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✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/learn-english-language-slow-news-2023-mar20/
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Today, we'll explore UK news from the previous week. You'll enjoy British English listening practice and intriguing stories. This podcast covers Economy-related words and general English conversation topics. I'll clarify any tough terms so you can enjoy the news while your brain learns English. What's better than that?
Learning British English is like adding spice to your dish - it adds flavour and depth to your language skills, making your communication more engaging and enjoyable.
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter.
⭐ Mark Twain, American Writer
The key benefit of participating in this lesson is the significant improvement in your British English fluency, particularly in your listening and comprehension skills. You'll gain a better understanding of British accents, dialects, and vocabulary through regular exposure to authentic UK news media and engaging lessons. As a result, you'll feel more confident and competent in communicating with native speakers and navigating real-life situations in the UK or other English-speaking countries.
This type of Adept English lesson will help English language learners with the following issues:
- Students are struggling to understand UK accents or dialects
- Difficulty keeping up with UK news media
- Feeling insecure or inadequate when communicating in British English
You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.
⭐ Geoffrey Willans, English Author And Journalist
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To get the benefits of this type of English language learning all you have to do is listen. You can help yourself improve more rapidly if you:
- Listen to authentic British English materials regularly, starting with slower speech and working up to faster speeds. Practice repeating and imitating the sounds and intonation patterns.
- Start with shorter news segments and gradually increase the length and complexity. Focus on key vocabulary and expressions related to the news topic, and seek out clarification or context when needed.
- Practice conversational skills with native speakers or language partners, focusing on active listening and clear communication. Seek out opportunities to engage in conversation in real-life situations, such as social events or online forums.
- Why should I listen to UK news media as a language learner?
- Listening to UK news media is an excellent way to improve your English listening skills and develop a better understanding of British accents and dialects. This will help you communicate more effectively with native speakers and expand your vocabulary.
- How can I improve my comprehension of UK news media?
- Start with shorter news segments and work up to longer pieces as your skills improve. Focus on key vocabulary and expressions, and take the time to clarify any unfamiliar words or phrases. Active listening and practice are key.
- What are some common challenges when learning British English?
- Common challenges for learners include understanding accents and dialects, keeping up with fast speech, and using idiomatic expressions correctly. Our lessons are designed to help you overcome these challenges and build your confidence.
- What makes this podcast unique compared to other language-learning resources?
- Our podcast offers a unique blend of authentic UK news media and engaging lessons designed to improve your listening, speaking, and comprehension skills. You'll have the opportunity to practice your skills in real-world contexts and engage with other learners.
- How can I make the most of these lessons to improve my fluency?
- Stay consistent with your practice, listen to the podcast regularly, and actively engage with the material. Take notes, repeat key expressions and phrases, and seek out opportunities to practice your skills in real-life situations.
Economy Port Mature Saplings Community Stark Coax Fiasco Frig Chancellor Ferry Regeneration Fell
Today let's have a look at the UK news from last week. Some British English listening practice for you and some interesting news stories.
In this podcast, you'll get some practice at words to do with the Economy, E C O N O M Y, and some more general topics of English conversation. I'll explain any difficult words, you can be entertained by the news stories and at the same time, your brain will be busy learning English.
What could be better than that?
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Don't forget to take our Seven Rules of Adept English Course, if you really want to know what it's all about!
So our British English podcasts are designed to help you practise your understanding of spoken English. If you would like to understand better how to use our podcasts, then go to our website at adeptenglish.com. And sign up for our free course, The Seven Rules of Adept English. This course explains our Listen & Learn technique, our natural method for learning English.
OK, so which news stories caught my eye last week?
Well, one that made me mad and lots of other people as well! Plymouth, P L Y M O U T H, Plymouth is a well-known city on the English south coast, in the county of Devon. Plymouth is a port, P O R T. That means it's established as an arrival and departure point for ships and ferries. A 'ferry', F E R R Y, or F E R R I E S, plural, that's a big ship that carries cars and lorries across the sea over to Europe. And from Plymouth, usually France.
So what happened in Plymouth last week?
Well, late on Tuesday night, 110 big trees were taken down in the city centre. Under cover of darkness, they were removed. The usual verb for this is 'to fell'. That's F E L L. If you 'fell' trees, it means you cut them off near the ground at the bottom. You remove them. So this started late on Tuesday evening, and at 1:00 AM on Wednesday morning, a 'court injunction', that means a legal order from the court forced the felling to stop.
Plymouth City Council - so that's the local government organisation who are at the centre of this dispute - they're the ones removing the trees as part of a 'regeneration project'. So the word 'regeneration,' R E G E N E R A T I O N or the verb 'to regenerate' - it means 'to make something better, to give it a new life'.
The problem is councils, local government in many parts of the UK, seem to spend huge amounts of money on 'regeneration' that nobody wants, or that's not better than what was there before. And local residents, people living in the cities and towns have to pay council tax to fund these projects, that quite often they don't want!
In Plymouth, the damage done by this 'regeneration project' was these 110 mature trees taken down in the city centre, in a park area. Residents of Plymouth are angry, outraged, ' up in arms', as we say in British English.
In fact, it was action by the residents that got the court order to stop the felling at 1:00 AM on Wednesday.
Plymouth City Council said that they will continue with the felling of the remaining trees, and in their defence said that they're going to plant 169 new trees.
However, these trees will be tiny little trees, tiny 'saplings', that's S A P L I N G S. Not the same as the big trees which they took down. And these little trees will take at least 30 or 40 years to start to look the same. Little trees do not provide the same beautiful green space that big trees do.
What seems noticeable about this? It's sneaky. It's underhand. The council did their felling, their tree felling at night, when no one was around.
