May 29, 2015 06:10 UTC

Entertainment

Columbia Records Turns 125 With a New Book About Its Past

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Adele performs in February during the Brit Awards 2011 in LondonAdele performs in February during the Brit Awards 2011 in London
x
Adele performs in February during the Brit Awards 2011 in London
Adele performs in February during the Brit Awards 2011 in London

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • Columbia Records Turns 125; 'Confessions'; Student Debaters

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
 
I’m June Simms.
 
On our show this week, we play some music from Columbia Records, which is celebrating its one-hundred twenty-fifth anniversary…
 
We also read some of your posts to our blog “Confessions of an English Learner.”…
 
But first, we report on the world of high school debate…
 
High School Debaters
 
Only a few days remain in the American election campaign. The recent presidential and vice-presidential debates were of special interest to high school debate teams.
 
Many debate teams compete locally and nationally for awards. The experience helps team members strengthen their skills in argumentation. It also makes them critics -- not only of the candidates, but of all the political talk they are hearing. Christopher Cruise has our story.
 
The high school debate team in the Texas community of Oakridge has won many awards.
 
Recently, some of its members argued for an extension of the federal ban on assault weapons. At the same time, other team members prepared to call for cancellation of the ban.
 
“This is a long-term ban, if you see before the ban…”
 
“So long will this ban have to go on? How long will we have to restrict people’s rights?”
 
Debaters make their presentation with evidence and reason, while questioning the arguments of their opponents.
 
“The biggest fallacy we can possibly talk about is the ‘slippery slope’ fallacy…”
 
Personal opinion has no place in debating. In competition, debaters must be able to argue either side of the question. This helps them understand both sides of any issue.
 
“So you’re saying that if we continue with what’s going on now, it’s going to cost more money?”
 
“Yes.”
 
“That, that’s good, but you have to give evidence.” (:10)
 
Deanne Christensen is the Oakridge High School Debate coach. She is in her eleventh year of helping young people learn how to argue effectively.
 
“And it’s great when they disagree with each other. It’s awesome to see them trying to defend their position.”
 
High school debaters can be very critical of candidate debates and political discussions among adults, in general. Debater Jonathon McClanahan thinks political partisanship can weaken civility.
 
“I don’t think we should have to hate the president to disagree with him – that’s why I honestly believe that with partisanship we need to be more respectful to each other. We need to have bi-partisan bills passed. We need to work together more.”
 
And debater Bryce Brady thinks high school debaters have a higher level of civility than many politicians.
 
“I definitely think politicians today could get a real lesson from a high school debate team.”
 
Deanne Christensen believes some of these award-winning debaters will be the leaders of tomorrow.
 
“They’re very smart and they want to see this country be successful because they are that future of our country.”
 
Your “Confessions”
 
We take a look now at some of the comments you shared with us on our blog, “Confessions of an English Learner.” Many of you provided advice about how you learned English. We welcome the helpful information. Thanks to everyone who has joined the discussion on the blog.
 
One web visitor described his difficulty with two English language words that sound similar but are very different in meaning. Moises wrote from his home in El Salvador. He described a mistake he made on his first visit to the United States.
Chicken soup for eating...Chicken soup for eating...
x
Chicken soup for eating...
Chicken soup for eating...

At the time, Moises was working on a cruise ship. It was his second day. He was organizing some of his belongings when a co-worker came into the room they were sharing. The co-worker asked, “Hey, my friend, do you want soap?” Moises wrote that he was surprised by the question and excited to use his English. He answered, “No thanks. I am not hungry.”
 
Well, everyone in the room started laughing and Moises did not understand the joke. He said his new friends then explained that “soap” is something you use to wash yourself. “Soup” is what you eat.
And soap for washing.And soap for washing.
x
And soap for washing.
And soap for washing.

Moises said this incident happened ten years ago. He added, “Do you imagine that I am an English teacher now?”
 
We also want to tell of a blog posting from Vietnam. Xuan Thanh wrote that she joined an English class two years ago to improve her skills in the language. Her teacher asked each student to write about something sad they had experienced. Xuan Thanh said that one of her classmates asked her how to write the name of a disease in English. She answered, “cancel.”
 
Later Xuan Thanh looked the word up and realized she had made a mistake. “Cancel” means to end or to stop something that is planned. The disease her classmate wanted to write about was “cancer.”
 
Thank you all again for the interesting posts. Please continue to share your English Learning experiences on our “Confessions” blog.
 
Columbia Records at 125
 
Columbia Records is turning one hundred twenty-five years old. Columbia is the oldest record label in the world. It became part of Sony Corporation in nineteen eighty-seven. 
 
On Tuesday, Columbia Records released a book about its history. Faith Lapidus has more about it and plays some of the music Columbia made famous.
 
The book is called “360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story.” It was written by historian Sean Wilentz. Most of his books have been political histories. He also has written about music and culture in magazines and newspapers for many years.
 
