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  • it's called omicron and it's a new variant of coronavirus.

  • It's come out of Southern Africa and there have been travel restrictions imposed as a result.

  • I'm Neil and this is BBC news review from BBC learning english joining me is Roy hi Roy hello Neil and hello everybody.

  • If you would like to test yourself on vocabulary around this program, all you need to do is head to our website BBC learning english dot com to take a quiz.

  • But now let's hear more about this story from this BBC news report.

  • The United States and Australia have joined the growing number of countries banning travel from much of Southern Africa to try to slow the spread of a new Covid variant.

  • The World Health Organization has classified oh, macron as a variant of concern because of early indications that it carries a high risk of reinfection.

  • President biden said the US had to be vigilant.

  • Okay, so several countries have moved to restrict travel with Southern Africa and this is after a new variant of covid 19 was discovered.

  • That variant has been called a micron and the World Health Organization have said that it is a variant of concern due to the high chances of reinfection.

  • You've been looking at this story, Roy in the various headlines on the internet and you've picked out three really useful words and expressions that you can use in your everyday english.

  • What have you got?

  • We have clamped down double down and blessing in disguise.

  • Clamp down double down and blessing in disguise.

  • Okay, let's hear your first headline please Roy.

  • Okay, so our first headline comes from Al Jazeera and it reads european countries clamped down on omicron variant clamp down.

  • Act officially to prevent something from happening.

  • Yes.

  • So this is a phrase Alvar verb, the first part of the phrase, a verb is spelt C L A M P second word down D O W N.

  • And it means to act officially or take official actions to prevent something from happening.

  • Okay well we'll break this word up here Roy and we see in the first part we have clamp.

  • Now I know what a clamp is.

  • It's a device which prevents something from moving.

  • So for example, have you ever parked your car in an illegal space?

  • I I haven't, I always tried to park in the uh in the same places but once my friend a parked illegally and his car was clamped and he was furious.

  • Um but to be fair it was his fault.

  • He parked in the wrong place.

  • Yeah.

  • Okay so you use the word they're clamped, The car was clamped.

  • That means a device called a clamp was put on the wheel to prevent the driver from moving it until they've paid a fine.

  • So there's that sense there of preventing something from happening.

  • Absolutely.

  • And if we carry that over into the meaning that's used in a headline, clamp down on something.

  • If we think about that restriction, that strong force to stop something, we clamp down on something.

  • It's basically when we take an official action to prevent something from happening, commonly we use it to talk about the government.

  • The government is clamping down on something or a business is clamping down on malpractice in the workplace.

  • Yeah.

  • Now that word down, the second part of the, of the word clampdown is important here, isn't it?

  • We've seen it in, for example, lockdown as well.

  • Um, and it's going to be featured later in in this program as well.

  • It gives a sense of there being an extra effort, doesn't there?

  • Absolutely.

  • An extra effort or pressure put on something.

  • Uh, in this headline, clamp down as two words is a verb.

  • It also exists as one word as a noun.

  • A clampdown.

  • Absolutely.

  • So the government can clamp down on something or there can be a clamp down on something.

  • Okay, let's get a summary.

  • Mm hmm.

  • If you'd like to hear another expression with the word down, we have the perfect video for you, don't we Roy Yes, we do this one.

  • This is an episode of news review and all you need to do is click the link in the description.

  • Okay, let's have a look at your next headline.

  • So our next headline comes from C N B C.

  • And it reads china could double down on it.

  • Zero.

  • Covid approach amid concerns about omicron, analysts say double down, do something in a stronger way than before.

  • Yes.

  • So this is another fraser verb first word, double D O.

  • U.

  • B L.

  • E.

  • Second word down.

  • D.

  • O.

  • W.

  • N.

  • And it is from a commonly followed by the preposition on double down on something and it means to take a stronger approach or stance on something than before.

  • Yeah.

  • Okay so let's break it up here.

  • We've got the first word double now double means do something twice, twice as much.

  • Yeah, two times to double something.

  • Uh Now interestingly this expression down obviously as we talked about before is that idea of effort.

  • So it's like doubling your effort.

