Coronavirus in the news

Sadly, we are surrounded by news related to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having an effect on people’s health, obviously, but also on the economy, on jobs, even on the environment. Instead of writing a blog post every time I find something which might be relevant for students in terms of vocabulary, I thought I had better start a Google site. In it you can find extracts from radio shows with their transcripts as well as annotated articles. I will be updating it as the days (and the lockdown) go on.

[I originally started a Padlet, but in the end, for different reasons, I decided to swap to a Google site]

Click on the picture to visit the site

Words in the news: cut-throat

Flybe, a low-cost regional airline in the UK, has collapsed into administration. The coronavirus crisis has apparently added increased pressure to an already precarious financial situation.

In this news report you can hear the expression ‘cut-throat’ world: typically associated with business, where competition is strong, and sometimes, ruthless.

In the cut-throat world of budget airlines, where competition is intense and costs are cut to the bone, Flybe was a relatively small player. It carried around 8 million passengers a year, far fewer than the likes of easyJet or Ryanair. Its importance lay in the routes it served, offering regional connections from airports in places like Newquay, Belfast, Inverness and the Isle of Man.

Source

More information:

Related expressions:

Christmas ads 2019

Christmas is around the corner. In the run-up to Christmas, businesses and brands release their very best ads, typically tearjerkers, to catch consumers off-guard and lure them to shop till they drop. I’m well aware of their persuasion strategies, of course. And yet, every year I find myself having a look at British Christmas ads, as they tend to be longer, and usually tell a story, which will allow me to exploit them in the classroom even further than ordinary ads. This is a selection of the ones I liked the most this year:

VISA

a rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ by real shopkeepers struggling to survive in the high street.

Extended version

Alternative version- shopkeepers singing All I Want for Xmas is you

Sainsbury’s– Nicholas the Sweep

Set in Dickensian London, it showcases the story of a waif-an orphan child and chimney sweep, unfairly accused of stealing.

Resources: the ad is set in Victorian England/Dickensian London. Some related vocabulary may be useful to start with:

Click on the image to open the word cloud. Links to definitions can be found by clicking on each word.

  • What do you mean when you say that somebody is ‘rotten to the core’?
  • The story is told by a 3rd-person narrator. How would you narrate the story using 1st-person narrative…
          • a. from Mrs Sainsbury’s point of view? 
          • b. from Nicholas the sweep’s point of view?
  • Imagine the story were to be published as a book. How would you retell it?

John Lewis & Waitrose– Excitable Edgar

Resources to use the ad in the classroom:

Fortnum and Mason– What’s in a Fortnum and Mason hamper? (list of traditional Christmas foods and elements in Britain)

Watch the ad and write down as many foods, gifts and Christmas traditions as you can.

Aldi-Kevin the Carrot #4 (Let Me Entertain You):

Resources to use the ad in the classroom: The Literacy Shed

Sky– ET came home for Christmas

Joules– Wallace and Gromit

Iceland supermarkets– Frozen II

Lidl

M&S Christmas Food (Christmas market)

Smyths toys– If I Were a Toy

Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day– You may want to take part in this…

Further resources:

Black Friday and consumerism- resources

You can find below a collection of resources which can be used when dealing with Black Friday and consumerism:

  • Black Friday-US commercial:

  • Black Friday (BBC news):

Binge shopping:

How to differentiate deals from duds on Black Friday (B2):

Black Friday- consumer expert:

Black Friday online shopping and fraud: https://natalialzam.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/black-friday-online-shopping-and-fraud/

Money- resources

You can find below a series of resources which can be used if you need to deal with the topic of money and finances:

Debit card ad:

Money and consumerism- Spotify playlist

Word cloud with idioms from songs:

Edpuzzle quiz– clip captioned in English, questions and comments aimed at working on the vocabulary of money. (C1)

Winning the lottery:

Transcript 

  • Cashless societies:
  • Pensioners splashing out vs cash-strapped millennials:

transcript

      • Facebook cryptocurrency launched:
      • Have you/Would you invest in bitcoins? Why? -Watch these clips from The Big Bang Theory (The Bitcoin Entanglement)

Finances:

Model declared bankrupt:

Transcript

Sex and the City- Ring a Ding Ding (the protagonist finds herself broke after years of splashing out on, among other luxuries, shoes)

Crime and money:

  • Cybercrime and fraud:
  • Measures to prevent fraud:
  • Using a dead woman’s card (B2):

Listening- Alan Turing to feature on the 50 GBP note

Some months ago, there was a consultation in the UK about the candidates to feature on the new £50 banknotes. You can read more about it and do a listening comprehension exercise on the news here:

Listening comprehension: The new £50 note.

The winner has been announced, and mathematician Alan Turing has been chosen as the face of Britain’s new £50 banknote.

Now, read the questions in the form below. Then, listen to this news report about the mathematician who is going to feature on the new £50 note. You can listen to it twice. Once you have finished, submit your answers to check whether you were right or wrong. Please pay attention to the feedback to both right and wrong answers.

Open form in a new tab

You can also read the transcript here.

Further reading:

More about Alan Turing in the blog:

Listening comprehension: The new 50 GBP note

Listen to this news report about the new 50 GBP note. Read the sentences on the Google form below and listen carefully to the recording. In each of the spaces provided, complete the information required with up to FOUR WORDS. You should hear the information twice.

Link to audio

 Link to Google form

Once you have finished, you can listen again and read the transcript. 

If this consultation should happen in Spain, who should the contenders be?

Further reading: