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Folk Tales 8.


Folklore story from Poland Translated in English by Szkoła Podstawowa nr 4 im. Orła Białego, Czechowice-Dziedzice , Poland

Once upon a time there was a beautiful country where Slavs lived. They were sincere and candid people. They were famous for their hospitality, bravery, great strength and diligence. Among Slavs there was a special tribe. It was ruled by an old grey-haired man who had three sons, Lech, Czech and Rus. They had a lot of virtues like their father and they were famous for their intelligence.One day the old father called for his three sons and said them: “My dearest sons!” “We are listening to you, father!” replied the sons.“I’m old and soon I’ll die. It’s time to nominate my heir, and it should be one of you …” “We are on your orders, father!” said Lech.“What should we do?” asked Czech.“So it will be this way, bring here your bows and arrows. Draw your bows and aim them in three different directions!” ordered the father.“Done!” replied the sons.“Now saddle your horses and go as fast as you can where your arrows flew. And when you will find them, look around and hunt for a big animal. And the one of you who will come back with the greatest hunting trophy will be my heir. Go!”  The young men rushed in three different directions. Czech found his arrow as the first one. He looked around and suddenly … He saw a huge auroch. They fought hard and Czech strained every nerve to break its neck. He won!   Lech found his arrow high on a great royal fir tree. He climbed it fast. Suddenly, he saw a herd of Polish bison running toward him. Lech jumped down and the herd stopped. A huge bison came forward and they fought hard. The animal fell down at Lech’s feet. He won! Rus’s arrow lay in front of a big bear’s den. Rus had no choice – a bear barred his way to the arrow. They looked deeply into each others eyes and then the bear stood on its legs. It seemed that it would tear Rus to shreds but he didn’t give up. He won and went home.   “I have to admit that you trophies are impressive.” said the father. “It is hard to name the winner. So you will share the power.” “But father, you said that only one of us could rule our tribe.” said Rus. “Yes, I said so and I still believe it, but it will be wise and fair if all of you are my heirs. Your arrows flew in different directions and you will go these ways too. It is there you will create your countries which you will rule according to your will.” replied the father. “And what about you, father?” asked Czech. “And what about our home?” asked Lech. “I will stay here alone. Forever.” said the father. “Father …” said the sons. “No, my dearest sons, it is not the right time for sorrow and tears. I’m asking you for one more thing. Be kind to each other, respect each other and support each other. Now go and remember what I taught you. Be well Czech, my dear son and go your way!” said the father. “Be well my father. I will always think about you.” replied Czech. “Goodbye Rus and be happy!” said the father. “Goodbye father!” replied Rus. “And you, Lech – live and rule wisely and in peace!” “Be well father! Goodbye forever!” said Lech.Three brothers: Lech, Czech and Rus looked deeply in each others eyes and they shook their strong hands for a long time in silence. As their old father ordered, they went their ways with their people and property. Czech’s people went south. After a long journey they stopped in wide land. There were huge fields and high mountains. Rus went in different direction, he went west. He went with his people through forests, swamps and endless steppes. One day he said to his people: “Here is our land. This land is cold and icy, but it’s our dearest land!”   Lech was a bit different from his brothers. You could recognize his thick fair hair and linen clothes. His people weren’t similar to his brothers’ people either. Lech’s arrow flew where the sun sets. His people went there looking for their own land. But it wasn’t that easy for Lech to find his place. He walked for long months; he lost his way and found many obstacles. He and his people were very tired and dissatisfied too. So Lech stood in front of them and said: “We will bear it!” During a council of elders, Lech put his head in his hands and thought. He dreamt that a strange power lifted him up and he flew in unknown direction for a long time until he saw broad fertile valleys and blue rivers full of fishes. Yes, it was their dream land! “Wake up! Wake up!” shouted the night guards. Soon they woke up the whole camp. Prince Lech wiped his eyes and reminded himself about his dream. This huge bird, these huge wings … Suddenly, he saw a large eagle which gave him a sign to follow it. Yes! It was the bird from his dream! The white eagle, the royal eagle gave him a sign! “Come here my friends! Come here Bolko, Przemko and you, Ziemko!” said Lech. “We are with you and your people are ready!” said Lech’s friends. “Let’s go right now! We’ll follow the eagle!” shouted Lech. Lech’s people went through thick forest. The white eagle flew over them all the time, and it led them in one direction. Suddenly, they found themselves by a beautiful lake. The water was crystal clear. They set up a camp. Lech sat down under an old oak, which grew by the lake and he looked for the eagle. Suddenly, Bolko shouted: “Look over there! The eagle is in the oak!” “He’s got the nest there!” said Przemko. “I can see royal eaglets in the nest.” said Ziemko. “Thank you eagle! You led my people to this place. I will build my nest here, as you did. Near the lake we will build a town, which we will call Gniezno. And your image will be on our standards.” said Lech proudly. “Vivat Lech! Vivat the white eagle, our symbol forever!” shouted the people. “Vivat Poles!” Lech’s people settled down and build a town called Gniezno. The town was the first capital city of Poland, and the white eagle is still our national symbol.


