Розмовні теми частина 1 - Т. М. Гужва 2003

The post-office. Telephone

Read, translate and render in brief.

Text 11-1

Invention of the Telephone

«Mr. Watson, come here, please; I want you». With these commonplace words a new era was ushered in. That sentence marked the achievement of a man who changed the face of the world in his lifetime. For the speaker was Alexander Graham Bell, and the sentence was the first to be spoken over the telephone.

Alexander Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh. His genius was inherited from his father, who was a famous teacher of elocution, and an expert on phonetics. Even as a boy his mind was inventive but in 1870 Bell’s health began to fail and there were fears of consumption. So with his father he left his native country and went to Canada. Two years later he was in Boston where he set up a school for training teachers of the deaf and he also gave instruction in the mechanics of speech. Here he started experimenting on a machine which he believed would make the deaf «hear». He had been doing this for some time when accidentally came across the clue for the correct principles of telephony.

By February 15, 1876, Bell had filed an application for a patent for his «improvement in telegraphy» at the United States Patent Office. Only two hours later Elisha Gray of Chicago filed an application for almost the same invention. Edison and many others were all working in the same field: all claimed the invention or part of the invention of the telephone. The great telephone war was on. There was hardly any time to spare.

Bell and his assistant, Watson, hid themselves in two rooms of a cheap Boston boarding house and worked day and night trying to transmit and receive sentences spoken by the human voice over the telephone. On the afternoon of March 10, 1876, Watson was in the basement with the receiver to his ear. Suddenly he started. Words — real distinguishable words — had come through at last. Sharply and clearly the sentence came through, «Mr. Watson, come here, please. I want you».

Watson rushed up the stairs like a schoolboy and burst into Bell's room, shouting, «I heard you; i could hear what you said!»

That year Bell exhibited his telephone at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

Bell soon withdrew from active work on the telephone and settled down in a country home at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and devoted himself to invention. He interested himself in dynamic flight, sheep breeding and universal language based on the phonetics of the English language. He perfected a hydroplane and claimed he had invented a breathing apparatus for explorers and travellers through the deserts. Although nothing has come of any of these inventions, work is still being carried out on the telephone.

Inventors have been making experiments on a telephone/television called Picturephone for some time. The equipment is a television screen, a television camera and the usual telephone. The camera will be able to look at the area of a room, or a close-up of a person, or focus on papers on a desk or wall. This picturephone should be useful for business situations but possibly embarrassing for social occasions sometimes.

Years after Bell’s invention, there is a story told of a woman whom he met at a social gathering. When she was introduced to the great inventor she expressed pleasure in meeting him and then said smilingly, «But often I wish you had never been born». Bell looked startled and hurt and then he smiled and said, «I sympathize. I never use that beast myself’.

The most extraordinary thing is that Bell hated the telephone, he hardly ever used it.

(from «Discoveries and Inventions» by Garton-Sprenger, Lugton, McLver)

achievement — достижение • досягнення Alexander Graham Bell — Александр Грехэм Белл (1847—1922), один из изобретателей телефона в США • Олександр Грехем Белл (1847—1922), один із винахідників телефону в США

to be аn expert in (on) smth. — быть специалистом в к.-л. области • бути спеціалістом у якійсь галузі

to fail — терпеть неудачу • зазнавати невдачі

fear — страх, боязнь • страх, острах

to set up smth. — основать ч.-л. • заснувати що-небудь

accidentally — случайно • випадково

to come across smth. — натолкнуться случайно, случайно обнаружить • наштовхнутися випадково, випадково виявити

invention — изобретение • винахід

Edison, Thomas Alva — Томас Алва Эдисон (1847—1931), известный американский изобретатель • Томас Алва Едісон (1847—1931), відомий американський винахідник

hardly — едва, едва ли, вряд ли, насилу, еле, с трудом • ледь, навряд чи

bide (hid; hidden) — прятать(ся), скрывать(ся) • ховати(ся), приховувати(ся)

to receive — получать, принимать • одержувати, приймати

receiver — телефонная трубка • слухавка, трубка

to rush — бросаться, кидаться, мчаться, нестись • кидатися, мчатися

to exhibit — выставлять, экспонировать • виставляти, експонувати

exhibition — выставка • виставка

to devote to — посвящать • присвячувати

to carry smth. out — проводить, осуществлять ч.-л. • проводити, здійснювати що-небудь

to hate — ненавидеть, испытывать отвращение • ненавидіти, відчувати огиду

Text 11-2

On Not Answering the Telephone

Why don’t 1 have a telephone? Not because I pretend to be wise or pose as unusual. There are two chief reasons: because I don’t really like the telephone, and because I find I can still work and play, eat, breathe, and sleep without it. Why don't I like the telephone? Because I think it is a pest and a time-waster. It may create unnecessary suspense and anxiety, as when you wait for an expected call that doesn’t come; or irritating delay, as when you keep ringing a number that is always engaged. As for speaking in a public telephone box, that seems to me really horrible. You would not use it unless you were in a hurry, and because you are in a hurry you will find other people waiting before you. When you do get into the box, you are half asphyxiated by stale, unventilated air, flavoured with cheap face- powder and chain-smoking; and by the time you have begun your conversation your back is chilled by the cold looks of somebody who is fidgeting to take your place.

