Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Third Form Participle

The uses of the third form participle (past participle)

1. Present Perfect Tense
I've already seen that movie.

2. Past Perfect Tense
I didn't want to see that movie last night because I had already seen it

3 Passive Voice
Those patients will be seen by the doctor soon.

4. As An Adjective
This chair is broken. You shouldn't sit on it.

Here are links to the third form participle practices that we are studying in class:

Third Form Participles, a to c
Third Form Participles, c to f
Third Form Participles, f to l
Third Form Participles, l to r
Third Form Participles, r to s
Third Form Participles, s to t
Third Form Participles, t to w
Third Form Participles of Regular Verbs
Three Forms of The Verb: List

Irregular Verb Quiz #1
Irregular Verb Quiz #2
Irregular Verb Quiz #3
Irregular Verbs#4

The Present Perfect Tense

Video of Jennifer Teaching The Present Perfect Tense, 6a
Video of Jennifer Teaching The Present Perfect Tense, 6b
Video of Jennifer Teaching The Present Perfect Tense, 6c
Video of Jennifer Teaching The Present Perfect Tense, 6d
Video of Present Perfect Tense Lesson From "Learn American English"

The Present Perfect Progressive Tense

Present Perfect Progressive (Continuous) Tense, a video

Exercises With The Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Exercise: A Trip to New York
Present Perfect Exercise - Positive (Affirmative)
Present Perfect Exercise - Negative
Present Perfect using "Never"
Present Perfect, Test 1
Present Perfect, Test 2
Present Perfect and Simple Past

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Final "z". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

"Still Life #30" Pop Art by Tom Wesselman, 1963

1. A used car isn’t expensive a new one.

2. The computer will automatically the names.

3. A short test is called a . We’ll have one next week.

4. I asked my employer for a last week. He said he would think about it.

5. Did the student you when she answered all the questions correctly?

6. I sometimes about a vacation on a tropical island.

7. They can’t come to class on Fridays they have to work.

8. I that it is difficult to learn English. But you can do it!

9. Which dress did you to buy, the red one or the blue one?

10. To prevent war, nations or parties sometimes have to .

11. Everyone stand in line and for the photograph.

12. Dave lived in San Francisco for six years.

13. A is a beautiful flower that blooms in the spring.

14. He’s in a hurry. He can’t even long enough to drink some water.

15. They go to bed early at night and early in the morning.

16. Jones is our new secretary. She just started on Monday.

17. Roberta has a sore throat and a runny . She has a cold.

18. I just found this umbrella. Did anybody it?

19. Don’t just put your tapes in a drawer. them often.

20. She budgets her income carefully. That’s very of her.

21. It was so cold last winter that the lakes in the park all .

22. When does the post office on Saturdays, do you know?

23. If you want to water your lawn and make your grass green, you need to purchase a good .

24. In your first aid supplies, it’s a good idea to have tape and .

25. All right. I’m going to take your picture. Now everybody, stand together. And don’t look depressed. Smile.

Come on, everybody, say “ .”


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Final "s". Listen and Fill the Blanks.

"In The Car" by Roy Lichtenstein

1. If I go on a short trip, I only have to pack one .

2. How often does the Number 14 come? Every fifteen minutes.

3. I call 911 if there is an emergency, and I need the immediately.

4. I like the color and the style of this . I hope it’s on sale.

5. Our daughter gave two tickets to the opera for our anniversary.

6. We have already seen that movie . It was excellent.

7. Jeff waters his lawn every day. That’s why the is very green.

8. You must pay for the and electricity. They aren’t included.

9. William tripped and fell because he forgot to tie his .

10. At the thrift store, it is possible to find expensive clothes.

11. Would you like any in your lemonade? Yes, but not too much.

12. is easy to prepare, and it’s very nutritious. We have it often.

13. You’ll never who just called me. It was my friend Judy from Chicago. I haven’t heard from her in a long time.

14. These pants are too in the waist. I need a smaller size.

15. The Wilsons went to New York last month. They had a very time.

16. I know I have seen your before, but I can’t remember your name.

17. Don’t try to run in a marathon if you’re out of shape. It’s a long .

18. Grab your suitcase and run to the car or you might your plane.

19. I bought shelves at the discount furniture store because I wanted a lower .

20. What do you want to take next semester? I think I’m ready for Level 8.

21. Mary’s husband washed the dishes last night and broke a wine .

22. Many photographers surrounded the movie star and took her picture.

23. We don’t own our car. We have a five year . After that, we might buy it or we might not.

24. They are a religious family. They say before every meal.

25. San Francisco is a nice to live. Don’t you think so?


Friday, October 16, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald Wrote About the 'Roaring Twenties'



I'm Shirley Griffith.


And I'm Steve Ember with the Special English program, People in America. Every week we tell about someone important in the history of the United States. Today we tell about writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Early in nineteen twenty, the American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was poor and unknown. He was twenty-four years old. The girl he wanted to marry had rejected him. Her family said he could not support her.

Later that same year, Fitzgerald's first novel, “This Side of Paradise,” was accepted for publication. He said that when the news arrived in the mail: "I left my job. I paid my debts, bought a suit of clothes and woke in the morning to a world of promise. "

He quickly became rich and famous. That year before “This Side of Paradise” was published, he said he earned eight hundred dollars by writing. The following year, with his first book published, he earned eighteen thousand dollars by writing.

Yet by the time F. Scott Fitzgerald died in nineteen forty, at the age of forty-four, his money was gone, and so was his fame. Most people could not believe that he had not died years before.

The problem was that he was so much a part of the age he described, the "Roaring Twenties. " So when the period ended people thought he must have ended with it.