Happy New Year!


English texts for medical students 6.

New Blood Test Can Show Patient’s Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke

This is SCIENCE IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. I’m Bob Doughty.

And, I’m Faith Lapidus. This week, we tell about a new test for patients with heart disease. We also tell about progress in fighting an infectious disease. And we tell about the environmental friendliness of North American colleges and universities.

American researchers say they have developed a simple test that can tell if a person with heart disease is likely to suffer a heart attack. The researchers say the test measures levels of a protein in the blood. They say people with high levels of the protein are at high risk of heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California in San Francisco led the team of researchers. They studied almost one thousand patients with heart disease for almost four years. During that time, more than two hundred fifty of the patients suffered a heart attack, heart failure or stroke. Some of them died.

The researchers tested the heart disease patients for a protein called NT-proBNP. Patients with the highest levels were nearly eight times more likely than those with the lowest levels to have a heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

The researchers considered other ways to identify someone with an increased risk of heart disease. They found that patients with high levels of the protein were still more likely to have a health problem involving the heart.

The researchers say the presence of high levels of the protein in the blood shows that the heart muscle is under pressure in some way. The study involved mostly men, so the researchers could not say for sure that the results are true for women.

They also say the patients with the highest levels of NT-proBNP were older and had other problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Such patients were more likely to be already taking medicine for their heart.

Other researchers say more studies are needed to confirm if knowing the protein levels of a heart patient should affect that person’s treatment. They also would like to know if more aggressive treatment would be able to reduce the patient’s chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Measles is one of the most infectious viruses known. It spreads through the air when people infected with the disease expel the virus through the nose or mouth. Children in wealthier countries are usually given a vaccine to protect against measles.

A campaign called the Measles Initiative was launched in two thousand one to vaccinate children in developing countries. The aim was a fifty percent reduction in deaths linked to measles by two thousand five.

Last month, organizers of the Measles Initiative announced that the final numbers showed a sixty percent drop in deaths. There were eight hundred seventy-three thousand deaths in nineteen ninety-nine, the year used for comparison. Six years later that number had dropped to three hundred forty-five thousand.

The organizers say more than two million lives have been saved, mostly in Africa. Health officials report a seventy-five percent drop in deaths in Africa linked to measles.

Measles itself is usually not a direct cause of death. Deaths are commonly the result of infections like pneumonia or severe diarrhea. Those who survive can suffer brain damage, blindness or other disabilities.

The first sign of infection is usually a high body temperature for as long as a week. Patients may develop a runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes and white spots inside the mouth. After several days, areas of skin may change color, first usually on the face and upper neck.

A case of measles can be just a mild and unpleasant part of childhood. But severe cases are more likely in children with poor diets or weakened defenses from diseases like AIDS. Children under the age of five and adults over the age of twenty are more likely to suffer severe cases. People who recover from measles can never get it again.

The Measles Initiative includes the American Red Cross, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The campaign has cost almost four hundred million dollars. Officials say about five hundred million more will be needed to meet a new goal by two thousand ten. The goal now is to reduce measles deaths worldwide to less than ten percent of the rate in the year two thousand.

The campaign will now center its efforts in Asian countries, especially India. Each year, about one hundred thousand Indian children die as a result of measles.

This year is the tenth anniversary of the invention of the cell phone camera. Some people say the device began a kind of revolution in everyday life.

It all started at a hospital in the United States. Philippe Kahn was there with his wife. She was preparing to give birth to their daughter Sophie. Mr. Kahn wanted to take pictures of the baby and share them with family and friends around the world. He thought about placing electronic versions of the pictures on an Internet Web site.

Mr. Kahn said he spent two days working on the project. When Sophie was born, he had connected a camera to his cellular telephone. The unusual device could also put the pictures on the Internet.

At the time of his invention, Philippe Kahn was already a successful businessman. He started Borland International shortly after moving to the United States from France. Borland International became the third largest computer software company in the world. Mr. Kahn had also started other businesses. So he formed a company to produce and sell camera phones. The first ones were sold in Japan in nineteen ninety-nine.

Today, camera phones are almost everywhere. The newspaper USA Today says four hundred sixty million of the devices were sold last year alone. Sales are expected to increase to more than one billion by two thousand ten.

A new study has rated the environmental friendliness of top colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. A research group called the Sustainable Endowments Institute was responsible for the study. The group is part of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a non-profit organization that helps aid agencies.

Last month, the group released a report called the College Sustainability Report Card. It used the definition of the word sustainability provided by Business Week magazine. That definition is “meeting humanity’s needs without harming future generations.” The report attempts to measure the steps taken by higher education toward this goal.

The report rates one hundred public and private colleges and universities in North America on their environmental and investment policies. The colleges and universities included in the study are those with the largest amounts of money invested for future growth. The report says these one hundred schools hold more than two hundred fifty billion dollars in investments.

