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新视野大学英语读写教程第二册unit1-a Time-Conscious Americans

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Unit One

Section A

Pre-reading Activities

First Listening
Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.

Second Listening
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) What precious resource do Americans value and save?
2) What are the three kinds of behaviors that Americans consider to be a waste of time?
3) In what different ways do Americans approach time in business relations?

Time-Conscious Americans

Americans believe no one stands still. If you are not moving ahead, you are falling behind. This attitude results in a nation of people committed to researching, experimenting and exploring. Time is one of the two elements that Americans save carefully, the other being labor.
"We are slaves to nothing but the clock," it has been said. Time is treated as if it were something almost real. We budget it, save it, waste it, steal it, kill it, cut it, account for it; we also charge for it. It is a precious resource. Many people have a rather acute sense of the shortness of each lifetime. Once the sands have run out of a person's hourglass, they cannot be replaced. We want every minute to count.
A foreigner's first impression of the U.S. is likely to be that everyone is in a rush — often under pressure. City people always appear to be hurrying to get where they are going, restlessly seeking attention in a store, or elbowing others as they try to complete their shopping. Racing through daytime meals is part of the pace of life in this country. Working time is considered precious. Others in public eating-places are waiting for you to finish so they, too, can be served and get back to work within the time allowed. You also find drivers will be abrupt and people will push past you. You will miss smiles, brief conversations, and small exchanges with strangers. Don't take it personally. This is because people value time highly, and they resent someone else "wasting" it beyond a certain appropriate point.
Many new arrivals to the States will miss the opening exchanges of a business call, for example. They will miss the ritual interaction that goes with a welcoming cup of tea or coffee that may be a convention in their own country. They may miss leisurely business chats in a restaurant or coffee house. Normally, Americans do not assess their visitors in such relaxed surroundings over extended small talk; much less do they take them out for dinner, or around on the golf course while they develop a sense of trust. Since we generally assess and probe professionally rather than socially, we start talking business very quickly. Time is, therefore, always ticking in our inner ear.
Consequently, we work hard at the task of saving time. We produce a steady flow of labor-saving devices; we communicate rapidly through faxes, phone calls or emails rather than through personal contacts, which though pleasant, take longer — especially given our traffic-filled streets. We, therefore, save most personal visiting for after-work hours or for social weekend gatherings.
To us the impersonality of electronic communication has little or no relation to the significance of the matter at hand. In some countries no major business is conducted without eye contact, requiring face-to-face conversation. In America, too, a final agreement will normally be signed in person. However, people are meeting increasingly on television screens, conducting "teleconferences" to settle problems not only in this country but also — by satellite — internationally.
The U. S. is definitely a telephone country. Almost everyone uses the telephone to conduct business, to chat with friends, to make or break social appointments, to say "Thank you", to shop and to obtain all kinds of information. Telephones save the feet and endless amounts of time. This is due partly to the fact that the telephone service is superb here, whereas the postal service is less efficient.
Some new arrivals will come from cultures where it is considered impolite to work too quickly. Unless a certain amount of time is allowed to elapse, it seems in their eyes as if the task being considered were insignificant, not worthy of proper respect. Assignments are, consequently, felt to be given added weight by the passage of time. In the U. S., however, it is taken as a sign of skillfulness or being competent to solve a problem, or fulfill a job successfully, with speed. Usually, the more important a task is, the more capital, energy, and attention will be poured into it in order to "get it moving".
Words: 689

NEW WORDS

budget
vt. plan the spending of or provide (money) in a plan 为……做预算,编制预算
vi. save or spend money (for a particular purpose)(为特定的目的)节省或用钱
n. [C, U] a plan to show how much money a person or organization will make and how much they will need or be able to spend 预算
a. inexpensive; cheap 便宜的,廉价的


acute
a. 1. (of feelings or the senses) fine; sharp(指感觉或感官)深刻的,敏感的,尖锐的
2. severe, very great 严重的

replace
vt. 1. put (sth.) back in its place 把……放回原处
2. take the place of (sb./sth.) 代替,取代

foreigner
n. [C] a person from a country other than one's own 外国人

restless
a. 1. unable to be still or quiet, esp. because of lack of interest, impatience, anxiety, etc.(尤指因厌烦、烦躁和焦虑而引起的)不安定的或不安静的
2. always moving 动作不停的,好动的

restlessly
ad. 不安定地,不安静地

elbow
vt. push sb. to one side with the elbows 用肘把人推到一旁
n. [C] (outside part of the) joint where the arm bends 肘