The nineteen twenties began with high hopes. World War One, the "War to End All Wars," was over. The twenties ended with a huge drop in stock market prices that began the Great Depression. Fitzgerald was a representative of the years of fast living in between.

The nation's values had changed. Many Americans were concerned mainly with having a good time. People broke the law by drinking alcohol. They danced to jazz music. Women wore short skirts.

Money differences between one group of Americans and another had become sharper at the beginning of the twentieth century.

By the nineteen twenties, many people believed that gaining the material things one desired could bring happiness. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the lives of people who lived as if that were true.


There was more to Fitzgerald than a desire for material things. "The test of a first-rate intelligence," he said, "is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still have the ability to act. " His two opposing ideas involved seeking happiness from material things, and knowing that material things only brought unhappiness.

Of his own time, he said: "There seemed no question about what was going to happen. America was going on the greatest party in its history and there was going to be plenty to tell about. " Yet if he described only the party, his writings would have been forgotten when the party ended.

"All the stories that came into my head," he said, "had a touch of unhappiness in them. The lovely young women in my stories were ruined, the diamond mountains exploded. In life these things had not happened yet. But I was sure that living was not the careless business that people thought. "

Fitzgerald was able to experience the wild living of the period yet write about its effect on people as though he were just an observer. That is a major reason his writings still are popular.



Francis Scott Key wrote
"The Star-spangled Banner"

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born in the Middle Western city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. He grew up there. In his mother's family there were southern landowners and politicians. The member of the family for whom he was named had written the words to "The Star- Spangled Banner," America's national song.

His father was a businessman who did not do well. Scott went to free public schools and, when he was fifteen, a costly private school where he learned how the rich lived.

When F. Scott Fitzgerald was seventeen, he entered Princeton University.


Fitzgerald was not a good student. He spent more time writing for school plays and magazines at Princeton than studying. His poor record troubled him less than the fact that he was not a good enough athlete to be on the university's football team.

University officials warned him he had to do better in his studies or he would be expelled. So he decided to leave the university after three years to join the United States Army. It was World War One, but the war ended before he saw active duty. He met his future wife while he was at one of the bases where he trained. The girl, Zelda Sayre, was a local beauty in the southern city of Montgomery, Alabama. She and Fitzgerald agreed to marry. Then she rejected him when her family said that Fitzgerald could not give her the life she expected.


Fitzgerald was crushed. He went to New York City in nineteen-nineteen with two goals. One was to make a lot of money. The other was to win the girl he loved.

He rewrote and completed a novel that he had started in college. The book, “This Side of Paradise,” was published in nineteen-twenty. It was an immediate success.

Fitzgerald told his publisher that he did not expect more than twenty thousand copies of the book to be sold. The publisher laughed and said five thousand copies of a first novel would be very good. Within one week, however, twenty thousand copies of the book were sold.

F.S.Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald
At twenty-four, Fitzgerald was famous and rich. A week after the novel appeared, Scott and Zelda were married. F. Scott Fitzgerald had gained the two goals he had set for himself.

At this point the fairy tale should end with the expression: "They lived happily ever after. " But that was not to be the ending for the Fitzgeralds.


Fitzgerald is reported to have said to his friend, the American writer Ernest Hemingway, "The very rich are different from you and me. " Hemingway is reported to have answered, “Yes, they have more money." The exchange tells a great deal about each writer. Hemingway saw a democratic world where people were measured by their ability, not by what they owned.

Fitzgerald saw the deep differences between groups of people that money creates. He decided to be among the rich.

To do this he sold short stories to magazines and, when he had time, continued to write novels. He also continued to live as though his life was one long party.

Hemingway and Fitzgerald in Paris
For several years he was successful at everything. Editors paid more for a story by Fitzgerald than by any other writer. And he sold everything he wrote. Some stories were very good. He wrote very fast, though. So some stories were bad. Even the bad ones, however, had a spirit and a life that belonged to Fitzgerald. As soon as he had enough good stories, he collected them in a book.


Fitzgerald quickly learned that a life of partying all the time did not help him write his best. But he could not give up the fun.

Scott and Zelda lived in New York City. He drank too much. She spent too much money. He promised himself to live a less costly life. Always, however, he spent more than he earned from writing.

In addition to the individual stories, two collections of his stories, “Flappers and Philosophers,” and “Tales of the Jazz Age,” appeared in nineteen twenty and nineteen twenty-two. A second novel, “The Beautiful and Damned,” also was published in nineteen twenty-two.


The novel was well received, but it was nothing like the success of his first novel.

Fitzgerald was unhappy with the critics and unhappy with the money the book earned. He and his wife moved to France with their baby daughter. They made many friends among the Americans who had fled to Paris. But they failed to cut their living costs.

Fitzgerald was always in debt. He owed money to his publisher and the man who helped to sell his writings. In his stories he says repeatedly that no one can have everything. He seemed to try, though. It looked for a brief time like he might succeed.


Fitzgerald continued to be affected by the problems that would finally kill him -- the drinking and the debts. Yet by nineteen twenty-five his best novel, “The Great Gatsby,” was published.

It is the story of a young man's search for his idea of love. It also is a story of what the young man must do to win that love before he discovers that it is not worth having.

Next week we shall discuss this important novel. And we shall tell you about the rest of Fitzgerald's short life.



This People in America program was written by Richard Thorman and produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.


And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again next week as we conclude the story of the life of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in Special English on the Voice of America.


