HOST: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English. I'm Doug
Johnson. On our show this week:
We play songs nominated for an Academy
Answer a question about American English,
And report about
new rules for traveling to the United States.
Travel to the United States
Visiting the United States will soon become easier for international
travelers under a new government plan. Barbara Klein tells us more about
this new program.
BARBARA KLEIN: Travel to the United States decreased after the
terrorist attacks of two thousand one. In reaction to the attacks, the
United States government increased security requirements for travelers.
These requirements have caused long lines in airports and extended
searches of passengers and their belongings. Businesses and universities
have become increasingly concerned that the problems involved with travel
have reduced the number of foreign visitors.
But recently, the Bush administration announced a plan it says will
improve security at the nation's borders, while welcoming foreign
visitors. The plan uses improved technology to speed up security
Officials say the new system will reduce problems that often delay the
approval of international travel documents, or visas. People coming to the
United States to study at American colleges will receive visas that permit
them to remain in the country for longer periods of time.
Under the new program, travelers will no longer be required to appear
at American diplomatic offices in their country to be questioned for
visas. Instead, they can be questioned at local offices throughout their
country on live video broadcasts.
The government plan also includes changes at American airports to make
foreign visitors feel more welcome when they arrive in the United States.
This program will first be tested at airports in Houston, Texas and
Washington D.C. Foreign travelers arriving in the United States through
these airports will receive helpful information and personal assistance.
New passports, called e-passports, will also be created. These
documents will contain biological information on computer chips. The
biological information makes it difficult to copy the passports for
illegal use. Other governments in addition to the United States are also
beginning to develop these documents.
American and British English
HOST: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Iraq. Harbey
Muhammad Ali asks about differences between American and British English.
Language experts say that spoken English was almost the same in the
American colonies and Britain. Americans began to change the sound of
their speech after the Revolutionary War in seventeen seventy-six. They
wanted to separate themselves from the British in language as they had
separated themselves from the British government.
Some American leaders proposed major changes in the language. Benjamin
Franklin wanted a new system of spelling. His reforms were rejected. But
his ideas influenced others. One was Noah Webster.
Webster wrote language books for schools. He thought Americans should
learn from American books. He published his first spelling book in
seventeen eighty-three. Webster published The American Dictionary of the
English Language in eighteen twenty-eight. It established rules for
speaking and spelling the words used in American English.
Webster believed that British English spelling rules were too complex.
So he worked to establish an American version of the English language. For
example, he spelled the word "center: c-e-n-t-e-r" instead of the British
spelling "c-e-n-t-r-e". He spelled the word "honor " h-o-n-o-r instead of
"h-o-n-o-u-r" as it is spelled in Britain.
Noah Webster said every part of a word should be spoken. That is why
Americans say "sec-re-ta-ry" instead of "sec-re-t'ry" as the British do.
Webster's rule for saying every part of a word made American English
easier for immigrants to learn. For example, they learned to say
"waist-coat" the way it is spelled instead of the British "wes-kit".
The different languages of the immigrants who came to the United States
also helped make American English different from British English. Many
foreign words and expressions became part of English as Americans speak
Sometimes Americans and British people do not understand each other
because of different word meanings. For example, a "jumper" in Britain is
a sweater. In the United States, it is a kind of a dress. The British word
"brolly" is an "umbrella" in America. A "wastebasket" in America is a
"dustbin" in Britain. French fried potatoes in the United States are
called "chips" in Britain.
All these differences led British writer George Bernard Shaw to joke
that Britain and America are two countries separated by the same language.
Oscar Nominated Songs
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present its
Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, Sunday night. Bob Doughty tells
us about the nominees for the best song written for a movie.
BOB DOUGHTY: Three songs were nominated for the best original song.
This one is from the movie "Crash." Michael Becker and Kathleen Bird York
wrote "In the Deep". York sings it.
The second Oscar-nominated song is from the movie "Hustle and Flow".
Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard wrote the song "It's
Hard Out Here for a Pimp".
Country singer Dolly Parton wrote and performs the final original song
nominated for an Academy Award. It is from the movie "Transamerica". We
leave you now with that song, "Travelin Thru".
HOST: I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. This show
was written by Brianna Blake and Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver was the
producer and our audio engineer was Derrow Smith.
Send your questions about American life to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please
include your full name and mailing address. Or write to American Mosaic,
VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in