Critics praised one of his books, “Bob Dylan in America,” which was published in twenty ten. Bob Dylan is also a major part of the new book “360 Sound.” He recorded his first album, “Bob Dylan,” with Columbia in nineteen sixty-two. His thirty-fifth album, “Tempest,” was released in September of this year.
 
“Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” was a hit from his nineteen sixty-three record “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.”
 
In nineteen forty-nine, Columbia Records released one of the first albums based on a musical play. “South Pacific” was a big hit on New York’s Broadway. Richard Rodgers wrote the music. Oscar Hammerstein wrote the words.
 
One of Columbia’s earliest stars was Bessie Smith.
 
Billy Joel was a successful artist for Columbia later. In nineteen seventy-seven, the record label released one of his biggest albums, “The Stranger.” Four of the songs were hit singles, including this one “Only the Good Die Young.”
 
Right now Adele is one of the major artists with Colombia Records. We leave you with her current hit, the theme from the new James Bond movie “Skyfall.”
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Didi from: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
11/22/2012 9:28 AM
Thank you for helping me to improve my English !


by: Pimtip from: Hatyai,Songkla,Thailand
11/08/2012 10:38 AM
Right now I'm practicing English. My friends in Thailand have introduced this site to me.

Thank you VOA.
PIMTIP


by: NGUYEN QUANG VIET from: Viet Nam
11/03/2012 10:24 PM
That's a grate article, each section in it is very interesting. Especially i like the experience in learning English, it's very helpful for me and for every body who want to learn English so well also. I have been trying my best in order to improve my English communication Skills. So highly appreciated if you show me some methods to practice and make my dream become true!!! Thanks so much!


by: Boonthip from: Hatyai ,Songkhla ,Thailan
11/03/2012 5:16 AM
Always VOA Special English is good and great for leaning English .
Good for all .
Thank you VOA .
God bless VOA.
Boonthip

Learn with The News

  • FIFA President Sepp Blatter delivers his speech during the opening ceremony of the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 28, 2015.

    Audio FIFA President: Charges Bring Shame to Sport

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter said corruption scandals within the world soccer organization have brought "shame and humiliation" on the sport. Also in the news, Iranian foreign minister expresses hope for nuclear deal; President Barack Obama hosts a Twitter chat on climate change. More

  • Audio Extreme Heat in India Kills Over 1100

    Indian officials say most of the heat-related deaths were reported in the southeastern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The unusually hot weather is reaching temperatures above 46 degrees Celsius. People most at risk are those who work outside. Help may come with monsoon rains. More

  • Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrives for a meeting of eurozone creditors earlier in May.

    Audio Greece Says No Payment to Lenders Without Deal

    Greece has said it cannot make its debt payment to the International Monetary Fund for June. The country’s Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis spoke on Greek television Sunday. He said the country needs to reach a deal with its creditors or it will not be able to make payments. More

  • A picture taken on March 14, 2014 shows Syrian citizens walking in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra, 215 kilometres northeast of Damascus.

    Audio Islamic State Executes 20 in Palmyra Roman Theater

    A Human Rights group says that the Islamic State militants have executed 20 people in the ancient Roman theater in Palmyra, a UNESCO World heritage site. Also in the news, Heat wave kills 1,100 in India; Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum announces his campaign for president. More

  • U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces an indictment against nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives for racketeering, conspiracy and corruption at a news conference, in Brooklyn, New York, May 27, 2015.

    Audio US, Swiss Officials Take Action against FIFA in Corruption Cases

    United States officials have brought charges against current and former leaders of FIFA, the group that governs the sport of football around the world. A U.S. federal indictment accuses them of corruption and other wrongdoing. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Brain Remembers Language Better If You Sing It

    If you have a long list of vocabulary words to learn, you might want to write them into a familiar song. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied the relationship between music and remembering a foreign language. After the tests were over, the singers came out on top. And it's more fun! More

  • Video New Tool Maps Buildings' Energy Efficiency

    Architects, engineers and building supervisors will soon be able to quickly collect information that once took weeks to measure and process. Scientists have developed a device to gather information about building interiors – the design and exact measurements of a building. More

  • Audio Guide to 2016 Campaign: Money and Super PAC

    Raising money is an important part of any election in America. Candidates for the 2016 race for the White House and Congress are busy lining up dollars to fund their elections. VOA Learning English helps explain how the campaign finance systems work in the U.S. More

  • Audio Hold Your Horses!

    Horses are part of the history and romance of the Old American West. These days, they are popular for sport and entertainment. So, it is easy to understand why we Americans use so many horse expressions. Learn some of the most common and try to answer our horse riddle! More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar - Introducing Conditionals

    In everyday conversation, English speakers often talk about things that are not true. Or, they talk about things that only happen if something else happens. Learn how to correctly use these conditional forms in English. If you write to us, we will let you know if it is correct. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs