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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A young, migrant girl died last week after being detained by immigration officials. The incident brings attention to the large numbers of migrants seeking to cross the US-Mexico border and the conditions they face af
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In this weeks Ask a Teacher, Banin asks how he can improve his vocabulary.
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Elephants are known for their intelligence, strong social ties and even the ability to mourn. And some argue that the 39-year-old Lammie should be sent to another place where she can be with other elephants. But the zoo wants her to stay and will search f
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The World Cup, the movie Black Panther, Meghan Markle and the deaths of several famous people are among the most popular Google searches of 2018.
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Virgin Galactic says its spacecraft designed to launch tourists climbed more than 82 kilometers during a test flight in California. The company said by reaching this height, the spacecraft had reached the boundary of space for the first time.
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Iran government-backed hackers reportedly tried to break into the personal emails of American officials and international nuclear experts.
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Northeastern Brazil has over 200 million mounds of dirt, and they cover about 230,000 square kilometers -- an area about the size of Britain.
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Seoul has a problem with waste from man-made products, such as plastic and vinyl. Now, the city is turning to upcycling to fix the problem.
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In a caricature, the artist creates a drawing of a face, with different parts of it greatly enlarged, or exaggerated, in other ways. The pictures or images are usually made to make the person look funny.
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The songs popularity has risen thanks to the new Bohemian Rhapsody movie. In the five weeks since its release, the film has already earned more than $600 million in ticket sales worldwide. It has also helped bring the music of the British rock band to a n
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The United States is adding Pakistan to its list of nations that have taken part in or permitted systemic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.
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Artificial intelligence (AI) technology may soon be a useful tool for doctors. It may help them better understand and treat diseases like breast cancer in ways that were never before possible.
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Farmer Jamie Butler is testing a new worker on his farm in England’s Hampshire countryside.
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The church where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born has undergone major repairs.
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A fitness trend is spreading across the United States and the world. Its called plogging -- a combination of jogging and picking up.
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The month of December usually marks the beginning of tourism season in Sri Lanka. Visitors come to the Indian Ocean island nation to enjoy...
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A maker of craft beer in Wisconsin is concerned that import taxes on aluminum could bring extra costs to his business. The Treasury Department says that tariffs have brought in more money than last year. But some trade groups oppose taxes as bad for buye
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A new 2,400 square-meter museum is set to open on New York State’s Liberty Island next year.
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The U.S. Senate has been called the world’s greatest deliberative body.
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The US Army is looking to the next generation of robotics to build the strongest possible soldiers.
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A new group of African migrants are going to the Spanish Canary Islands in search of jobs and comfort they cannot find at home.
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Many companies involved in cobalt mining have been accused of environmental, health and safety and human rights violations. German carmaker BMW is exploring ways to improve working conditions at cobalt mines in Congo.
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The threat of rising sea levels and erosion have many people worried about the future of lighthouses in the United States and around the world.
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We commonly say break a leg when we want to say good luck? But why? Why not just say good luck? Read this story to find out!
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Scientists are now learning how the rough, sandpaper-like surface of cats’ tongues helps the animals get clean and stay cool.
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Today we will answer a question about two misunderstood modal verbs: must and have to. The question comes from our reader Manuel.
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United States President Donald Trump announced Friday that he will nominate former attorney general William Barr to lead the Justice Department. Trump told reporters that Barr was my first choice since day one.
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A company known for advising businesses on color design choices has announced its color of the year for 2019. The winning color, called Living Color, is based on the color of healthy coral reels.
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The Recording Academy announced Grammy nominations Friday. Women artists hit it big this year after being largely ignored last year.
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Presidents and world leaders attended the funeral of the 41st President, George H.W. Bush. Friends and family celebrated the life of the long-time public official’s life with praise and laughter.
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The American city of Anchorage, Alaska is recovering from a powerful earthquake Friday that damaged public buildings, homes and roads. The 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused buildings to sway. But there have been no reports of deaths, serious injuries or wid
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An immigrant from Syria, Mohamed Hafez make little works of art inside suitcases to bring attention to immigrants.
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The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has become the first in the nation to let passengers to use facial recognition to get on an airplane. The system launched last week.
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France’s Prime Minister announced a six-month delay in a fuel tax increase the government said was meant to fight climate change. President Emanuel Macron announced the tax last month but damaging protests have taken place since then.
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Ebola Virus Disease is striking down more women than men in the Democratic Republic of Congo
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An American spacecraft this week successfully reached its target, the asteroid Bennu. The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx is now operating around the asteroid, about 122 million kilometers from Earth.
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The majority of women killed in 2017 were killed by a boyfriend, husband or family member. That is the finding of a study from the United Nations.
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Three and a half weeks a deadly wildfire hit Northern California, students are finally returning to class. The fire was the deadliest to hit the United States in a century.
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Mexico’s new president has taken first steps in leading the country as a common man. He says his rule marks the end of years of secrecy, high security and luxury living enjoyed by past presidents.
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Before he became president in 1989, Bush had a lot of experience in government. He spent four years in the United States House of Representatives, worked as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and led the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA. Then,
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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is planning to step down in the coming years. The ruling PAP party has named a possible successor. But election results in Malaysia have the government worried about the political influence of the media.
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This idiom has nothing to do with the beauty of birdsong. Read on to learn how to use sing like a canary.
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Dominique Crenn has become the first woman in the United State to receive this amazing French honor.
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This week, the United Nations cultural agency added reggae music to its list of cultural treasures.
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Ukraine is seeking support from NATO after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships and their crews in the Black Sea. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged NATO to deploy naval ships to the area to assist Ukraine.
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