▲abrupt
a. 1. (of behavior) rough; offensive(指行为)粗鲁的,无礼的
2. sudden and unexpected 突然的,意外的

brief
a. 1. lasting only a short time; short 短暂的
2. (of speech or writing) using few words (指说话或写作)用字简练的,简洁的
vt. give sb. necessary information or instructions, esp. in order to prepare sb. for an activity 预先向……提供必要信息或指示

opening
a. first 初始的
n. 1. [C] (esp. sing.) beginning; start 开始
2. [C] a position (in a business or firm) which is open or not occupied(商号或公司的)职位空缺

▲ritual
a. of or done regularly followed in exactly the same way each time 例行的,老规矩的,惯常的
n. [C, U] method followed repeatedly in the same way every time 固定的程序

interaction
n. [C, U] communication; working together 交流;相互作用,相互影响,合作

convention
n. 1. [C, U] (an example of) generally accepted practice, esp. with regard to social behavior 惯例,习俗,常规
2. [C] a meeting of members of a profession, political party, etc. (专业人员、政党的)会议,大会

leisure
n. 1. [U] time free from work or other duties; spare time 空闲,闲暇
2. [U] ease 悠闲,安逸

leisurely
a. without hurrying 从容的,不匆忙的

assess
vt. judge or decide the amount, value, quality or importance of 估价,评价

surroundings
n. (pl.) all the objects, conditions, etc. that are around (and may affect) sb./sth.; environment 周围的事物;环境

golf
n. 高尔夫球(户外运动,打高尔夫球的人设法以最少击球数把小硬球打入场内9或18个洞中)


generally
ad. 1. usually, in a general sense 一般地, 通常地
2. by most people; widely 广泛地;普遍地

▲probe
v. 1. examine (sth.) closely 刺探,查究,探究,彻底调查
2. explore or examine (sth.) with or as if with a probe (用探针或探测器)检查,探查
n. 1. [C] 探针,探子(医生用来检查伤口的一种钝头细长工具)
2. [C] (esp. in news) complete and careful enquiry into sth. (尤为新闻用语) 刺探,查究,彻底调查

▲tick
vi. (of a clock, etc.) make a sequence of quiet short regularly repeated sounds (指钟表等)滴答滴答地响
vt. put a (√) beside (a point, etc.) 在(项目旁)打上勾号
n. 1. [C] light and regularly repeated sound, esp. that of a clock or watch (尤指钟表等)滴答声
2. [C] a mark (√) 勾号(√)

consequently
ad. as a result; so 因此,所以

saving
n. 1. [C] amount saved 节省,贮存
2. (pl.) money saved up 储蓄金

labor-saving
a. designed to reduce the amount of work or effort needed to do sth. 省工的,节省劳力的,减轻劳动的

device
n. 1. [C] a thing made or altered for a special purpose 器械,装置
2. [C] a plan, esp. for a rather dishonest purpose 计划,策略,诡计

fax
n. 1. [C, U] 传真通信,电传真
2. [C] 传真机

email
n. 电子邮件(electronic mail 的缩略)

electronic
a. 1. produced or operated by a flow of electrons 电子的,电子操作的
2. concerned with electronic devices 和电子设备(如计算机)有关的

significance
n. 1. [U] meaning 意义
2. [U] importance 重要性

conduct
vt. 1.carry out, direct, manage 进行, 指导, 管理
2. act as the path for (electricity, heat, etc.) 传导(电、热等)
n. [U] person's behavior (esp. its moral element) 行为,品行

increasingly
ad. more and more 逐渐地,日益地,逐渐增加地

■teleconference
n. (通过电话、电视等的)电信会议

satellite
n. 1. [C] 人造卫星
2. [C] 卫星

obtain
vt. get (sth.); come to own or control (sth.) (by buying, borrowing, taking, etc.)取得,获得;买到;借到


superb
a. excellent; outstanding; wonderful 极好的;壮丽的,华美的

whereas
conj.but in contrast; while 反之;却,而

▲elapse
vi. (of time) pass (指时间)过去,逝去

skillful
a. having or showing ability to do sth. well 熟练的,有技巧的,灵巧的

skillfulness
n. 熟练,有技巧,灵巧

competent
a. (of people) having the necessary ability, skill, knowledge, etc. (指人)有能力(技术、知识)的,能干的,胜任的

fulfill
vt. 1. perform (sth.) or bring (sth.) to a completion 履行,执行,完成
2. satisfy (sth.); answer 满足;与……相符

