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历年考研英语阅读理解1997年02

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[00:03.87]1997 Passage2

[00:07.41]A report consistently brought back

[00:09.53]by visitors to the US is how friendly, courteous,

[00:13.58]and helpful most Americans were to them.

[00:16.92]To be fair, this observation is also frequently

[00:20.14]made of Canada and Canadians,

[00:23.07]and should best be considered North American.

[00:26.40]There are, of course, exceptions.

[00:29.12]Small-minded officials, rude waiters,

[00:31.94]and ill-mannered taxi drivers are hardly unknown in the US.

[00:36.88]Yet it is an observation made so frequently

[00:39.91]that it deserves comment.

[00:42.63]For a long period of time and in many parts of the country,

[00:46.39]a traveler was a welcome break in an otherwise dull existence.

[00:50.95]Dullness and loneliness were common problems of the families

[00:54.88]who generally lived distant from one another.

[00:58.20]Strangers and travelers were welcome sources of diversion,

[01:02.09]and brought news of the outside world.

[01:05.69]The harsh realities of the frontier

[01:07.91]also shaped this tradition of hospitality.

[01:11.34]Someone traveling alone, if hungry, injured, or ill,

[01:15.87]often had nowhere to turn except to

[01:18.04]the nearest cabin or settlement.

[01:21.16]It was not a matter of choice for the traveler

[01:24.18]or merely a charitable impulse on the part of the settlers.

[01:28.42]It reflected the harshness of daily life:

[01:31.66]if you didn't take in the stranger and take care of him,

[01:35.38]there was no one else who would.

[01:37.71]And someday, remember, you might be in the same situation.

[01:43.26]Today there are many charitable organizations

[01:46.79]which specialize in helping the weary traveler.

[01:50.32]Yet, the old tradition of hospitality to strangers

[01:53.85]is still very strong in the US,

[01:56.37]especially in the smaller cities and towns away from

[01:59.87]the busy tourist trails.

[02:02.78]"I was just traveling through, got talking with this American,

[02:06.81]and pretty soon he invited me home for dinner--amazing."

[02:11.76]Such observations reported by visitors to the US

[02:15.29]are not uncommon,

[02:16.91]but are not always understood properly.

[02:20.34]The casual friendliness of many Americans

[02:23.16]should be interpreted neither

[02:24.74]as superficial nor as artificial,

[02:27.88]but as the result of a historically developed cultural tradition.

[02:33.12]As is true of any developed society,

[02:36.26]in America a complex set of cultural signals, assumptions,

[02:41.40]and conventions underlies all social interrelationships.

[02:46.64]And, of course, speaking a language does not necessarily mean

[02:50.75]that someone understands social

[02:52.86]and cultural patterns.

[02:55.56]Visitors who fail to "translate" cultural meanings properly

[02:59.28]often draw wrong conclusions.

[03:02.01]For example, when an American uses the word "friend",

[03:06.04]the cultural implications of the word may be

[03:08.56]quite different from those it has in the visitor's

[03:11.28]language and culture.

[03:13.77]It takes more than a brief encounter on a bus to distinguish

[03:17.31]between courteous convention and individual interest.

[03:21.65]Yet, being friendly is a virtue that many Americans value highly

[03:26.09]and expect from both neighbors and strangers.

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