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  • Hello and welcome to News Review from BBC Learning English.

  • I'm Georgina and joining me today is Catherine.

  • Hi Catherine.

  • Hello Georgina! Hello everybody.

  • Yes, today's News Review story is about the wildfires

  • that are sweeping the West Coast of America.

  • And don't forget: if you want to test yourself on the vocabulary you learn

  • today, go to bbclearningenglish.com to find a quiz.

  • Now, let's hear more about that story about the wildfires

  • in California from this Radio 1 News headline:

  • So, wildfires in America are now in

  • three states on the West Coast. That is Washington,

  • Oregon and California. The wildfires have claimed

  • several lives and thousands of people have had to leave their homes.

  • We've got three words and expressions you can use to talk about this story.

  • What are they Catherine?

  • They are: 'brace', 'smog' and 'grip'.

  • 'Brace', 'smog' and 'grip'. Catherine, give us your first headline.

  • Yes, we're in America for all our

  • headlines this week and the first one comes from ABC News.

  • It reads like this:

  • Yes, so it's 'brace' – get ready physically or mentally for something bad.

  • That's right. B-R-A-C-E – that's a verb. It can also be a noun.

  • Now Georgina, imagine that you see me coming towards you.

  • You're in an enclosed space and I have my hand in a fist and

  • an angry look on my face: what are you gonna do?

  • I'm gonna run away, Catherine.

  • But you can't run away: you're in an enclosed space

  • so what are you gonna do when you

  • see that fist coming?

  • I'm going to prepare myself physically,

  • so I'm going to tighten up all the muscles in my body...

  • ...and wait for the impact of the fist to hit me.

  • And yeahso I'm going to tighten up

  • all my body like a hard piece of cardboard, so to speak.

  • I'm going to brace myself.

  • OK. You're going to brace yourself. Now of course,

  • Georgina, I would never do a thing like thatnever in a million years!

  • But in this scenario, if you feel that someone's about to

  • hit you, you're going to prepare yourself physically and mentally because you know

  • something bad is going to happen.

  • Same if you're intraveling in a car and a crash is about to happen:

  • you will tighten up and get ready for an impact and this is the idea of 'brace'.

  • It's both physical and mental of course. You're going to be

  • feelingpreparing yourself mentally for an

  • impact of some kind and this is the way that 'brace' is being

  • used in this context. In the West Coast of America, people are

  • getting ready physically: they're making fire defences.

  • They're getting ready emotionally

  • and mentally: they might have to moveit's going to be difficult, traumatic,

  • uncertainso preparing yourself for something bad to happen.

  • Let's – so let's have a summary slide:

  • So, 'brace' is an action verb and we've got

  • lots of useful information all about those, haven't we Catherine?

  • We have. To find out what action verbs

  • are and how they work, just click the link and

  • you'll go straight there.

  • Great. So, let's have a look at your second headline.

  • Yes and now for the Los Angeles Timesthe headline:

  • 'Smog' – type of air pollution often found in cities that makes it difficult to breathe.

  • Yes, 'smog' – S-M-O-G – it's a noun: 'smog'.

  • Now Georgina, you know what 'smoke' is, don't you?

  • Yes. So, when you light a fire it's the grey kind of stuff

  • that comes off it and it can get in your eyes and in your

  • lungs as well and make it difficult to breathe.

  • That's right. And you know what 'fog' is, don't you Georgina?

  • I do. Well, actually I just learnt really

  • what it is todaylike the detailsSo, it's small water

  • droplets that come together to create a form of a cloud, but it's low to the

  • ground and it means you can't see through it.

  • Yes. So, if we take the 'sm-' from 'smoke'

  • and we add the '-og' from 'fog' and we put them together, we get...

  • ...'smog'. 'Smog'!

  • 'Smog', 'smog'. Now, smog is traditionally a combination of smoke and fog,

  • but these days we use it to mean

  • airborne pollution that makes it difficult to breathe,

  • difficult to see properly. If you look at photographs now of California,

  • you can see that the air literally is orange

  • and quite hazy: you can't see very well. People are struggling to breathe.

  • So, it's air pollution which is either a mixture of smoke and fog,

  • or it's just airborne pollution.

  • Right, so let's have a look at a summary slide:

  • Catherine, we've covered other stories on wildfires, haven't we?

  • Yes, we have. And to see a story about the Australian

  • bushfires that happened at the beginning of this year,

  • just click the link.

  • Let's have a look at our next headline.

  • And we're in The New York Times nowthe headline:

  • 'Grip' means: hold tightly.

  • Yes. Now, it's spelt: G-R-I-P – 'grip'. It's a verb

  • and it is also a noun. Now Georgina, would you please demonstrate

  • 'grip', please, by gripping your pencil very tightly?

  • Yes, I'm gripping the pencil. And I – and I can see

  • you're kind of straining: your handyour fingers are going white

  • because you're gripping it so hard. And I think if I tried to get that pencil out of

  • your hand it would be very very difficult.

  • Almost impossible, Catherine. Almost impossible.

  • You've got quite a strong grip, I think, Georgina.

  • Yeah. I feel like I need to relax it now actually.

  • Yes, relax! Yes, you won't be able to use your hand.

  • OK. So, grip means hold very very very tightly. It can be literal,

  • as you've just been demonstrating with your pencil, Georgina,

  • or it can be the idea of something having a lot of power over people's

  • movements. In this case the wildfires are causing

  • fear: they're causing destruction. And it's those two things,

  • fear and destruction, which are 'gripping' people. That means they are

  • controlling people: people are thinking about it all the time,

  • they're planning around it, they're worried about it.

  • So, if something 'grips' you, it really takes all your attention so that you can't

  • think of anything else, and you behave in a particular way

  • because of the thing that's gripping you.

  • So, in the headline it's being used as a

  • verb. Can it also be used as an adjective, Catherine?

  • Yes, it can. Yes.

  • If you add '-ing' – '-pping', it's 'gripping' and you can talk

  • about lots of things that are gripping,

  • especially in the world of entertainment, Georgina.

  • Do you like to watch gripping films?

  • Oh yes! So, the last film that I watched

  • that was really gripping was 'Gravity': I was on the edge of my seat,

  • the effects were fantastic, the characters, the script was amazing.

  • I didn't know what was going to happenwould Sandra Bullock survive her

  • space expedition? What would actually happen? It was amazing.

  • Fantastic! Sounds really gripping.

  • Yes, it is. It is amazing.

  • So, let's have a look at our summary slide:

  • Catherine, could you recap the vocabulary please?

  • I could. We had 'brace' – get ready physically or mentally for something bad.

  • We had 'smog' – type of air pollution often found in cities that makes it difficult to breathe.

  • And we had 'grip' – hold tightly.

  • So, you can test yourself on today's vocabulary with the quiz

  • on the website. We're all over social media too.

  • Thanks for joining us. Bye!

  • Bye everyone!

Hello and welcome to News Review from BBC Learning English.

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B1 georgina brace catherine grip headline pollution

California Wildfires - News Review

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/24
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