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Word for the Wise October 17, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Rain forest

Today is the second day of World Rain Forest Week. Since '93, the term rain forest has been applied to either a temperate or tropical rain forest, that is, to "a tropical woodland with an annual rainfall of at least one hundred inches and that is marked by lofty, broad-leaved evergreen trees forming a continuous canopy". A temperate rain forest differs from the tropical in both its usually mild climate and by the presence of a dominant tree. (来源:英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

The South American Amazon (or Amazonia) is the world’s largest rain forest; it is named after the river, the world’s largest by volume. Let’s explore how the Amazon came by that name.

In fact, we can thank explorers. The river was known variously as Maranon ("the Maze") and La Mar Dulce—"the Fresh Water Sea"—when Francisco de Orellana and his team were besieged by women warriors on their way down the river in 1541. The chronicler of the expedition, Dominican friar Gaspar de Carvajal, likened the women to the fierce female fighters—"the Amazon"—of Greek myth and referred to the river as the Orellana.

The name Orellana washed away, while the reference to the Greek mythology remained, along with the name Amazon.

 
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