Imagine you on holiday in Vietnam and you are purchasing some souvenirs. The vendor indicates that the total comes to 50,000 dong. You open your wallet, grab what you think is a 50,000-dong bill, and hand it over. The vendor asks you if you have any smaller bills, and then you are confused. Only then do you realize that you accidentally grabbed at 500,000-dong bill, not a 50,000 one.
Why are there so many zeros on Vietnam’s banknotes? At the time this article was written, one USD could be exchanged for 22,795 Vietnamese dong. This is the result of a phenomenon called hyperinflation. Normal inflation occurs all over the world. This means that as time passes, prices gradually go up. However, in some extreme cases, inflation can go out of control. The cost of products rises too rapidly, and so the government tries to print more banknotes or higher denominations to make up for it. The end result is that the currency becomes worthless.
There are many social factors that can contribute to hyperinflation, such as war, economic depression, and corruption. In the end the locals usually suffer, because the more worthless a currency becomes, the more difficult it is to buy imported goods.
Vietnam is not even the worst example today of a worthless currency. In the tiny African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, 1 USD can be exchanged for 23,094 dobras, and in Iran, one dollar gets you 32,390 rials. In one extreme case of hyperinflation in 2008, a whopping 50,000,000,000-dollar banknote in Zimbabwe was worth less than 1 USD!
1. souvenir (n) something you buy on a holiday to remember that trip 紀念品
Jamison bought a shot glass as a souvenir on his trip to Okinawa.
2. vendor (n) a person selling something from a street stall 攤販，小販
Some say that the best food in the country is sold from street-side vendors.
3. inflation (n) a general increase in prices and fall in the value of a currency 通貨膨脹
My dad says that when he was a kid, a soda cost 25 cents, but today due to inflation it costs 2 dollars.
4. denomination (n) the amount of a bill, coin, or stamp (貨幣等)面額，(度量衡)單位
In Canada, the lowest denomination of banknote is $5.
5. worthless (adj) having no worth or value 無價值的，無用的
All these old receipts are worthless. Why do you keep them?
6. depression (n) a severe downturn in the economy 大蕭條
The Great Depression lasted from 1929-1939.
7. corruption (n) dishonest practices by those in power 腐化、貪汙、賄賂
The government is trying to reduce corruption among high officials.
8. whopping (adj) to emphasize a big number 巨大的，異常的
The painting was sold for a whopping 2.5 million dollars.
Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析
1. out of control (phr) uncontrollably 失去控制
The students in the class are out of control! Where is the teacher?
2. to make up for sth. (phr) to balance out a negative thing with a positive thing 彌補
Do we need to work on Saturday to make up for the typhoon day off last week?
3. the more ADJ + S + V, the more ADJ + S + V (sentence pattern) as ADJ1 happens more, so does ADJ2 愈…愈…
The louder you shout at your kids, the less likely they are to listen to you.
1. You can buy _______________ in the museum’s gift shop downstairs.
2. Hundreds of ____________ sell delicious foods in the local night market.
3. As a result of rapid _______________, Zambia’s currency value has dropped significantly in a short period of time.
4. Coins here come in 1-, 5-, 10-, and 25-cent, as well as 1- and 2-dollar ______________.
5. This money is so ______________ that we might as well burn it!
6. During the ______________ people had to line up for hours on the street to buy a bag of rice.
7. The mayor was accused of _______________ in a well-written news feature.
8. A _____________ 4 million people attended the religious festival in India.
9. Brian’s behavior is _______________ these days. We need to punish him.
10. To _______________ the poor service you received today, your meal is on us.
11. _______________ interesting the novel, _______________ attentively you will read it.
9. out of control
10. make up for
11. The more/the more
Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解
1. What would be a more complete title for the article?
a. Hyperinflation: One Extreme Example
b. Hyperinflation: Causes and Examples
c. Hyperinflation: What the Government Is Doing about It
d. Hyperinflation: How to Prevent It
2. What can be inferred about the countries of São Tomé and Príncipe, Iran, and Vietnam?
a. They use USD instead of local currency.
b. They import a lot of goods for locals to purchase.
c. They have experienced social or economic instability recently.
d. They have finally overcome hyperinflation.
1. What would be a more complete title for the article? 以下選項何者對文章來說是較完整的標題？