PHRASES AND EXPRESSIONS

result in
have as a result, cause 致使,导致,造成……的结果

nothing but
only 只有,除……以外什么也不

account for
explain the cause of (sth.) 解释,说明

sand in the hourglass
沙漏中的沙(沙漏上端所盛细沙用一小时从窄缝中漏到下端)

in a rush
in a hurry 匆忙的

under pressure
being influenced; being forced 在压力下,在强力下

go with
exist or take place at the same time; be found together 同时发生;伴随

work at
put effort into (sth. or doing sth.); engage in (some activity) 工作,从事于,钻研

save for
keep (sth.) for future use; not use up (sth.) 储存,储蓄

at hand
1. being considered 正考虑的
2. near in time or position 在附近,在手边,临近的

in person
physically present 亲身,亲自

due to
as a result of, caused by, because of 由于,因为

be worthy of
(should) be given (sth.) 值得的,配得上的

Unit 1
    时间观念强的美国人
    美国人认为没有人会停止不前。如果你不求进取,就会落伍。 这种态度造就了一个决心投身于研究、实验和探索的民族。 时间是美国人注意节约的两个要素之一,另一个则是工作。人们一直在说: “只有时间才能支配我们。” 人们似乎是把时间当作一个差不多是实实在在的东西来对待的。 我们安排时间、节约时间、浪费时间、挤抢时间、消磨时间、缩减时间、对时间的使用作出解释; 我们还要因时间而收取费用。时间是一种宝贵的资源。 许多人都深感人生的短暂。 一旦人生的光阴逝去,就不能复返了。 我们应当让每一分钟都过得有意义。
    外国人对美国的第一印象很可能就是:每个人都显得匆匆忙忙—常常是处于压力之下。 城里人看上去总是在匆匆地赶往他们要去的地方,在商店里他们焦躁不安地指望店员能马上来为他们服务,或者为了想赶快买完东西,用肘来推搡他人。 白天人人都急急忙忙地吃饭则部分地体现了这个国家的生活节奏。工作时间被认为是宝贵的。 在公共用餐场所,人们等着别人吃完,这样可以轮到他们,以按时赶回去工作。 你还会发现汽车司机开车很鲁莽, 人们推搡着在你身边过去。 你会怀念微笑、简短的交谈及与陌生人的随意闲聊。 不要觉得
这是针对你个人的,这是因为人们非常珍惜时间,而且也不喜欢他人不得当地“浪费”时间。
    许多刚到美国的人会怀念诸如商务拜访等场合开始时的寒喧。 他们也会怀念那种喝着招待客人的茶或咖啡的礼节性交往, 这也许是他们自己国家的一种习俗。 他们也许还会想念在饭店或咖啡馆里谈生意时的那种轻松悠闲的交谈。一般说来,美国人是不会在如此轻松的环境里通过长时间的闲聊来评估他们的客人的,更不用说他们会在增进相互间信任的过程中带他们出去吃饭,或带他们去高尔夫球场。 既然我们通常是通过工作而不是社交来评估和了解他人的,我们就开门见山地谈生意。 因此时间老是在我们的耳朵里嘀嗒嘀嗒地响着。因而我们千方百计地节约时间。 我们发明了一系列节省劳力的装置;我们通过发传真、打电话或发电子邮件与他人迅速地进行交流, 而不是通过直接接触。 虽然面对面接触令人愉快,但却要化更多的时间, 尤其是在马路上交通拥挤时。因此我们把大多数个人间的拜访放在下班以后的时间里或周末的社交聚会上进行。
    就我们而言,电子交流的缺乏人情味与我们手头上事情的重要性之间很少有或完全没有关系。 在有些国家里, 没有当面接触就做不成大生意, 需要面对面的交谈。 在美国,最后协议通常也需要本人签字。 然而现在人们越来越多的是在电视屏幕上见面,开电信会议不仅能解决本国的问题,而且还能— 通过卫星—解决国与国之间的问题。美国无疑是一个电话王国。 几乎每个人都在用电话做生意、与朋友聊天、安排或取消社交约会、说声 “谢谢”、 购物、或去获得各种信息。 电话不但能免去你的走路之劳,而且还能为你节约大量时间。 其部分原因在于这样一个事实:美国的电话服务是一流的,而邮政服务的效率则差劲多了。有些初来美国的人很可能来自其它的文化背景,在那里人们认为工作太快是一种失礼。 在他们看来,如果不是花一定时间来处理某件事的话 ,则这件事就好像是无足轻重的,不值得给予适当的重视。 因此,人们觉得用的时间长会增加所做事情的重要性。但在美国, 能迅速而又成功地解决问题或完成工作,则被视为是有水平、有能力的标志。 通常,工作越重要,投入的资金、精力和注意力就越多,其目的是 “使工作开展起来”。 

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