President Donald Trump gave his first speech after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Trump told the gathered crowd that ‘protection will lead to great prosperity’ and that America would be protected by God before warning that the US needed to protect its borders from the ‘ravages of other countries'. You can find the full text here and a subtitled version here.
COMMENT Whatever you think about Donald Trump, his manner of speaking (slow delivery, limited vocabulary, lots of repetition) means that his speeches and interviews make ideal listening comprehension material for English learners.
Today is Inauguration Day in the USA. Here's a collection of cartoons I put together for my EM Normandie students relating to Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States. The cartoons provide plenty of material for discussion and language practice. You can download the original PowerPoint slides here.
LESSON IDEAS 1. You can use the transcript below to create other activities (gap-fill, comprehension questions, etc.) 2. Compare the American way of saying dates with the British way (see here and here for more on this). 3. Freeze the video and see if the students can identify the various presidents.
TRANSCRIPT The president-elect doesn't officially become the president until the clock strikes noon on January 20th, Inauguration Day, which officially kicks off the new four-year term of POTUS, and occurs even when the president is re-elected for a second term. It all started April 30th, 1789, with George Washington. He established the tradition of placing the right hand on the bible before swearing into office. Only three presidents have opted out: Theodore Roosevelt, John Quincy, and Franklin Pierce. Adams, in particular, placed his hand on a book of U.S. laws to acknowledge the barrier between Church and State, along with his loyalty to the nation's laws above all else. Most inaugural ceremonies were held outside the Capitol building. Some exceptions were: in 1909, William Howard Taft was sworn in the day after a blizzard that dumped nearly ten inches of snow, and Ronald Reagan's second inauguration in 1985 with wind chills colder than 20 degrees below zero. Before 1937, Inauguration Day was typically held on March 4th, but when the 20th Amendment was ratified, the date changed. So, what happens at the Inauguration? A Supreme Court justice traditionally swears in the vice president. He swears to support and defend the constitution of the United States, and to carry out the duties of the office. The band then plays the song "Hail Columbia", which was composed for George Washington's Inauguration. At noon, the new president takes his oath. He swears that he "will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States". The band plays "Hail to the Chief", followed by a 21-gun salute. The new president gives his inaugural address, which will set the tone for the next four years. There are two other big events that take place during Inauguration Day: the parade and the ball, which James Madison and his wife started. During the ball, the former president's belongings are removed and the new president's furnishings are officially moved in, bringing an end to the day's festivities.
I showed this cartoon by Peter Brookes from The Times to a group of adult students this morning. Of course, they knew it was a cartoon about Brexit, but not one of them was able to identify the main reference. What about you? (see below for explanation)
THE CARTOON The cartoon references the 1965 hit movie musical The Sound of Music, which tells the story of a young Austrian woman, Maria, studying to become a nun in Salzburg in 1938. She is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his seven children. After bringing love and music into the lives of the family through kindness and patience, she marries the officer and together with the children they find a way to survive the loss of their homeland (to the Nazis) through courage and faith. In the cartoon, Theresa May is shown in the role of Maria, giving the finger (an insulting gesture) to three prominent EU leaders: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Angela Merkel, and François Hollande, who are portrayed as children. She's wearing a Union Jack skirt or apron, and singing one of the songs from the movie (watch it here). The caption is 'The Sound of Madness'. Click here to see the image on which the cartoon seems to be based.
COMMENTARY The cartoon relates to Mrs May's Brexit speech on Tuesday in which she said that the UK would be leaving the EU Single Market. The cartoonist clearly thinks this is not a good idea, since he describes it as 'madness'.
LANGUAGE 'So long' and 'farewell' are two ways of saying goodbye. 'Auf Wiedersehen' and 'Adieu' are German and French for 'goodbye'. See here for an article on ways of saying goodbye in English.
THE CARTOON A workman, standing on a ladder, is bricking up the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. He tells a bystander, "Mrs May's Brexit is a little harder than we'd been led to expect."
COMMENTARY Despite what you might think 'harder' does not mean 'more difficult' in this context. It refers to the difference between a so-called 'hard Brexit' and a 'soft Brexit'. Favoured by ardent Brexiteers, a hard Brexit arrangement would likely see the UK give up full access to the single market and leave the EU customs union. Such an arrangement would prioritise giving Britain full control over its borders, making new trade deals and applying laws within its own territory. This is more or less what Mrs May announced in her speech, disappointing those Remainers who were hoping that Britain would stay within the single market.
GRAMMAR We'd is a contraction of 'we had' and 'we'd been led to expect' is a passive sentence.
PRONUNCIATION Mrs is pronounced 'misses'.
TEACHING MATERIAL Click here to download a PowerPoint presentation with a selection of newspaper headlines about Mrs May's speech and some more cartoons.
This cartoon by Brian Adcock from The Independent relates to today's speech by UK Prime Minister Theresa May in which she laid out her vision for Brexit. Mrs May said that her government’s priorities for crunch negotiations with the other 27 EU countries would result in Britain leaving the single market, so it looks like Brexit really does mean Brexit. Read more >>
For an explanation of some of the references in the cartoon, click on the hot spots. And click here to see a full-size version of the cartoon.
Here's a video I used with my EM Normandie students as part of a lesson about entrepreneurs. You'll find a LearnClick gap-fill quiz below (but wait until you've watched the video before looking at the quiz, otherwise it's too easy!)
This is the video for Lesson One of the "Essential Business English" course, available on our school's free app "SmartEnglish by EM Normandie"
Over 10 lessons, you will learn useful phrases and vocabulary for everyday business situations in English such as: — sitting for a job interview — making a presentation — taking part in a meeting — handling a telephone complaint ...
There are over 15 minutes of animation in this course that will help you learn the right phrases for each situation. You will also: — improve your pronunciation — do lots of interactive practice — take tests to unlock prize videos — take part in simulated conversations.
And you get more than a learning app – you also get a digital phrasebook. All the phrases from the course are listed in a Reference section – with audio.
Essential Business English joins our two other courses Get Around TownandMaking Friends in English, so three courses are now available on a single app — which is 100% free. More courses will be added in future, so make sure you download the app today! Use these links or scan the QR code below.
Here's an amusing cartoon from Itchy Feet, the travel and language comic by Malachi Ray Rempen that nicely illustrates different nationalities attitudes towards punctuality. Can you identify the various countries shown (the flags should help!)? You'll find the answer below.
ANSWER In order of arrival: Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, France, and last but not least, Greece, Italy, and Spain, who all arrive (very late) together.
LESSON IDEA This cartoon would make a great discussion starter about cultural differences, especially if you have a mixed nationality group of students.
The New Year provides cartoonists with an opportunity to look back at the past year and forward to the next one. In many such cartoons (see the New Year 2017 collection on Cagle.com and this one by Chris Riddell in The Observer), the old year is personified by Father Time, and the new one by a baby. In this cartoon, by Gary Varvel, Father Time is handing a broom to the 2017 baby. The baby is holding a dustpan and will have to sweep up the mess left by the 2016 US Presidential Election. Father Time tells him, 'Boy, I'm glad you're here', pleased that he can now leave all the cleaning up to his successor.
LANGUAGE Contrary to what you might think, when Father Time says 'Boy', he's not addressing the baby. 'Boy' is an exclamation used when you are excited or pleased. • Boy, that was a fun ride!
This cartoon by Ben Jennings from The Guardian references some of the top political and economic news stories of 2016. How many can you identify? Click on the 'hot spots' to discover the stories behind the various parts of the image. You can see the original cartoon here.