They had done their 'community engagement'. This is one of those terms that councils use. That means they actually spoke to residents, they asked people what they wanted. That was 'community engagement'. And the response from Plymouth City residents was an absolute 'No!' To this project.
So the Plymouth City residents had eight questions to answer about this project, and to every question, the majority said 'No'. And that majority was between 61% and 78%. That's a 'No', isn't it? But the council went ahead and did it anyway. I say, what's the point of 'engaging' with your residents and asking them about a project if you're going to ignore their response? It's probably why the tree felling happened at night.
I took a look at the council's report on this - it's available online.
And in this report, the council dismisses responses to their project that say 'No', if they don't have any reasons attached, if there was no comment attached.
They only wanted to count the responses that supported the project. In British English slang, we call this 'frigging the data'. That's the verb 'to frig', F R I G. It means you cheat, it means you misrepresent the data to get the answer that you want. Be a little careful with the verb 'to frig' as it has a sexual meaning as well.
Plymouth City Council also ignored 16,000 people who signed a petition to stop the tree felling.
This reminds me of other votes and polls where people clearly say 'No' to something, but it goes ahead anyway. What's the point of asking? Why bother to pretend you've got democracy if there clearly is none.
The 'before and after' pictures of Plymouth town centre are in a stark contrast. That means 'very different'. In the before pictures you can see huge trees and grass and daffodils, narcissus and this area softens the rather dated Plymouth buildings that surround it. A much needed and loved green space inside a city centre.
If you look at the photographs of what's left now, it's a scene of devastation. It looks as though a hurricane has been through. There are other examples of such things happening in the UK. Famously in Sheffield city centre - that's Sheffield up in the county of Yorkshire.
This 'fiasco' - that means a 'shameful event', an 'embarrassing failure' - a 'fiasco', F I A S C O. That's a nice word. This 'fiasco' began in 2012 when Sheffield City Council got - let me read this figure - 1.2 billion pounds from the private sector so that they could cut down 17,500 mature street trees. Why? No idea. You can see the results of this horrific project attached. Still, no one knows the reasons why the trees had to be cut down.
Beautiful old trees, which really enhanced the appearance of the urban streets. You can see before and after pictures. What stupidity! It's crazy. People living in cities need green spaces.
Anyway, I'll calm down about that one now.
What about the UK Chancellor's Budget last week? In the British government, the second most powerful person after the Prime Minister, at the moment Rishi Sunak, the second most powerful person is The Chancellor. That's C H A N C E L L O R.
This means the person in charge of 'The Treasury' or 'the country's money'.
So currently the UK Chancellor, that government minister is Jeremy Hunt, and this week it was his Budget for the next few months. B U D G E T. The word 'budget' is a noun. And wherever you think up a plan to handle your money - what are you gonna spend it on, what are you deciding not to buy? That plan is your 'budget'. So you can have a budget for your household, for how you spend your earnings, your salary.
And clearly the Chancellor's Budget sets the plan for the UK's finances. How are we going to spend the money? What will we spend it on? So some interesting measures in Jeremy Hunt's Budget last week. One of the measures that's M E A S U R E S. In this context, that means 'actions'. One of the measures is to give much more help to parents with pre-school children and the cost of childcare.
The word 'childcare', C H I L D C A R E - that's used to mean ' the care, the looking after of pre-school children so that the parents can go out to work'. And in the UK it is hugely expensive at the moment. When my children were young, there was no help at all. We had to pay for that out of my salary. Only when my son came along did there start to be a little bit of help. But the Chancellor announced there is going to be much more help. From nine months old children will now get 30 hours a week free childcare, and this will continue until they go to school. That's very helpful. Many parents currently pay over a thousand pounds a month for their childcare.
Why is the Chancellor doing this? Well, the thought is that post-Brexit Britain is being held back by 'not enough people to fill jobs'. There are many job vacancies unfilled, and the belief is if they help parents get back to work, then more people will fill those job vacancies and the economy will not be held back by this. So we've got many more jobs than we have people to do them at the moment.
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There were also measures in this Budget to encourage the over-50s back into work as well. ' Over 50s' means 'people over 50 years old'. It seems that many of them have stopped working after the pandemic. So the government is trying to coax, that's C O A X, 'to coax'. The government's trying to 'coax' or encourage them back to work. It's actually unclear why so many over-50s aren't working anymore and the government don't understand it either.
They're giving pension breaks, they're giving tax breaks to pensions to help sort this out. Maybe the over-50s have personal or health problems, or maybe they've just discovered that it's actually nicer, not working, that their lives are 'very nice, thankyou!' without work since the pandemic. Let's see if that measure works.
One last story I noticed last week - how many children or adults do you know with a peanut allergy? That's P E A N U T. So 'a peanut' is a nut, and you might associate peanuts with brands like KP or Planters. Peanuts are made into peanut butter, which you also might eat on your toast.
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In the UK it seems that so many children have peanut allergies. That's where they have a serious reaction to peanuts. Peanut allergies are such a problem that even children without peanut allergies are not allowed to bring nuts into school. I know that peanut allergy can be very serious, people do die from it. But what scientists were in the news, suggesting last week is that babies between four and six months should be introduced to peanut butter. Very tiny amounts. The effect? It's believed that this will cut the incidence of peanut allergy by 77%. That's impressive! I hope it works, and I love it when they find something like that!
OK, there you are - three news stories from the British News, the UK News last week. Listen to this podcast a number of times until you understand all the words and you're comfortable with it. And if you have any thoughts or opinions on any of these news stories, then just leave us a comment online or send us an email. We like it when you get in touch.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com
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- 'Despicable' tree felling in Plymouth
- Video of the devastation
- More than 100 trees cut down
- Collins definition of Frig
- Photographs: before and after
- Changes to childcare, pensions and disability benefits
- Give babies peanut butter