Normally the word “knockout” (knockout) is related to the sport of boxing. “Boxing” is a sport where two people have things on their hands, and they hit each other to try to get the other person to fall down. If you hit a person very hard and the person can’t get up after you hit him, that’s called a “knockout.” However, in this expression “She’s a knockout,” or “She’s a complete knockout,” it means something very different. “Knockout” here refers to a very beautiful, sexually attractive woman.

This expression “She’s a knockout” is not as common anymore as it was, say, 25, 30 years ago. Nowadays we would probably say that she’s “hot” (hot) or some other expression. I’m old. I’m married. I don’t look at other women anymore, so I’m not really sure what the expressions are that we use. I only have eyes for my wife, but I’m told there are other expressions to describe beautiful women. “She’s a knockout” is one of them.

That’s all we have time for on today’s Café.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

museum – a building where valuable or important objects, like artwork or historical items, are kept and displayed for visitors to see

* The museum of natural history has a new display about dinosaurs, which features fossils from actual dinosaurs.

archaeology – the study of people and cultures from long ago; the study of people and civilizations (large groups of people living together) that existed in the past but no longer exist

* Nora always had an interest in history and wanted to study archaeology.

ancient civilization – a large group of people that existed in the past and lived together, forming their own set of laws, government, culture, and daily life

* The ancient civilization of Greece lasted from the 8th century B.C. to the 6th century A.D.

artifact – an item that was used by a culture or group of people who existed in the past; an object from that past that gives information about how those people lived

* The artifacts found included several ancient tools made from stone.

dig – a location where people studying past cultures and civilizations (large groups of people), carefully creating a large hole and searching for objects that were used in the past

* As part of his studies of ancient Egypt, Rudy went on several digs in the Egyptian desert.

curator – someone who has control over which pieces of art to buy and where those pieces of art should be displayed in a museum; someone whose job is to organize and maintain what is on display in a museum

* When the museum opened a new gallery, the local news station interviewed the curator about what types of art the gallery included.

to be on trial – to be accused of breaking a law or rule and forced to defend oneself against the claim; to be blamed or faulted for a crime and formally judged to determine if one is guilty or innocent of that crime

* Tuyet was on trial because she is accused her of stealing from the company.

to doctor – to change a document or image so that it provides false information; to falsify

* The photograph made it appear as though Darnell was with his classmates on their school trip, but in fact, someone had doctored it.

religion – faith; a system of beliefs that influences the way one lives and includes beliefs about how people were created and what happens after one dies

* Markita studied many religions but she did not actually believe in a God.

Christian – someone with religious beliefs based around the idea that Jesus Christ is God and life after death is possible; related to Christianity

* Edwin is a dedicated Christian who reads his Bible and goes to church.

Catholic – someone who believes in a branch of Christianity called Catholicism, which was one of the earliest organized Christian religions; related to Catholicism

* Mary took her Catholic faith very seriously even as a child, and when she grew up, she became a Catholic nun.

Protestant – someone who belongs to one of the various Christian religions other than Catholicism; someone who belongs to a tradition of Christian religions that began in the 1500s when some Christian churches broke away from the Catholic religion

* Pablo and Ko are both Protestants, but Pablo is Methodist and Karen is Baptist.

to protest – to speak or act against something one does not like or does not support; to formally and actively disapprove of something

* When the government said it would create a new tax, many citizens protested.

the south – the southeastern region of the United States, including the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina

* Judith grew up in the south and felt out of place when she moved north.

to walk the line – to obey the rules and not cause problems; to behave in an acceptable manner, usually by obeying the law or following the rules

* Even though William used to get in trouble with the police when he was a teenager, when he grew up, he walked the line.

across the pond – on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean; an expression used to refer to a country on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean

* Hermelinda lives in Maine but her best friend lives across the pond in the United Kingdom.

knockout – the act of hitting someone in the sport of boxing, causing that person to fall and not get up; a very beautiful, sexy, or attractive woman

* The woman that Stan met at the bar was a real knockout, and he fell in love with her at first sight.

What Insiders Know
Yarn Bombing

When we think of street art, we usually think of performers on the street or people using spray paint for “graffiti” (spraying paint on buildings and other things). None of us would “associate” (relate; connect) street art with yarn, the long strings of material used to make winter clothing, such as sweaters, scarves for your neck, and gloves for your hands.

That was before yarn bombing “came along” (began). Yarn bombing is a relatively new form of graffiti or street art, where people “knit” (create with year using two long sticks) or “crochet” (create with yarn using one stick with a hook at the end) cozies or covers for things in public. This new “phenomenon” (type of thing) started in Texas, where a dress-shop owner knitted a cover for her store’s door handle on a slow business day. Today, this same dress-shop owner gets invitations to yarn bomb city sites and corporate headquarters.

Why do people yarn bomb? Yarn bombing began much like graffiti art. The yarn bombers made cozies for street signs, sculptures, and other outdoor things. They would put on these cozies in the middle of the night and take pictures of them, posting them on the Internet. As with a lot of street art, it was done to be creative, “unique” (different), and “rebellious” (do something against authority or people in power). Most yarn bombers today, however, do it to “personalize” (make unique according to one’s taste) places that people see as “institutional” (unappealing; unimaginative) and “sterile” (without warmth, interest, excitement, or personality).

Yarn bombing is, of course, illegal. It is a form of “vandalism” (destroying or damaging of public or private property). However, “thus far” (up to now), the police in most cities have welcomed yarn bombing.

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