美国之音(以下称VOA)的英语节目,按播音速度可分为两种:Standard English (标准英语)和 Special English(特别英语)。

Special English 又叫“慢速英语”,是VOA 专为全世界非英语国家初学英语的听众安排的一种简易、规范的英语广播节目。该节目创始于50年代末期,是VOA 的专家们研究如何与世界各地的英语学习者进行交际的产物。它正式开播于1959年10月。当时只面向欧洲和中东,但由于这个节目适合许多国家英语学习者的需要,所以它的广播对象不久就扩大到世界其他地区,并很快在全世界范围内产生了广泛的影响。现在这个节目对欧洲、非洲和拉丁美洲每晚广播一次,对加勒比地区每晚广播一次(星期天除外),对东南亚广播次数最多,每天上午两次,晚上三次。

30多年来,VOA 为了办好Special English节目,进行了大量的调查研究工作,对播音速度、内容及用词范围都作了具体规定,基本上达到了既能为英语学习者提供信息,又不损害英语本身风格的目的,使之成为VOA 独具特色,拥有最大量听众的节目。

美国著名词汇学家S. B. Flexmer 指明了Special English的三条标准,也就是它所“特别”的地方:

1、它是一种由美国人最常用的1500个基本单词为主体构成的美国英语;

2、它用简短、明晰的句子写作和广播;

3、它以每分钟90个单词的速度,即2/3的Standard English(标准英语)速度进行广播。

Special English的节目可分为两大类:一类是新闻节目;一类是专题节目。

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In today’s Ask a Teacher, Adriana from Uruguay wonders about the difference between the verbs raise and rise.
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Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang died after a long illness, reports said.
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Activists and lawmakers say there still is time for Congress to change the president’s mind.
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The increase in U.S. oil production has been aided by new technology, including fracking.
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The Indian government has approved a measure to help enforce a top court decision on a Muslim custom. A year ago, the high court ruled against the custom of triple “talaq.” The court found that it was unlawful for Muslim men to end a marriage by simply sa
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John Cronin did not let Down Syndrome stop his dream of going into business with his father. They just did it. And now Johns Crazy Socks is a crazy success.
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SpaceX has announced that its first private passenger to the moon will be a Japanese businessman. Yusaku Maezawa is the creator and chief executive of the online clothing store Zozo.
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This is What’s Trending Today… Stars gathered in Los Angeles Monday night for the Emmys, the biggest awards ceremony in American televis...
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The leaders of South Korea and North Korea have completed their first day of talks in Pyongyang, North Korea. The visit is the third meeting between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un this year.
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A powerful typhoon has killed more than 60 people and caused widespread damage after hitting the Philippines and China.
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German automaker Volkswagen says it will stop producing its famous Beetle model next year.
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An American woman and her daughter are volunteering their time and money to help girls in Bangladesh get an education and avoid getting married at a young age.
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The leaders of North and South Korea will meet in Pyongyang on Tuesday. This will be the third meeting between the leaders. Experts think their talks could continue trust-building efforts to help ease military tensions or support nuclear negotiations.
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With an election nearing, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has continued to support changing the constitution to allow armed forces.
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Afghanistan has its own version of Charlie Chaplin, who aims to give people in the war-torn nation a reason to laugh.
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Volunteer hikers have begun a trip to explore the area that will become the future Rio Grande Trail in New Mexico
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Even many native English speakers dont know the real meaning of the idiom Curiosity killed the cat. Read on to find out.
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A local rule in Santa Fe Province, Argentina, bars mixed-sex children’s teams.The ban may force 7-year old Candelaria Cabrera to stop playing soccer.
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How do we know which foods are countable and which are not? We answer that question in today's Ask a Teacher.
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The deal requires Manafort to cooperate "fully and truthfully" with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. In return, Manafort will not face a second trial in which he could receive more severe punishment.
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Umpire Carlos Ramos has made his first public statement since his disputed calls at the U.S. Open final Saturday. American Serena Williams and Japan’s Naomi Osaka were competing in the championship. The rule prevented Ramos from speaking about the match o
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Vietnam is holding a meeting of the Word Economic Forum. Experts say Vietnam wants to show international investors that it is a good place to put factories and to ship exports from.
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Pope Francis will meet with U.S. Catholic Church leaders Thursday to discuss the growing number of sexual abuse cases involving Catholic clergy.
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Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called on supporters to vote for the man named to replace him on the Workers’ Party ticket in October’s election.
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The Sweden Democrats, a party with ties to white extremists, finished in third place. It won 17.6 percent of the votes. That was up from 13 percent in the 2014 elections.
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U.S. weather officials are predicting a powerful storm in the Atlantic Ocean will hit America’s southeastern coastline later this week.
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Osaka won the U.S. title and many supporters in Japan, despite a tense match with Serena William.
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The administration of President Donald Trump has said it will close the offices of the PLO in Washington because the group is not taking peace talks with Israel. The administration also has cut aid to Palestinians.
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Former US President Jimmy Carter did not set up the aid group Habitat for Humanity. But he has helped build many homes across the United States and in other countries for people who could not otherwise own them.
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Naomi Osaka of Japan said, I always dreamed that I would play Serena in the final of a Grand Slam.
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A new Russian television show presents President Vladimir Putin as a tireless leader who loves nature, children, and keeping fit.
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Khan said he hoped he could reset relations with the United States. He spoke just a few days after the U.S. government suspended aid to Pakistan over its reported failure to fight militants.
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At least 11 people died when Typhoon Jebi struck Japan’s Shikoku Island. The storm caused the closure of Kansai International Airport, an important center for visitors and the computer trade.
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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $92 million in assistance in a new effort to help minority and low-income students succeed. The assistance will come in the form of grants to 19 school programs across 13 American states.
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A court found the reporters guilty on Monday of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act. They were sentenced to seven years in prison.
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The U.S. Supreme Court has nine justices who serve for life. If Brett Kavanaugh becomes the court’s newest member, the 54-year-old could influence U.S. laws for a long time to come.
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The Washington Post newspaper published sections of reporter Robert Woodward’s book on Tuesday. It is called Fear: Trump in the White House. It examines Trump’s first 18 months in office.
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As the internet becomes increasingly based on stories written with Latin script, the Serbian government has started to take action to protect Cyrillic.
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A growing water crisis is affecting parts of Chile. One reason is mining operations. After years of approving water extraction rights, the government is now trying to protect the country’s water supplies.
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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report. Many people take aspirin to help ease pain in the head or muscles. But there is another use for this pain-relieving medicine. Aspirin
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Gun deaths worldwide have reached 250,000 a year, a new study finds. Researchers call this “a major public health problem for humanity.”
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