1. When F. Scott Fitzgerald was young, still unknown and not rich, he fell in love, ________________________ .
a: and was married as soon as the woman's parents realized he had gotten her pregnant
b: was rejected by the parents because they didn't feel he could afford the lifestyle she required
c: and ran away with his girlfriend, married her in Europe. The couple never returned to the US.
d: married the girl of his dreams, and then they divorced a year and half later when he met and fell in love again with a younger woman

2. __________________ all of Fitzgerald's work was published in the 1920s, he was still in debt.
a: Because
b: In spite of
c: Even though
d: Since

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald's first book, "__________________", became an immediate success.
a: Tender Is The Night
b: This Side of Paradise
c: The Sound and the Fury
d: The Great Gatsby

4. The subject of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing is _______________________ .
a: the adventure and dangers of war and sports
b: the partying spirit of the roaring twenties
c: the difficulties and challenges of the art world
d: the details and desperations of the world of the stock market

5. Fitzgerald believed in two opposite ideas. One, look for happiness in material things. Two, _________________________
a: look for pleasure in religious ceremonies
b: see a psychiatrist every day
c: don't have any commitments towards other people, especially women
d: material things ultimately bring unhappiness

6. Fitzgerald's writing is still important because he shows us ______________________ .
a: that there is a very sad undercurrent going on when life is just a party
b: the 1920s were a great party that could continue indefinitely
c: there is no such thing as a good party because everyone at a party pretends to be what they are not in reality
d: it's better stay home and not go to parties in the 1920s because it is illegal to drink alcohol

7. F. Scott Fitzgerald was named after an ancestor who was __________________ .
a: The writer of the patriotic song, "The Star Spangled Banner"
b: a hero of the Civil War, 1860 to 1865
c: a CEO of a very successful railroad company
d: a famous architect specializing in mansions built on Long Island, near New York City

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda constantly __________________________ .
a: were very careful with money
b: were able to save for retirement
c: spent more than they earned
d: were able to give generously to charities

9. At the age of 24, Francis Scott Fitzgerald was rich and famous and won the girl of his dreams, Zelda Sayre. After that he and Zelda, _____________________ .
a: lived happily ever after
b: continued to challenged themselves and accomplish new goals
c: could not live within their means. She spent too much, and he drank too much.
d: had five kids and moved to South San Francisco

10. Fitzgerald's best novel, "____________________", was published in 1925.
a: Flappers and Philosophers
b: The Great Gatsby
c: Tales of the Jazz Age
d: The Beautiful and the Damned

This is Part One of a very good documentary on the life
of F. Scott Fitzgerald. It also gives you insight into the
"fast" living of the 1920s.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Part Two

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 'Great Gatsby': A Great Event in U.S. Literature



I'm Shirley Griffith.


And I'm Steve Ember with the Special English program, People in America. Every week, we tell about someone important in the history of the United States. Today, we complete the story of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald.



In nineteen twenty-five, just five years after his first novel appeared, F. Scott Fitzgerald published “The Great Gatsby.” It was a major event in American writing.

“The Great Gatsby” is a story about success -- American success -- and what one must do to gain it.

It is a story about appearance and reality. It is a story about love, hate, loyalty, and disloyalty. This is how the story begins:


"In my younger years, my father gave me some advice. The ability to do what is good and right is not given out equally at birth. The rich and powerful -- who should have it -- often do not. And those who were born knowing neither good nor right, sometimes know it best. "


Jay Gatsby, the main character in the book, learns this moral lesson. He dies at the end of the story. Yet his spirit survives, because of his great gift for hope. It was the kind of hope, Fitzgerald said, that he had never found in any person. Yet it was hope that used Gatsby and finally, in the end, destroyed him.

Gatsby is a self-made man. Almost everything about his life is invented -- even his name. He was born Jimmy Gatz. As a child, Jimmy Gatz sets a daily program of self-improvement. These are the things he feels he must do every day to make himself a success.


When Jimmy Gatz invents himself as Jay Gatsby, part of his dream of success is the love of a beautiful woman. He finds the woman to love -- as Fitzgerald did -- while training in the army during World War One.

The other part of his dream is to be very rich. That, too, was part of Fitzgerald's dream. In just three years, Gatsby gains more money than he thought possible. All he needs to do now is to claim the woman he loves. In those same three years, however, she has married someone else.

A still from the movie, "The Great Gatsby"
opening December 2012.
The story of “The Great Gatsby” is told by a narrator, Nick Carraway. When Gatsby seeks to renew his earlier love, Carraway says, "I would not ask too much. You cannot repeat the past. " Gatsby answers, "Cannot repeat the past. Why, of course you can!"


For a brief time, Gatsby seems to succeed. He does not know that he can never succeed completely. The woman he loves, Daisy Buchanan, is part of the very rich world that Fitzgerald found so different. It is a group that does not share what it has with people like jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald wrote:


"They were careless people. They smashed up things and creatures. Then they retreated back into their money, or their great carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together. They retreated and let other people clean up the messes they had made.”


The mess they make in “The Great Gatsby” is a tragic one. They hit a woman with a car, and kill her. Gatsby accepts the blame, so Daisy will not be charged. He, then, is killed by the dead woman's husband.

Not even Gatsby’s few friends come to his funeral. Of all the hundreds of people who came to his parties, no one will come when the party is over. After Gatsby’s death, Nick Carraway, the storyteller, says:


"I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first recognized the green light at the end of Daisy's boat dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn. His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to hold it. He did not know that it was already behind him . . .

"Gatsby believed in the future that, year by year, moves away from us...

"So we beat on -- boats against the current -- carried back endlessly into the past."



“The Great Gatsby” was not the popular success F. Scott Fitzgerald expected. Yet other writers saw immediately how skillful he had become. His first books showed that he could write. “The Great Gatsby” proved that he had become an expert in the art of writing.

The story is told by a third person. He is a part of the story, but he rejects the story he is telling. His answers are like those heard in an ancient Greek play. The chorus in the play tells us what to think about what we see.

