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  • In the German elections, the centre-left has narrowly won

  • against Angela Merkel's party.

  • Hello, I'm Rob and this is BBC News Review,

  • and joining me today is Neil. Hello Neil.

  • Hi there, Rob. If you want to test yourself

  • on the vocabulary that you learn in this programme,

  • there's a quiz on our website at bbclearningenglish.com

  • but for now, let's hear a news report on that story

  • about the German elections from the BBC:

  • So, as you have heard, there's been an election in Germany

  • and the Social Democratic Party have narrowly won that election.

  • They got more votes than any other party,

  • but it's not as simple as that.

  • The parties are now trying to form coalitions with each other

  • and whoever does that successfully

  • will be able to form the next government of Germany.

  • The one thing we do know is that Angela Merkel

  • will no longer be the chancellor after sixteen years.

  • OK. And we've got three words and expressions that we can use

  • to talk about this news story, haven't we, Neil?

  • So, that's 'pivotal', 'usher in' and 'vie'.

  • OK. Well, let's have a look at our first news headline, shall we?

  • Yes, OK. Here we go.

  • The first headline is from CNBC and it reads:

  • OK. So, that's 'pivotal' – important and influential.

  • Yes and we spell that P-I-V-O-T-A-L

  • and it is an adjective,

  • but perhaps a good way to try and understand and remember this word

  • is if we look at the first part of it:

  • the word 'pivot'. What's a 'pivot', Rob?

  • This is more used, I thought, in sort-of technology and mechanical things:

  • a 'pivot' is a central point, isn't it,

  • where everything else moves around it?

  • That's right, yes. That's exactly it: a central point where something else

  • moves around in a machine, or a device of some kind, is a 'pivot'.

  • But we use this figuratively very, very often

  • to describe something that is important

  • and can change direction at that point.

  • So, for example, an election victory is a 'pivotal' moment

  • because things can change from that point.

  • And we hear that word 'pivotal' used with other words,

  • don't we, like 'figure' or 'role'?

  • That's right. We can describe someone

  • as having a 'pivotal role' in something else.

  • So, let's take a simple sporting example.

  • Everybody knows who Christiano Ronaldo is:

  • he has played football for Manchester United,

  • for Real Madrid, for Juventus

  • he's back at Manchester United now

  •   of course his own country, Portugal.

  • And in every single team, he has played a 'pivotal role'.

  • It means he has been the really important person,

  • who has created change around him.

  • OK. So, 'pivotal'... 'pivotal' is an important thing.

  • So, for example, if I was in the office and I change the type of

  • biscuits that we started eating in the office, would I be playing

  • a 'pivotal role' in the future of biscuit-eating in the office?

  • Well, Rob, we all know that biscuits are very important to you,

  • but that's... that's not something that all of us share.

  • So, it would be... it would sound strange to

  • describe the change of biscuits as 'pivotal' because we use

  • that word to describe things that are serious and important.

  • OK. Great. Let's have a summary now of that word:

  • Well, as many of you know, Brexit played a 'pivotal role'

  • in the history of the UK

  • and we talked about it quite a lot on News Review.

  • Where can people watch those videos again, Neil?

  • All they need to doall you need to do is click on the link below.

  • Great. Let's now have a look at your second headline.

  • OK. My second headline comes from the BBC

  • News Onlineand it reads:

  • So, 'usher in' – that's: make something important start to happen.

  • That's right and it's a phrasal verb.

  • It's made up of two words. The first one is usher: U-S-H-E-R.

  • And the second part is 'in': I-N.

  • So, together we have 'to usher in' as a... as a phrasal verb.

  • Now, I think an 'usher' ofsomeone who shows people

  • into a theatre or cinema. They show you to your seat.

  • That's exactly right, Rob, yes. We have the role or the job of 'usher',

  • and that's a person, perhaps as you saidthe cinema or the theatre.

  • Also at a wedding, you could be asked to be an 'usher':

  • that's somebody who, kind of, shows people around,

  • tells them where to go and what to do.

  • And it's that sense of direction: giving somebody direction,

  • which is the same here as a verb.

  • So, we say to 'usher something in'

  • means that something has changed at that point

  • and there is a new direction.

  • And we can talk about all different situations, can't we?

  • For example, today the weather has changed. It's started raining.

