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11-2 美国人的时间观

时间:2006-10-19 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:toad   字体: [ ]

Time As Americans See It


What is time? Is it a thing to be saved or spent or wasted, like money? Or is it something we have no control over, like the weather? Is time the same all over the world? That's an easy question, you say. Wherever you go, a minute is 60 seconds, an hour is 60 minutes, a day is 24 hours, and so forth1. Well, maybe. But in America, time is more than that. Americans see time as a valuable resource. Maybe that's why they are fond of the expression, “Time is money.”


Because Americans believe time is a limited resource, they try to conserve21 and manage it. People in the U.S. often attend seminars3 or read books on time management. It seems they all want to organize their time better. Professionals carry around pocket planners some in electronic form to keep track of appointments and deadlines. People do all they can to squeeze4 more life out of their time. The early American hero Benjamin Franklin expressed this view best: “Do you love life? Then do not waste time, for that is the stuff5 life is made of.”


To Americans, punctuality2 is a way of showing respect for other people's time. Being more than 10 minutes late to an appointment usually calls for an apology, and maybe an explanation. People who are running late often call ahead to let others know of the delay. Of course, the less formal the situation, the less important it is to be exactly on time. At informal get-togethers, for example, people often arrive as much as 30 minutes past the appointed time. But they usually don't try that at work.


American lifestyles show how much people respect the time of others. When people plan an event, they often set the time days or weeks in advance. Once the time is fixed6, it takes almost an emergency to change it. If people want to come to your house for a friendly visit, they will usually call first to make sure it is convenient. Only very close friends will just “drop by” unannounced. Also, people hesitate to call others late at night for fear they might be in bed. The time may vary7, but most folks think twice about calling after 10:00 p.m..


To outsiders, Americans seem tied to the clock. People in other cultures value relationships more than schedules. In these societies, people don't try to control time, but to experience it. Many Eastern cultures, for example, view time as a cycle. The rhythm8 of nature from the passing of the seasons to the monthly9 cycle of the moon shapes their view of events. People learn to respond to their environment. As a result, they find it easier to “go with the flow” than Americans, who like plans to be fixed and unchangeable.


Even Americans would admit that no one can master time. Time, like money, slips all too easily through our fingers. And time, like the weather, is very hard to predict. Nevertheless, time is one of life's most precious gifts. And unwrapping3 it is half the fun.



1. conserve [kEn5sE:v] vt. 保护,保藏,保存

2. punctuality [7pQNktju5Aliti] n. 遵守时刻,准时,正点

3. unwrap [5Qn5rAp] vt. 移去……上的包裹物,打开,展开













1 forth Hzdz2     
  • The wind moved the trees gently back and forth.风吹得树轻轻地来回摇晃。
  • He gave forth a series of works in rapid succession.他很快连续发表了一系列的作品。
2 conserve vYRyP     
  • He writes on both sides of the sheet to conserve paper.他在纸张的两面都写字以节省用纸。
  • Conserve your energy,you'll need it!保存你的精力,你会用得着的!
3 seminars 8ea61e8493dc666d1325d90596c9b74f     
n.研讨班( seminar的名词复数 );研讨小组;研讨会;培训会
  • Teaching is by lectures and seminars. 教学形式为讲座和研讨课。
  • They are planning a series of workshops and business seminars. 他们正在筹划一系列研习班和商务研讨会。 来自辞典例句
4 squeeze pvYwX     
  • This machine helps you to squeeze more juice out.这台机器能挤出更多的果汁。
  • It was a tight squeeze in the crowded bus.公共汽车上载客太多,挤得很。
5 stuff Itsw1     
  • We could supply you with the stuff in the raw tomorrow.明天我们可以供应你原材料。
  • He is not the stuff.他不是这个材料。
6 fixed JsKzzj     
  • Have you two fixed on a date for the wedding yet?你们俩选定婚期了吗?
  • Once the aim is fixed,we should not change it arbitrarily.目标一旦确定,我们就不应该随意改变。
7 vary yifw6     
  • Cherries vary in colour from almost black to yellow.樱桃的颜色由近乎黑到黄各不相同。
  • Old people don't like to vary their habits.老年人不喜欢改变他们的习惯。
8 rhythm hCHzx     
  • He has an ear for the rhythm of Irish speech.他对爱尔兰语的节奏很敏感。
  • His poem has a pleasing rhythm.他的诗有和谐的韵律。
9 monthly 7EixE     
adj.每月的,持续一个月的,每月发生的;adv.每月,按月; n.月刊;(复数)monthlies:月经
  • The rent on his apartment was his biggest monthly expense.他的房租是每个月最大的开支。
  • The monthly rent is $15,inclusive of light and water.每月租金15美元,包括水电费在内。
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