12th April 2020
Taiwan has featured in many online news clips recently. Here are some which caught my eye (made me notice) and which, furthermore, will be useful for students to practice listening to ‘real-world’ English speaking; the rhythms, stresses and intonations of everyday speech.
As with other blogs, I will drop in certain phrases or expressions, which I will highlight. In addition, there will be a lot of new vocabulary in the listening clips. Watch them in short sections, writing down any new words or phrases.
Feel free to ask me to explain anything you can’t understand
Additionally, I’d like to share a blog from my online friend, Silk Chatters, who is based in the USA, and writes extremely interesting articles. One such article, a blog which caught my eye, is about being critical when listening to news reports. Silk ends her blog with:
Question what you read and hear, and avoid a steady diet of one type of information, it’s as bad for the mind as eating only one type of food is for the body.
Here is the link to Silk’s blog: https://silkcordsblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/this-is-why-you-should-avoid-conspiracy-theories/
I know she will be delighted if you read and ‘like’ her blog.
In the UK, we pride ourselves on having a free press – newspapers, TV and other media are able to write what they want without fear of persecution (there are exceptions, naturally, but that is outside the scope of this blog).
However, newspaper readers generally know the political views of the paper they’re reading. In the USA I believe I’m right in saying that many TV news stations report the news according to their political opinions … or of those who own the station. For example, Fox News is seen as Republican (right-wing), while CNN is viewed as Democrat (left-wing).
Readers in the USA, please correct me if I am mistaken.
Therefore, when you see or read news, remember to ask questions and try to check the facts for yourself. A sophisticated readership will necessitate more sophisticated journalism … ideally … and what can be more ideal than the search for truth ?
The Corona Virus, COVID 19, continues to spread, and there are opposing theories as to its origins. The consensus is that it started in Wuhan Province, Mainland China. Taiwan, which is so close, has relatively few cases (at time of writing, 388 cases with 6 deaths compared to the official figures for China 82, 052 and 3, 339).
Relations between China and Taiwan are contentious (if you don’t know the history, the internet will help to fill you in – give you information)
Taiwan, whose capital is Taipei, “Shall be a democratic republic of the people, to be governed by the people and for the people.” Tsai Ing-wen is the President, and she features in our first clip: A YouTuber called Potter King met Tsai Ing-wen, and angered China by addressing her as ‘President’.
The President is shown here in a BBC interview, discusses relations between China and Taiwan:
China warned to show respect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZcG9jy0TWQ
We now move on to a video clip that went viral. Dr Bruce Aylward was asked about Taiwan being admitted to the WHO (World Health Organisation). This is what happened:
Senior WHO dodges question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlCYFh8U2xM&t=24s
The British newspaper ‘The Guardian’ covered the story here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/30/senior-who-adviser-appears-to-dodge-question-on-taiwans-covid-19-response
‘The Guardian’ is seen as a liberal, left-leaning paper, and is probably more for the educated reader than mass circulation. As such, the language will be challenging but rewarding for English-language students.
In the interests of fairness, I will show the WHO reaction to the above interview, which was somewhat awkward or embarrassing, to say the least.
WHO response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFRHB-wP9SU&t=13s
Finally, the most important part: what do you think ?
Where do you get your information ?
Can you trust your sources ?
Can you think of any reasons why news may be altered, slanted, taken out of context or in any way distorted ?