“The Great Gatsby” is a short novel whose writing shines like a jewel. The picture it paints of life in America at that time -- the parties, the automobiles, the endless fields of waste -- are unforgettable.


Fitzgerald wrote at great speed to make money. Yet no matter how fast he wrote, he could not stay out of debt. By the end of the nineteen twenties, the Jazz Age had ended. Hard times were coming for the country and for the Fitzgeralds.


In nineteen-thirty, Zelda Fitzgerald became mentally sick. She lived most of the rest of her life in mental hospitals. Scott Fitzgerald also became sick from drinking too much alcohol. And he had developed the disease diabetes.

In nineteen thirty-one, the Fitzgeralds returned to the United States from Europe. Zelda entered a mental hospital in the state of Maryland. Scott lived nearby in the city of Baltimore. Zelda lived until nineteen forty-seven. She died in a fire at another mental hospital.


In nineteen thirty-four, Fitzgerald wrote another novel, “Tender is the Night.” He thought it was his best. Many critics disagreed. They said Fitzgerald no longer recognized what was happening in the United States. They said he did not understand what was important to the country during the great economic depression.

“Tender is the Night” tells the story of a young American doctor and his marriage to a rich, beautiful patient. In the early part of his life, he believes in success through hard work. Slowly, however, his wife's great wealth ruins him. His energy is weakened, his work destroyed. His wife recovers her health while he becomes worse. In the end, she seems to have stolen his energy and intelligence.


"Tender is the Night"
In nineteen thirty-six, Fitzgerald wrote a book he called “The Crack-Up.” It describes his own breakdown, and how he attempted to put himself and his life together. "It seemed a romantic business to be a successful writer," he said. "Of course. . . You were never satisfied. But I, for one, would not have chosen any other work. "

At the age of thirty-nine, he realized that his life had cracked into pieces.

It became a time for him to look at himself. He realized that he had not taken care of the people and things he loved. "I had not been a very good caretaker of most of the things left in my hands," he said, "even of my own skills." Out of the wreckage of his life and health, he tried to rebuild himself.


Fitzgerald had always written many stories. Some were very good. Others were not good. He wrote quickly for the money he always needed. After his crack-up, however, he discovered he was no longer welcome at the magazines that had paid him well. So, to earn a living, he moved to Hollywood and began writing for the motion picture industry.

He had stopped drinking. He planned to start writing novels and short stories again. It was too late. His health was ruined. He died in Hollywood in nineteen forty at the age of forty-four. There were few people who could believe that he had not died years before.


Fitzgerald was working on a novel when he died. He called it “The Last Tycoon.”

Fitzgerald's friend from Princeton University, the literary critic Edmund Wilson, helped to get it published. Wilson did the same thing for a book of Fitzgerald's notes and other pieces of writing, called “The Crack-Up.”

These books re-established Fitzgerald's fame as both an observer of his times and a skilled artist. That fame rests on just a few books and stories, but it seems secure.



Today's program was written by Richard Thorman and produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Steve Ember.


And I'm Shirley Griffith. Join us again next week for another People in America program, in Special English, on the Voice of America.


1. F. Scott's Fitzgerald characterizes rich people in "The Great Gatsby" as _____________________ .
a: very helpful to people less well off
b: very serious and hard working
c: very careless and destructive
d: very interested in supporting political causes

2. F. Scott Fitzgerald describes the twenties as a time when ____________________.
a: people are obsessed by success and wealth and are never satisfied
b: people sincerely wish to improve the life of their communities
c: people are more interested in education than ever
d: people use their new found leisure time to explore the arts

3. In "The Great Gatsby", the character of Nick Carraway is _______________________ . .
a: the husband of Daisy Buchanan
b: the husband of a woman killed by a car
c: the narrator of the story and friend of Jay Gatsby
d: the narrator of the story, but not Jay Gatsby's friend

4. When Daisy's careless driving kills a woman, Jay Gatsby _____________________ .
a: decides she's not the woman for him
b: accepts the blame so Daisy won't be charged
c: goes to Europe to escape the crisis
d: hires a lawyer to save Daisy's reputation and honor

5. Gatsby's love for a wealthy woman is __________________ Fitzgerald's love for the wealthy Zelda Sayre.
a: similar to
b: absolutely different from
c: much more extreme than
d: exactly the same as

6. Jimmy Gatz doesn't think he is good enough. The first thing he does is ____________________ .
a: ask Nick for advice
b: marry Daisy Buchanan
c: become a successful business man
d: set a daily program of self-improvement

7. In the novel, Nick Carraway advises Jay Gatsby ____________________ .
a: to seek Daisy Buchanan's hand in marriage even though she's currently married to another
b: not to try to renew his earlier love
c: to try to gain more of a fortune before attempting to impress Daisy Buchanan
d: to try to persuade Daisy's parents that he is a better choice for her than her current husband

8. Although "The Great Gatsby" was not a great success, _______________________ .
a: the film script he wrote earned him a tremendous amount of money
b: Zelda was able to borrow money from her parents to finance his later work
c: critics considered it Fitzgerald's finest novel
d: Fitzgerald's was able to quit writing and live on his royalties

9. In 1931, the Fitzgeralds returned to the United States from Europe. Zelda ___________________ .
a: became a famous writer
b: entered a mental hospital
c: settled down with F. Scott, her husband
d: helped poor people during the Depression

10. "______________________ " is a novel about a doctor whose wealthy wife seems to steal his energy and his intelligence.
a: The Crack-Up
b: The Last Tycoon
c: Tender is the Night
d: The Great Gatsby

The following is a trailer for the upcoming release of "The Great Gatsby" this December, 2012. The director is Baz Luhrman. The film is in 3D and stars Leonardo Di Caprio (You may remember him from The Titanic) as Jay Gatsby and Cary Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. Baz Luhrman is known for "over the top" cinema. "Over the top" means very extravagant, lush, rich in garish imagery.