  • Um Now commonly we hear this expression double down related to a card game called blackjack and uh it basically means where somebody doubles their bets.

  • Now I'm not a big gambler but that is the most people assume is the origin of this phrase.

  • But in normal life we talk about increasing one's effort or taking a stronger stance on something.

  • So somebody may double down on their opinion or some government, they double down on their stance.

  • Yeah.

  • Okay, interestingly this is a verb here.

  • Double down.

  • We had clamped down which could exist as a noun clamp down.

  • That's not the case here.

  • We don't have a double down, do we know?

  • And also we need to say it's not literal, it's not about twice the amount of effort.

  • Uh We've just been increasing your effort like doubling down on something.

  • Yeah.

  • Okay let's double down on our effort to teach people english Roy and give a summary.

  • Mhm.

  • We have of course talked about travel restrictions before during this pandemic.

  • If you want some more language connected to it you can watch a video.

  • Where is it Roy?

  • All you need to do is click the link in the description.

  • Okay let's have a look at your next headline.

  • Okay so our next headline comes from city Am and it reads blessing in disguise.

  • Ami chrome variant may be very positive news for the world if new covid mutation kills off more lethal delta coronavirus blessing in disguise something which at first looks bad but in the end is good.

  • Yes.

  • So this is a multi word expression and the first word is blessing.

  • B.

  • L.

  • E.

  • S.

  • S.

  • I.

  • N.

  • G.

  • Second word in I.

  • N.

  • Third word disguise.

  • D.

  • I.

  • S.

  • G.

  • U.

  • I.

  • S.

  • E.

  • Now listen to the pronunciation of that word disguise.

  • It looks like disclosure doesn't it?

  • But its disguise.

  • Yes.

  • This guy is not disquisition.

  • Yes.

  • And what this expression means basically is that something that at first looks negative actually turns out to be good.

  • Okay.

  • Right well let's let's break it up there in a blessing.

  • This is something I've heard in a sort of religious context Roy yeah it's the idea that something amazing that we should be thankful for us but we use it outside of the connections of religion as well.

  • Um So for example you could say that somebody's intelligence is a blessing.

  • It's something very positive that they should be thankful for.

  • Yeah.

  • And we also say that they are blessed with intelligence.

  • Yes, we do.

  • Now moving on to that second word disguise.

  • Now what this basically relates to is being hidden.

  • So for example, if I go to a party or an event and I don't want somebody to recognize me.

  • I could wear a disguise.

  • Maybe some glasses, a fake beard.

  • Not that I need one.

  • A scarf, I'm not sure.

  • So that people don't recognize me.

  • Exactly.

  • Yes.

  • I mean we we hear this word when incredibly famous people like you know paul McCartney or rob have to go out and they don't want people to recognize them.

  • Absolutely rob rob has to completely hide himself so that no, he can't even leave his house without the paparazzi in front taking photos, candy.

  • So he has to wear all these disguises.

  • Yeah.

  • And talking about a blessing in disguise.

  • You've got a great example with rob.

  • Oh I do.

  • Oh rob rob is he's he's always eating all of the biscuits like the other the other week I took in some biscuits.

  • I took in a plate of biscuits for everybody to eat and he ate them.

  • Oh he just, he consumed all of them.

  • Now at first I was a little bit upset because it was quite a negative thing I had these biscuits and then I realized he just eating them all.

  • But then I started to think well I'm on a diet so actually maybe it's quite a good thing.

  • Maybe it's a blessing in disguise for my diet.

  • Absolutely.

  • And although it sounds like we're being silly this can be used for both trivial things like the example we've just given and also serious ones.

  • Absolutely.

  • Okay let's get a summary.

  • Mhm.

  • Time now Roy for a recap of the vocabulary please.

  • Yes.

  • We had clamped down act officially to prevent something from happening.

  • We had double down do something in a stronger way than before.

  • And we had a blessing in disguise something which at first looks bad but in the end is good.

  • Do not forget to test yourself on this vocabulary.

  • There's a quiz on our website BBC learning english dot com.

  • And we are also all over social media.