‘Hair’ – More Than a Rock Musical

02 May 2009

Now, the VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

A listener named Rita wants to learn about expressions with the word "hair." So we will tell a story.

Yesterday when I woke up, I looked in a mirror.  I looked very neat and organized.  Not a hair was out of place.  But today when I woke up, I knew I was going to have a bad hair day.  My hair was standing up in all the wrong places.  I thought I would be unhappy all day and things would not go well. I work at home so I just hoped that my computer would work right and not have a bad hair day also.      

An advertisement for the musical "Hair"
An advertisement for the musical "Hair"

I was very tired because I did not sleep well last night. I made the mistake of watching a horror movie on television.  The movie really made my hair stand on end.  It was about a house possessed by evil spirits. The thought of having to live alone in a house like that was so frightening it was enough to curl your hair. I will say it another way: watching that movie was a hair-raising experience.

I prepared a meal for my children but they were behaving badly. I turned on the television so they would be quiet. I did not want them to be difficult or to get in my hair while I was working on the computer.

My children were making so much noise that I could not work.  I was getting angry.  In fact, I was ready to pull my hair out.  I told them to please be quiet or I would punish them. But they knew I would not harm a hair on their heads.

I decided to make myself some strong coffee so I could work better. But my drink was so strong that it could put hair on your chest. 

Finally, I got back to work. I was writing a proposal for a project. I knew that I was very close to finishing the proposal.  Success was very close – within a hair’s breadth. My supervisor called me to discuss the project.  She wanted to argue about very small differences and unimportant details.  But I told her not to split hairs.

Later, I got a telephone call from a friend whom I had not seen in a long time. In fact, I had not seen hide nor hair of him in months.  So I was glad to know that he was all right.

I worked all day and finished my project. So I decided to celebrate, have some fun and let my hair down.  I played some old recordings, and my children and I danced around the room. The recordings are from my favorite musical, a show called "Hair." It takes place during the nineteen sixties when many young people wore their hair very long.


This VOA Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust.  I’m Faith Lapidus. You can find other WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.

Expressions With the Word “Hair”

Not a hair was out of place:干净利索,一丝不乱

bad hair day: “头发糟糕的日子,暗示一整天都不顺利,心情不好。< o:p>

made one’s hair stand on end: 使人毛骨悚然

curl one’s hair令人惊诧,令人惊恐


get in one’s hair: 激怒某人

pull one’s hair out生气,发怒

harm a hair on one’s heads: 不伤某人一根毫毛

put hair on one’s chest: 使人具有男子气概;(饮料)富含酒精的;(食物)使人健康、强壮的

a hair’s breadth即将来临,指日可待

split hairs:在小事上争论不休,斤斤计较

hide nor hair:踪影,痕迹(hide or hair)

let one’s hair down: 放松







这次不讨论太多的单词记忆的问题,主要是推荐一个挺有意义的网站。在FreeRice上练习单词,只要你回答正确一个问题,这个网站就会捐给联合国粮食计划署(UN World Food Programme)十粒大米。而且练习的模式也比较科学。每次会随机出题,出题的难度是根据你之前回答的正确与否来判断的。并且当你答错了一个之后,过一会儿这道题还会再次出现。这样就会让你加深印象。这样的点子真的很不错,是个一举两得的做法,既帮助人们学习英语,又为解决饥饿问题做了贡献。

American English Intonation

以前做过两天的集训营,给同学们讲语调的时候用了《American Accent Training》这套教材中的一部分内容,后来在给奥运志愿者做外语培训时,我也把其中一部分编进了教材。在很多地方讲课时我都会用这个教材中的方法来给学生讲解语调。语调其实比语音容易掌握,并且掌握了语调可以很快让你说出英语来有那种“洋”味。所以刚开始学习英语的时候我建议多注意一下语调。当然最好的方法还是多听多看(视频),语调的感觉就会自然找到。

下面内容是American Accent Training中的一部分,作者简单介绍了一下美式英语的一些特点。由于版权与网络空间等等的限制,我这里不能全部放上来。有机会的话可以听我来讲解


The American Speech Music

What to Do with Your Mouth to Sound American

One of the main differences between the way an American talks and the way the rest of the world talks is that we don’t really move our lips. (So, when an American says, "Read my lips!" what does he really mean?) We create most of our sounds in the throat, using our tongue very actively. If you hold your fingers over your lips or clench your jaws when you practice speaking American English, you will find yourself much closer to native-sounding speech than if you try to pronounce every … single … sound … very … carefully.

If you can relate American English to music, remember that the indigenous music is jazz. Listen to their speech music, and you will hear that Americans have a melodic, jazzy way of producing sounds. Imagine the sound of a cello when you say, Beddy bada bida bedder budder (Betty bought a bit of better butter) and you’ll be close to the native way of saying it.
如果你能够把美式英语跟音乐联系起来,要记着美国本土的音乐是爵士。听他们语言的韵律,你会发现美国人有一种带有旋律的、爵士味的发音方式。想象一个大提琴的声音,同时说“Beddy bada bida bedder budder (Betty bought a bit of better butter)”,你就会非常接近地道的说法。

Because most Americans came from somewhere else, American English reflects the accent contributions of many lands. The speech music has become much more exaggerated than British English, developing a strong and distinctive intonation. If you use this intonation, not only will you be easier to understand, but you will sound much more confident, dynamic, and persuasive.

Intonation, or speech music, is the sound that you hear when a conversation is too far away to be clearly audible but close enough for you to tell the nationality of the speakers. The American intonation dictates liaisons and pronunciation, and it indicates mood and meaning. Without intonation, your speech would be flat, mechanical, and very confusing for your listener. What is the American intonation pattern? How is it different from other languages? Foa egzampuru, eefu you hea ah Jahpahneezu pahsohn speakingu Ingurishu, the sound would be very choppy, mechanical, and unemotional to an American. Za sem vey vis Cheuman pipples, it sounds too stiff. A mahn frohm Paree ohn zee ahzer ahnd, eez intonashon goes up at zee end ov evree sentence, and has such a strong intonation that he sounds romantic and highly emotional, but this may not be appropriate for a lecture or a business meeting in English.



呵呵 先祝贺下完成了著书,继续加油哦
我是个快步入社会的学生,很迫切的想加强下自己的英语能力 不知道老师有没有什么能推荐的书籍? 如果想加大自己的词汇量,应该怎么去做呢?
哈哈 提前先谢谢老师的帮助














这里补充一点,也是比较重要的。就是用阅读的方式来掌握单词,会让你把单词的形、义掌握得非常到位。而音的话就不一定了。李敖就是个很好的例子,他被人们称为大师,自己也经常夸赞自己。他在很多言论中体现出他的阅读量之大,并且对英文单词的把握也特别到位。比如他曾讲过proud这个单词,我们可以查到它有“骄傲的”和“感到光荣的”两个意思。英文当中有一种说法是“I’m so proud of you.”。有很多人的翻译是“我以你为傲。”或者说”我为你感到骄傲。“李敖说”骄傲“是个贬义词,而这句话是要表达一种褒义。那这种翻译肯定是有问题的了。