The Great Gatsby from ebooks

F. Scott Fitzgerald, Part One

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Edwin Hubble, Explorer of the Universe, from Voice of America


EXPLORATIONS -- a program in Special English by the Voice of America.


Today, Richard Rael and Tony Riggs tell the story of American astronomer Edwin Hubble. He changed our ideas about the universe and how it developed. Edwin Hubble made his most important discoveries in the nineteen twenties. Today, other astronomers continue the work he began. Many of them are using the Hubble Space Telescope that is named after him.



Edwin Powell Hubble was born in eighteen eighty-nine in Marshfield, Missouri. He spent his early years in the state of Kentucky. Then he moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Chicago. He studied mathematics and astronomy.

Hubble was a good student. He was a good athlete, too. He was a member of the University of Chicago championship basketball team in nineteen-oh-nine. He also was an excellent boxer. Several people urged him to train for the world heavyweight boxing championship after college. Instead, he decided to continue his studies. He went to Queen's College at Oxford, England.

At Oxford, Hubble studied law. He was interested in British Common Law, because his family had come to America from England many years before. He spent three years at Oxford.

In nineteen thirteen, Hubble returned to the United States. He opened a law office in Louisville, Kentucky. After a short time, however, he decided he did not want to be a lawyer. He returned to the University of Chicago. There, once again, he studied astronomy.


Hubble watched the night sky with instruments at the university's Yerkes Observatory. His research involved a major question astronomers could not answer: What are nebulae?

The astronomical term "nebulae," Hubble explained, had come down through the centuries. It was the name given to permanent, cloudy areas in the sky outside our solar system. Some astronomers thought nebulae were part of our Milky Way galaxy. Others thought they were island universes farther away in space. In his research paper, Hubble said the issue could be decided only by more powerful instruments. And those instruments had not yet been developed.


In nineteen seventeen, the United States was fighting in World War One in Europe. Edwin Hubble joined the American army and served in France.

Earlier, astronomer George Ellery Hale had offered Hubble a position at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Southern California. When Hubble returned to the United States after World War One, he accepted Hale's offer. Hubble was thirty years old. He was just beginning the work that would make him famous.


In his first observations from Mount Wilson, Hubble used a telescope with a mirror one hundred fifty-two centimeters across. He studied objects within our own galaxy. And he made an important discovery about nebulae.

Hubble said the light that appeared to come from nebulae really came from stars near the nebulae. The nebulae, he said, were clouds of atoms and dust. They were not hot enough -- like stars -- to give off light.

Soon after, Hubble began working with a larger and more powerful telescope at Mount Wilson. Its mirror was two hundred fifty centimeters across. It was the most powerful telescope in the world for twenty-five years. It had the power Hubble needed to make his major discoveries.


From nineteen twenty-two on, Edwin Hubble began examining more and more distant objects. His first great discovery was made when he recognized a Cepheid variable star. It was in the outer area of the great nebula called Andromeda. Cepheid variable stars are stars whose brightness changes at regular periods.

An astronomer at Harvard College, Henrietta Leavitt, had discovered that these periods of brightness could be used to measure the star's distance from Earth. Hubble made the measurements.
Andromeda Galaxy

They showed that the Andromeda nebula lay far outside our Milky Way Galaxy.

Hubble's discovery ended a long dispute. He proved wrong those who believed nebulae lay inside the Milky Way. And he proved that nebulae were galaxies themselves. Astronomers now agree that far distant galaxies do exist.


Hubble then began to observe more details about galaxies. He studied their shape and brightness. By nineteen twenty-five, he had made enough observations to say that the universe is organized into galaxies of many shapes and sizes.

As stars differ from one another, he said, so do galaxies. Some are spiral galaxies like the Milky Way and Andromeda. They have a center, and arms of matter that seem to circle the center like a pinwheel. Others are shaped like baseballs or eggs. A few have no special shape.


Hubble proposed a system to describe galaxies by their shape. His system still is used today. He also showed that galaxies are similar in the kinds of bright objects they contain. All galaxies, he said, are related to each other, much as members of a family are related to each other.

In the late nineteen twenties, Hubble studied the movement of galaxies through space. His investigation led to the most important astronomical discovery of the Twentieth century -- the expanding universe.


Earlier observations about the movement of galaxies had been done by V. M. Silpher. He discovered that galaxies are moving away from Earth at speeds between three hundred kilometers a second and one thousand eight hundred kilometers a second.

Hubble understood the importance of Silpher's findings. He developed a plan for measuring both the distance and speed of as many galaxies as possible. With his assistant at Mount Wilson, Milton Humason, Hubble measured the movement of galaxies. The two men did this by studying what Hubble called the "red shift." It also is known as the "Doppler effect."

The Doppler effect explains changes in the length of light waves or sound waves as they move toward you or away from you. Light waves from an object speeding away from you will stretch into longer wavelengths. They appear red. Light waves from an object speeding toward you will have shorter wavelengths. They appear blue.


Observations of forty-six galaxies showed Hubble that the galaxies were traveling away from Earth. The observations also showed that the speed was linked directly to the galaxies' distance from Earth. Hubble discovered that the farther away a galaxy is, the greater its speed. This scientific rule is called "Hubble's Law."

Hubble's discovery meant a major change in our idea of the universe.

The universe had not been quiet and unchanging since the beginning of time, as many people had thought. It was expanding. And that, Hubble said, meant it probably began with an explosion of unimaginable force. The explosion often is called "the big bang."


Hubble's work did not end with this discovery. He continued to examine galaxies. He continued to gain new knowledge about them. Astronomers from all over the world went to study with him.