The study used information provided by ninety of the one hundred schools. Researchers looked for evidence of sustainable development in twenty-six different areas. They included improving energy use and officially working toward sustainability as a goal. Other areas were serving locally grown food and having buildings that cause little harm to the environment.

The researchers also studied the investment policies of the one hundred colleges and universities. They considered who helps decide what kinds of companies the schools invest in and how school officials control information about those investments.

The researchers compared the answers, and rated the colleges and universities across seven groups. Each school then received a final rating. Just four schools received the report’s top rating. The four are Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Stanford University and Williams College.

This SCIENCE IN THE NEWS program was written by Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver. Brianna Blake was our producer. I’m Bob Doughty. And I’m Faith Lapidus. Learn more about science, and download transcripts and MP3 files of our programs, at The Web site also has an Internet link to the full report by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. Listen again next week at this time for more news about science in SPECIAL ENGLISH on the Voice of America.

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English texts for medical students 1.

Parkinson’s Disease and Coffee

By Jerilyn Watson

Scientists say people who drink a lot of coffee may be less likely than others to develop the brain disorder called Parkinson’s disease. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently reported a possible connection between the disease and caffeine. Caffeine is in coffee, tea and many soft drinks.


The medical publication reported on a study of about eight-thousand Japanese-American men in the American state of Hawaii. The study lasted thirty years. G. Webster Ross of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Honolulu led the research.

The study found that the men who drank the most coffee were the least likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The report says men who drank about five cups of coffee a day were five times less likely to develop Parkinson’s than men who did not drink coffee. However, the researchers say that they do not know if these results would also be true among women and other ethnic groups.

Millions of people around the world suffer from Parkinson’s Disease. The disease involves the destruction of nerve cells in the brain that produce the chemical dopamine. Dopamine helps control muscle movements. Signs of the disease include uncontrolled shaking, difficulty moving muscles and loss of balance. Mental problems also can result. The effects get worse over time. Patients become unable to care for themselves.

The disease usually affects people over fifty-five years of age. But some are younger, like American television actor Michael J. Fox. Mr. Fox discovered he had the disease eight years ago, when he was thirty years old.

Doctor Ross says there are several possible reasons why caffeine seems to prevent Parkinson’s disease. He suggests that caffeine might somehow protect against the nerve-cell destruction that causes the disease. He says caffeine might increase dopamine levels. Or it might treat some of the early signs of the disease, making it difficult to recognize those signs. Or people who drink a lot of coffee may have a kind of brain chemistry that makes them less likely to develop the disease. But Doctor Ross says it is too early to suggest coffee as a prevention or treatment for Parkinson’s disease. He says more studies are needed. And he says too much coffee can be bad for health.

Games for kids in an English lesson 3.

I Spy
The teacher says “I spy with my little eye something beginning with G”. Students try to guess the object (E.g. garbage can). Use classroom objects and with younger students use colors rather than letters e.g. “I spy with my little eye something (red).”
I’ve Got It
Have students sit in a circle. Give each student a flashcard or item. Ask “What is it?” and elicit the vocabulary. Call out the vocabulary and have the students stand up and say the flash card. Repeat until all the students are standing, then continue until all the students are sitting. Go at a fast pace so the students are sitting and standing rapidly.
Make a jeopardy grid on the white board as follows:

Fruit Sports Animals Body
10 _______ _______ _______ _______
20 _______ _______ _______ _______
30 _______ _______ _______ _______
40 _______ _______ _______ _______
50 _______ _______ _______ _______

In teams, or individually, let the students randomly pick a category and the points to be attempted. The teacher will then ask a question and (a 40 point question should be more difficult than a 10 point question) if the students get the correct answer their team name is written in that box. When all the boxes are filled the team with the most points wins.

Map Game
Use a world map and elicit “Where are you from?”, “Where do you live?”, “Where do people speak Spanish?”, “Where’s China?”, and any other questions you can think of. Also show and tell the students about where you are from.

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Pass The Secret
Have the students sit in a circle. Show them that they have to whisper to the person next to them. Start the secret by whispering it to the student next to you, e.g. “It’s Windy.” Have the students pass the secret around the circle. The last student says the secret out loud. Compare how close it is to the original secret. If necessary, write the original secret on the board.
Have a student come up to the front and show him/her a flashcard. That student should draw it on the board. The first student to guess the picture gets a point. This can also be played in teams.

Use plastic fruits, vegetables or corresponding flashcards. Gather the students around you and let them ask for what they want using a dialog such as: “What do you you want?”, “An apple, please.”, “Here you are.”, “Thank you.”, “You’re welcome.” Then the teacher calls back the objects from the students, “Apple, please”. Then the students put the fruit back into the basket.

Simon Says
Play Simon Says as a review using “touch” body parts, classroom objects, etc., or with actions. E.g. “Simon says touch your toes” = Students touch their toes. “Touch your eyes” = Students don’t move. When a student makes a mistake, he/she must sit out until the next round.

Tongue Twisters
Use these tongue twisters with older students. They work well as an extension activity.
1) She sells seashells by the seashore.
2) Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
3) Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
4) How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

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