If you have a telephone in your house, you will admit that it tends to ring when you least want it to ring — when you are asleep, or in the middle of a meal or a conversation, or when you are just going out, or when you are in your bath. Are you strong-minded enough to ignore it, to say to yourself, «Ah well, it will all be the same in a hundred years’ time?» You are not. You think there may be some important news or message for you. Have you never rushed dripping from the bath, or chewing from the table, or dazed from bed, only to be told that you are a wrong number? You were told the truth. In my opinion all telephone numbers are wrong numbers. If, of course, your telephone rings and you decide not to answer it, then you will have to listen to an idiotic bell ringing and ringing in what is supposed to be the privacy of your own home. You might as well buy a bicycle bell and ring it yourself...

(from "An Essay» by William Plomer)

to pretend — претендовать на, делать вид, притворяться • претендувати на, робити вигляд, удавати

suspense — беспокойство, неизвестность • занепокоєння, невідомість

anxiety — беспокойство, тревога • занепокоєння, тривога

horrible — ужасный, отвратительный • жахливий, огидний

to asphyxiate — вызывать удушье, душить • вимикати ядуху, душити

to fidget — беспокойно двигаться, ерзать, быть в волнении • неспокійно рухатися, бути в хвилюванні

privacy — уединение, уединенность; тайна, секретность • самота, самітність; таємниця, таємність

Sorry, Wrong Number

1) Mrs. Stevenson is a wealthy, nervous woman who constantly thinks that she is sick. She is married to Mr. Stevenson, but he is rarely at home and she gets lonely. In recent years, her telephone has become her best friend. One evening she picks up the telephone to make a call and accidentally overhears two men planning the murder of a woman. They have been hired by the woman’s husband to kill her at midnight just as the train is passing by so that no one will hear her scream.

2) When Mrs. Stevenson hears this conversation, she is very upset and decides that she must try to help the unfortunate woman who will be murdered. She first calls the police. They receive many joke calls each night and don’t believe that this one is real.

3) After the reaction of the police, Mrs. Stevenson is terribly nervous. She calls the hospital to ask them if they will send a nurse. The receptionist at the hospital is used to Mrs. Stevenson's calls and doesn’t think that she really needs a nurse.

4) Mrs. Stevenson begins to get more desperate. She simply must prevent that woman’s murder! She calls the police once more. This time they are more convinced by her story and promise to do something about the planned murder.

5) The time is approaching midnight. Mrs. Stevenson is thinking about the woman who will be murdered. At midnight, the train passes her house and there is a scream. The phone rings. It is the police calling for Mrs. Stevenson. Someone picks up the phone and says, «Sorry, wrong number».

(developed at the University of Minnesota)

Make up dialogues:

1) Two men planning the murder.

2) Mrs. Stevenson and the police (I).

3) Mrs. Stevenson and the hospital receptionist.

4) Mrs. Stevenson and the police (II).

5) The police and the murderer.

accidentally — случайно • випадково

murder — убийство • убивство

to be hired by — быть нанятым к.-л. • бути найнятим кимось

scream — крик, вопль • лемент, зойк

receptionist — диспетчер • диспетчер

desperate — безнадежный, отчаянный • безнадійний, розпачливий

Text 11-4

In the Office          

A business man needs to communicate with other business men. He can do this by using the telephone. He can also do it by writing, but the modem business man does not write his letters by hand. He dictates them to a shorthand typist, usually a woman. She types the letters on her machine and later takes them to be signed. When all the letters have been signed, they are put in envelopes and are ready for the post. Small offices employ a boy to stick stamps on envelopes, but large offices today have a machine which, as envelopes are passed through it, automatically prints a stamp on them in ink. There is a meter in the machine. This is set and locked by a Post Office official according to the amount of money that is paid in advance. When this amount is reached the machine no longer works and must be reset.

It is not necessary to type an address on an envelope. There are envelopes with a «window» of transparent paper, and the letter can be folded so that the name and address typed on the letter can be seen through this «window».

The telephone is an important part of the communications system. The head of a large department usually has two telephones on his desk. One is connected, through a switchboard, to the public Post Office system. The other is connected to a private internal system. This makes it possible for members of the staff in different parts of the same building to talk to one another without leaving their rooms.

Telephone bells are noisy, so in most offices telephones usually have a quiet buzzer instead of a bell. The loud ringing of bells does not help a man to think about his work.

(from A. S. Hornby)

to sign — подписывать • підписувати

in advance — заблаговременно, предварительно • завчасно, попередньо

to reset — возвращать в исходное положение • повертати у вихідне положення

to fold — складывать, сгибать • складати, згинати

switchboard — коммутатор • комутатор

Text 11-5

A Telephone Call

When Americans answer the telephone, they say, «Hello». Not so in other countries. Germans methodically answer with their last names. Russians say, «I’m listening». The curious French say, «Hello, who’s on the line?,» Italians greet callers with «Ready,» the English answer with their phone number, and the Chinese say, «Hey, hey, who are you?»

A telephone call from a friend is a joy, unless you are in the middle of a meal, having a bath or on the point of going out to an engagement for which you are already late. But even when you have time, a telephone conversation cannot be savoured and rerun several times as a letter can. You cannot put a blue ribbon around a sentimental telephone call and keep it for years.

A letter sender in effect is saying, «I am setting aside some of my time for you alone, I am thinking of you. This is more important to me than all the other things that I could be doing».

(from «Mozika»)

to savour — смаковать, наслаждаться • смакувати, насолоджуватися

blue ribbon — голубая лента • блакитна стрічка

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