Hubble left the Mount Wilson Observatory during World War Two. He did research for the United States War Department. He returned after the war. Then, he spent much of his time planning a new, much larger telescope in Southern California. The telescope was completed in nineteen forty-nine. It had a mirror five hundred centimeters across. It was named after astronomer George Ellery Hale.


Edwin Hubble was the first person to use the Hale Telescope. He died in nineteen fifty-three while preparing to spend four nights looking through the telescope at the sky.

Hubble's work led to new research on the birth of the universe. One astronomer said scientists have been filling in the details ever since. And, he said, there is a long way to go.



This Special English program was written by Marilyn Rice Christiano. Your narrators were Richard Rael and Tony Riggs. Listen again next week for another EXPLORATIONS program on the Voice of America.


1. "_________________" was for centuries the name given to cloudy areas outside our solar system .
a: Anomalies
b: Specters
c: Nebulae
d: Disturbances

2. A star whose brightness changes at regular periods is called "________________" .
a: an alternating star
b: a Cepheid Variable Star
c: a periodic star
d: a Henrietta Leavitt Star

3. After his service in World War One, Edwin Hubble ___________________.
a: built a powerful telescope
b: discovered that nebulae light was stronger than star light
c: was hired by George Ellery Hale for a position at Mount Wilson Observatory
d: taught astronomy in Paris, France

4. Our galaxy is called "The Milky Way". Hubble classified it as ______________________ .
a: a pinwheel galaxy
b: an egg-shaped galaxy
c: a spiral galaxy
d: a galaxy with no particular shape

5. Edwin Hubble's ancestors were _______________________.
a: British
b: American
c: French
d: Irish

6. Edwin Hubble was never __________ .
a: an excellent boxer
b: a University of California basketball player
c: an astronomer
d: a law student

7. Light waves from an object speeding away from you stretch into longer wavelengths. _____________________ .
a: They appear red
b: They appear blue
c: They don't change color at all
d: They appear smaller in size

8. In order to make his most important discoveries, Hubble needed a mirror in his telescope ______________________ .
a: about 200 centimeters across
b: 250 centimeters across
c: about 150 centimeters across
d: just over 200 centimeters across

9. Hubble's Law states that the further away a galaxy is, ____________________ .
a: the slower its speed
b: the greater its speed
c: the smaller it becomes
d: the larger it becomes

10. Hubble reasoned that, if the universe is expanding, it must have been expanding from the beginning, and ___________________________ .
a: started to expand a long time ago
b: would soon begin to slow down
c: must have started with a huge explosion he called "The big bang".
d: would eventually start to shrink

Edwin Hubble in Wikipedia
Hubble Telescope Website
Gallery of Images from the Hubble Telescope

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Helen Keller, 1880-1968: 'I Try to Make the Light in Others' Eyes My Sun'


I'm Ray Freeman.


And I'm Shirley Griffith with People in America - a program in Special English by the Voice of America. Every week we tell about someone who was important in the history of the United States.

This week we finish the story of a writer and educator, Helen Keller. She helped millions of people who, like her, were blind and deaf.



We reported last week that Helen Keller suffered from a strange sickness when she was only nineteen months old. It made her completely blind and deaf. For the next five years she had no way of successfully communicating with other people.

Then, a teacher -- Anne Sullivan -- arrived from Boston to help her. Miss Sullivan herself had once been blind. She tried to teach Helen to live like other people. She taught her how to use her hands as a way of speaking.

Miss Sullivan took Helen out into the woods to explore nature. They also went to the circus, the theater, and even to factories. Miss Sullivan explained everything in the language she and Helen used -- a language of touch -- of fingers and hands. Helen also learned how to ride a horse, to swim, to row a boat and, even to climb trees.

Helen Keller once wrote about these early days.


"One beautiful spring morning I was alone in my room, reading. Suddenly, a wonderful smell in the air made me get up and put out my hands. The spirit of spring seemed to be passing in my room. ‘What is it?’ I asked. The next minute I knew it was coming from the mimosa tree outside.

"I walked outside to the edge of the garden, toward the tree. There it was, shaking in the warm sunshine. Its long branches, so heavy with flowers, almost touched the ground. I walked through the flowers to the tree itself and then just stood silent. Then I put my foot on the tree and pulled myself up into it. I climbed higher and higher until I reached a little seat. Long ago someone had put it there. I sat for a long time ... Nothing in all the world was like this.”


Later, Helen learned that nature could be cruel as well as beautiful. Strangely enough she discovered this in a different kind of tree.


"One day my teacher and I were returning from a long walk. It was a fine morning. But it started to get warm and heavy. We stopped to rest two or three times. Our last stop was under a cherry tree a short way from the house.

"The shade was nice and the tree was easy to climb. Miss Sullivan climbed with me. It was so cool up in the tree we decided to have lunch there. I promised to sit still until she went to the house for some food. Suddenly a change came over the tree. I knew the sky was black because all the heat, which meant light to me, had died out of the air. A strange odor came up to me from the earth. I knew it -- it was the odor which always comes before a thunderstorm.

"I felt alone, cut off from friends, high above the firm earth. I was frightened, and wanted my teacher. I wanted to get down from that tree quickly. But I was no help to myself. There was a moment of terrible silence.

"Then a sudden and violent wind began to shake the tree and its leaves kept coming down all around me. I almost fell. I wanted to jump, but was afraid to do so. I tried to make myself small in the tree, as the branches rubbed against me. Just as I thought that both the tree and I were going to fall, a hand touched me ... It was my teacher. I held her with all my strength then shook with joy to feel the solid earth under my feet."



Miss Sullivan stayed with Helen for many years. She taught Helen how to read, how to write and how to speak. She helped her to get ready for school and college. More than anything, Helen wanted to do what others did, and do it just as well.