  • The wind started blowing. It, kind of, means the end of summer.

  • So, the rain has 'ushered in' a new season.

  • Absolutely. Yes, the rain... the rain has arrived

  • and it seems to have 'ushered in' the autumn finally.

  • It's been pretty warm up until now in the UK.

  • Also we can talk about great world events 'ushering in' changes.

  • The most obvious one of course, over the last year and a half

  • almost two years, is the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • It has 'ushered in' so many changes in the way we lead our lives:

  • just one example is the way we work.

  • People like you and I, Rob, who work in offices:

  • we've been working from home, largely,

  • and it seems like the Covid pandemic has 'ushered in'

  • a new era of home-working.

  • Indeed. And also in history, there have been technological changes

  • that have 'ushered in' other developments,

  • such as the invention of the jet plane

  • that 'ushered in' a new era of travel around the world.

  • Absolutely. All sorts of technological developments have

  • 'ushered in' great change: the internet, smartphones, but as you say

  • jet airplanes cut the length of time it took to travel places overseas

  • by a huge amount and it changed the way that we lived our lives.

  • OK. Very good. Well, I think we should now 'usher in'

  • a summary of that phrase.

  • Absolutely.

  • Now, 'usher in' was an example of a phrasal verb.

  • You can learn lots more about phrasal verbs in English Class with Dan.

  • Where can people watch English Class, Neil?

  • All you need to do is click on the link below to get Dan:

  • an English Class on phrasal verbs.

  • Great stuff. OK. Let's have a look at our third headline now please.

  • OK. Our third headline comes from the Guardian and it reads:

  • That's 'vie' – compete with others to gain superiority.

  • Yes and here's one to pay attention to:

  • the spelling is V-I-E.

  • The pronunciation is 'vie', but the spelling is V-I-E,

  • so it doesn't look like it sounds unfortunately.

  • And 'vie' is something we do on a big scale.

  • So, we wouldn't compete together, maybe,

  • just to go and get the kettle to make a cup of tea.

  • No. That's right. Yes, as we said, we've talked...

  • we're talking about elections here. When we use the word 'vie',

  • it gives a sense of competition, which is serious and important.

  • You 'vie for' something or you 'vie to become' something.

  • You 'vie to become' the leader of your party

  • or you 'vie to become' the next government.

  • Sports teams would 'vie with' each other to become the champions.

  • And so we use it in that sense. It's probably...

  • Can... can we also say that they can be 'vying' to befor example,

  • the football teams be 'vying' to be top of the table.

  • Yes. So, it's a verb and we can use it with an '-ing' form.

  • But, again, be careful because the spelling changes.

  • It's a short word, V-I-E,

  • and we lose the 'I-E' when we're using it with the '-ing' form,

  • so 'vying' becomes V-Y-I-N-G.

  • Neil, 'vie' – it's a very small word, isn't it?

  • Yes. Well, we just said that we use it to talk about really important things,

  • but it's a little... it's a little word and I think because of...

  • because of its size, it gets overused.

  • So, as we said, you and I talking about competition

  • we wouldn't say: 'We are vying with each other.'

  • Or: 'Let's vie with each other to get to make a cup of tea.'

  • It sounds too...

  • it sounds too formal for an informal or unimportant situation.

  • So, the reason headline writers like this word and the reason we see it

  • a lot in the press is that it's short and peoplejournalists like

  • short words to go into headlines because you can get more of them in.

  • Yeah, OK. So, a short word with a lot of importance.

  • That's right. That's right.

  • Good. Let's have a summary:

  • Now, Neil, do you think you could recap the vocabulary

  • that we've talked about today please?

  • Absolutely. So, first of all, we have:

  • 'pivotal' – important and influential.

  • We have 'usher in' – make something important start to happen.

  • And 'vie' – compete with others to gain superiority.

  • OK. There's three words and phrases you can use to talk about

  • the German elections and you can test your understanding of these

  • in a quiz on our website at bbclearningenglish.com.

  • Don't forget we're all over social media as well so check us out.

  • Right, well, that's all for today. Thanks so much for watching.

  • See you again next time. Bye-bye!

  • Goodbye.

In the German elections, the centre-left has narrowly won

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B1 vie usher headline phrasal rob pivot

German elections - BBC News Review

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/09/28
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