Seeing an Eclipse Is Good! Being Eclipsed Is Not

2017-08-20

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[00:07.00]
  • Hello and welcome to Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.
  • [00:12.47]
  • On this program we explore the origin and usage of common expressions in American English.
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  • We always give examples or dialogues using the expressions.
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  • Sometimes we even use the words in a short story.
  • [00:30.50]
  • All of these can, hopefully, teach you how to best use the expressions.
  • [00:36.70]
  • For today's word we turn our eyes toward the sky!
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  • There is one natural event that many people want to experience during their lifetime -- an eclipse!
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  • Whether solar or lunar, partial or total, these astronomical events bring the movement of our solar system a little more to life.
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  • Solar, as we know, means “relating to the sun."
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  • So a solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and Earth.
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  • A dark circle either completely or partly covers the sun as a result.
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  • Lunar means “related to the moon."
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  • So, a lunar eclipse is when the moon looks as if it is completely or partially covered with a dark circle.
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  • Some ancient cultures considered an eclipse a sign that the world was ending.
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  • Other cultures viewed it as a battle between different animals in the sky as they try to eat up the moon or sun.
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  • Another cultural belief was that an eclipse was a time for deep thought and thinking about the past.
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  • The word eclipse comes from a Greek word meaning "to leave," "to abandon," "to forsake a usual place" or fail to appear."
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  • Ancient Greeks thought of an eclipse as a time when the sun abandoned the earth.
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  • In simple terms, an eclipse happens when a planet or satellite blocks the light of the sun.
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  • So, it is not surprising that we also use "eclipse" in the same way when talking about other things besides the sun, the moon and the earth.
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  • In conversation, when one thing eclipses another it makes it less important or popular.
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  • For example, television eclipsed radio in the 1950s as the most popular form of home entertainment.
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  • When one person eclipses another, they do something better.
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  • For example, a younger child might hate it when her older sister's school and sports success eclipses her own.
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  • The older sister outshines the younger one.
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  • This usage of eclipse is not only used when talking about people.
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  • Things can also eclipse other things, as in this sentence:
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  • The popularity of the company’s new product quickly eclipsed all its earlier products.
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  • Many synonyms of eclipse deal with light and casting shadows, like in the example of the older sister outshining the younger.
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  • If a person or a thing outshines another, the light they give off is so bright that no one notices anything else.
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  • You could also say the older daughter cast a shadow on her younger sister.
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  • Or you could say the younger sister was living in the shadow of her older sister.
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  • Now, let's hear how we use eclipse this way in everyday conversation.
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  • Let's listen as two people talk as they wait in line to audition for a Broadway musical.
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  • Are you ready for your singing audition today?
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  • As ready as I’ll ever be.
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  • The song I’m singing is my favorite and I know it really well.
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  • I'm sure you'll do great.
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  • By the way, I'm Corrine. Corrine Mayfield.
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  • I'm Steve Stravinski.
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  • Stravinski? Wait.
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  • Are you any relation to Doug Stravinski?!
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  • Yeah. He's my older brother.
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  • Get out! His performance in Les Miserables was amazing.
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  • Critics are still talking about it! Wow! Doug Stravinski.
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  • What is he working on these days?
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  • An album. His fourth album.
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  • That is just awesome!
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  • It will probably be another number one seller!
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  • So, what's it like being his brother?
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  • Great. Just great.
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  • It must be tough living in the shadow of Doug Stravinski!
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  • I don't think about it ... you know, until someone brings it up.
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  • Oh, I'm so sorry. But it's just that ... well, he's so amazing and famous. He casts a really big shadow!
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  • Yes. Look, do you mind if we don't talk?
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  • I really need to prepare for my audition.
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  • Of course. Of course.
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  • It's so typical, isn't it -- an older brother or sister eclipsing a younger one.
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  • They get to try everything first and do it longer.
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  • So, they're usually better -- usually the shining star in the family!
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  • Hm-hmm.
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  • Listen to me!
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  • I'm doing it again, aren't I?
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  • I am sure at this audition you are going to outshine everything your brother Doug has done on stage.
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  • Yep. Thanks.
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  • Next person!
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  • Hello I'm next.
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  • Name?
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  • Steve Stravinski.
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  • Stravinski? Wait, are you related to Doug Stravinski?!
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  • THE Doug Stravinski?!
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  • Oh man, he's amazing! I saw him in this show ...
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  • And that's the end of this Words and Their Stories!
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  • Do you use the word "eclipse" like this in your language?
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  • Let us know in the Comments Section.
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  • I'm Anna Matteo.
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