In time, Helen did go to college and completed her studies with high honors. But it was a hard struggle. Few of the books she needed were written in the Braille language that the blind could read by touching pages. Miss Sullivan and others had to teach her what was in these books by forming words in her hands.

The study of geometry and physics was especially difficult. Helen could only learn about squares, triangles, and other geometrical forms by making them with wires. She kept feeling the different shapes of these wires until she could see them in her mind.

During her second year at college, Miss Keller wrote the story of her life and what college meant to her. This is what she wrote:


"My first day at Radcliffe College was of great interest. Some powerful force inside me made me test my mind. I wanted to learn if it was as good as that of others.

"I learned many things at college. One thing, I slowly learned was that knowledge does not just mean power, as some people say. Knowledge leads to happiness, because to have it is to know what is true and real.

"To know what great men of the past have thought, said and done is to feel the heartbeat of humanity down through the ages."


All of Helen Keller's knowledge reached her mind through her sense of touch and smell, and of course her feelings.

To know a flower was to touch it, feel it, and smell it. This sense of touch became greatly developed as she got older.

She once said that hands speak almost as loudly as words.

She said the touch of some hands frightened her. The people seem so empty of joy that when she touched their cold fingers it is as if she were shaking hands with a storm.

She found the hands of others full of sunshine and warmth.

Strangely enough, Helen Keller learned to love things she could not hear, music for example. She did this through her sense of touch.

When waves of air beat against her, she felt them. Sometimes she put her hand to a singer's throat. She often stood for hours with her hands on a piano while it was played. Once, she listened to an organ. Its powerful sounds made her move her body in rhythm with the music.

She also liked to go to museums.

She thought she understood sculpture as well as others. Her fingers told her the true size, and the feel of the material.

What did Helen Keller think of herself? What did she think about the tragic loss of her sight and hearing? This is what she wrote as a young girl:


"Sometimes a sense of loneliness covers me like a cold mist -- I sit alone and wait at life's shut door. Beyond, there is light and music and sweet friendship, but I may not enter. Silence sits heavy upon my soul.

"Then comes hope with a sweet smile and says softly, 'There is joy in forgetting one's self.’ And so I try to make the light in others' eyes my sun ... The music in others' ears my symphony ... The smile on others' lips my happiness."



Helen Keller was tall and strong. When she spoke, her face looked very alive. It helped give meaning to her words. She often felt the faces of close friends when she was talking to them to discover their feelings. She and Miss Sullivan both were known for their sense of humor. They enjoyed jokes and laughing at funny things that happened to themselves or others.

Helen Keller had to work hard to support herself after she finished college. She spoke to many groups around the country. She wrote several books. And she made one movie based on her life. Her main goal was to increase public interest in the difficulties of people with physical problems.

The work Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan did has been written and talked about for many years. Their success showed how people can conquer great difficulties.

Anne Sullivan died in nineteen thirty-six, blind herself. Before Miss Sullivan died, Helen wrote and said many kind things about her.


"It was the genius of my teacher, her sympathy, her love which made my first years of education so beautiful.

"My teacher is so near to me that I do not think of myself as apart from her. All the best of me belongs to her. Everything I am today was awakened by her loving touch."


Helen Keller died on June first, nineteen sixty-eight. She was eighty-seven years old. Her message of courage and hope remains.



You have just heard the last part of the story of Helen Keller. Our Special English program was written by Katherine Clarke and produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.


And I'm Ray Freeman. Listen again next week to another People in America program on the Voice of America.

Helen Keller, Part One


1. Helen Keller was born ______________________ .
a. blind and deaf
b. a healthy child
c. prematurely
d. out of wedlock

2. Because she was both blind and deaf, Helen Keller received information mainly from her sense of _________________ .
a. sight
b. hearing
c. taste
d. touch

3. When Ann Sullivan first tried to teach Helen, Helen was very _______________ .
a. obedient
b. disobedient
c. respectful
d. appreciative

4. Helen Keller's family received the most help for their child from ___________ .
a. a doctor from Baltimore
b. a person who had been blind
c. a political activist
d. a professional therapist

5. Anne Sullivan taught Helen by tracing words on __________________ .
a. on Helen's hand
b. on the ground
c. on a large notebook
d. using Braille language

6. After learning to behave better, Helen made progress ____________ .
a. more slowly
b. less intensively
c. much more quickly
d. less quickly than before

7. Ann Sullivan taught Helen Keller that everything has a ________________ .
a. color
b. shape
c. name
d. purpose

8. Helen Keller remembered that she knew a storm was coming because suddenly she felt __________________ .
a. raindrops falling
b. the air getting cold
c. tree leaves falling
d. the sky darkening

9. Another name for this article could be __________________ .
a. "The Amazing Story of Helen Keller"
b. "The Methods Used for Helping Blind People"
c. "The Role of Discipline in Education"
d. "Resources for The Hearing Impaired"

10. This story is mainly about how an incredibly curious and talented woman __________________________ .
a. became a writer and political activist
b. overcame debilitating handicaps
c. inspired many others by her example
d. showed that discipline is the answer to success

Youtube excerpt from "The Miracle Worker" a film about Helen Keller, 1962:

Helen Keller, Part One

"The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe


Now, the VOA Special English program AMERICAN STORIES.


Today we present the short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. Here is Shep O'Neal with the story.



True! Nervous -- very, very nervous I had been and am! But why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses -- not destroyed them.

Above all was the sense of hearing. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in the underworld. How, then, am I mad? Observe how healthily -- how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! He had the eye of a bird, a vulture -- a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell on me, my blood ran cold; and so -- very slowly -- I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and free myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You think that I am mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely and carefully I went to work!


I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night, late at night, I turned the lock of his door and opened it – oh, so gently! And then, when I had made an opening big enough for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed that no light shone out, and then I stuck in my head. I moved it slowly, very slowly, so that I might not interfere with the old man's sleep. And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern just so much that a single thin ray of light fell upon the vulture eye.

And this I did for seven long nights -- but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who was a problem for me, but his Evil Eye.

On the eighth night, I was more than usually careful in opening the door. I had my head in and was about to open the lantern, when my finger slid on a piece of metal and made a noise. The old man sat up in bed, crying out "Who's there?"

I kept still and said nothing. I did not move a muscle for a whole hour. During that time, I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening -- just as I have done, night after night.

Then I heard a noise, and I knew it was the sound of human terror. It was the low sound that arises from the bottom of the soul. I knew the sound well. Many a night, late at night, when all the world slept, it has welled up from deep within my own chest. I say I knew it well.

I knew what the old man felt, and felt sorry for him, although I laughed to myself. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first noise, when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him.

When I had waited a long time, without hearing him lie down, I decided to open a little -- a very, very little -- crack in the lantern. So I opened it. You cannot imagine how carefully, carefully. Finally, a single ray of light shot from out and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open -- wide, wide open -- and I grew angry as I looked at it. I saw it clearly -- all a dull blue, with a horrible veil over it that chilled my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person. For I had directed the light exactly upon the damned spot.


And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but a kind of over-sensitivity? Now, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when inside a piece of cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my anger.

But even yet I kept still. I hardly breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I attempted to keep the ray of light upon the eye. But the beating of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every second. The old man's terror must have been extreme! The beating grew louder, I say, louder every moment!

"Tell Tale Heart" by Rosell
And now at the dead hour of the night, in the horrible silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst.

And now a new fear seized me -- the sound would be heard by a neighbor! The old man's hour had come! With a loud shout, I threw open the lantern and burst into the room.

He cried once -- once only. Without delay, I forced him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled, to find the action so far done.

But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a quiet sound. This, however, did not concern me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length, it stopped. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the body. I placed my hand over his heart and held it there many minutes. There was no movement. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.


If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise steps I took for hiding the body. I worked quickly, but in silence. First of all, I took apart the body. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three pieces of wood from the flooring, and placed his body parts under the room. I then replaced the wooden boards so well that no human eye -- not even his -- could have seen anything wrong.

There was nothing to wash out -- no mark of any kind -- no blood whatever. I had been too smart for that. A tub had caught all -- ha! ha!

When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o'clock in the morning. As a clock sounded the hour, there came a noise at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart -- for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who said they were officers of the police. A cry had been heard by a neighbor during the night; suspicion of a crime had been aroused; information had been given at the police office, and the officers had been sent to search the building.

I smiled -- for what had I to fear? The cry, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I said, was not in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I told them to search -- search well. I led them, at length, to his room. I brought chairs there, and told them to rest. I placed my own seat upon the very place under which lay the body of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. I was completely at ease. They sat, and while I answered happily, they talked of common things. But, after a while, I felt myself getting weak and wished them gone. My head hurt, and I had a ringing in my ears; but still they sat and talked.

The ringing became more severe. I talked more freely to do away with the feeling. But it continued until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

I talked more and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased -- and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound like a watch makes when inside a piece of cotton. I had trouble breathing -- and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly -- more loudly; but the noise increased. I stood up and argued about silly things, in a high voice and with violent hand movements. But the noise kept increasing.

Why would they not be gone? I walked across the floor with heavy steps, as if excited to anger by the observations of the men -- but the noise increased. What could I do? I swung my chair and moved it upon the floor, but the noise continually increased. It grew louder -- louder -- louder! And still the men talked pleasantly, and smiled.

Was it possible they heard not? No, no! They heard! They suspected! They knew! They were making a joke of my horror! This I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this pain! I could bear those smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! And now -- again! Louder! Louder! Louder!

"Villains!" I cried, "Pretend no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the floor boards! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!"



You have heard the story "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. Your storyteller was Shep O'Neal. This story was adapted by Shelley Gollust. It was produced by Lawan Davis. Listen again next week for another American story in VOA Special English. I'm Faith Lapidus.


1. The narrator was mostly annoyed by the old man's ____________ .
a. wealth
b. old age
c. eye
d. bad habits

2. The narrator felt ______________ for the old man.
a. love
b. hatred
c. envy
d. nothing

3. The narrator made a noise with his lantern on the ______________ that he went in the old man's bedroom.
a. first night
b. eighth night
c. second night
d. fourth night

4. The killer knew the old man was dead when he could no longer hear the old man's __________ .
a. voice
b. fearful cries
c. angry shouting
d. heart beat

5. For many nights, the killer didn't harm the old man. He only _____________ .
a. looked at him
b. shone his lantern at his eye
c. thought about killing him
d. wrote a story about killing him

6. From this story, we can assume that the killer is ____________ .
a. insane
b. happy
c. lonely
d. sensitive

7. The narrator of this story wants the reader to think he is ____________ .
a. insane
b. compassionate
c. rational
d. stupid

8. The murderer hid his victim's body _______________ .
a. under the floor
b. in a neighbor's backyard
c. in the closet
d. under the ground

9. Another name for this story could be ______________ .
a. "The Evil Eye"
b. "The Living Heart"
c. "The Old Man's Lantern"
d. "How to Escape the Police"

10. This story is mainly about ________________ .
a. a nice elderly man
b. the policeman's job
c. a mad killer
d. a pale blue eye

This is a very well done animation and narration of "The Tell Tale Heart". It was
made in 1953 by Columbia Pictures. It features James Mason as the narrator.