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.
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.
The second cartoon by Bob Moran from The Telegraph shows Castro's coffin in the back of a hearse (funeral car). However, the car is in a pitiful state. It's got a broken windscreen, and the tail light and rear bumper are hanging off. The wheels of the car are also missing, and it's propped up on concrete blocks. I take this to be a metaphor for the Cuban economy during the Castro era — it didn't go anywhere. The irony is that the car is American! There could also be a reference to the idiom 'the wheels come off', which is used for saying that things start to fail or go wrong, especially after a period of success. • They were leading 3–1 at half-time, but then the wheels came off and they ended up losing the game.
Here's a slide presentation I put together for a class with my EM Normandie students featuring editorial cartoons relating to the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the USA. You can download the original PowerPoint presentation here.
After a bitterly divisive campaign, a surprisingly gracious, if rather rambling, victory speech from President Elect Trump. If he does half of what he promises, he'll go down as one of the great US presidents. But don't hold you breath ...
TRANSCRIPT Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business, complicated. Thank you very much. I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us, it’s about us, on our victory and I congratulated her and her family on a very very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. I mean that very sincerely. Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division. We have to get together. To all Republicans and Democracts and Independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all Americans and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so we can work together and unify our great country. As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want better brighter future for themselves and for their family. It's a movement comprised of people from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people - and serve the people it will. Working together we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I have spent my entire life in business looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world. That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. I’ve got to know our country so well. Tremendous potential. It’s gonna be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realise his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re gonna rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it. We will also finally take care of our great veterans, who’ve been so loyal and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey the time I’ve spent with them in this campaign has been among my greatest honours. Our veterans are incredible people. We will embark upon a project of national growth and renewal. I will harness the creative talents of our people and we will call upon the best and brightest to leverage their tremendous talent for the benefit of all. It’s gonna happen. We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great great relationships. No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach. America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We’re going to dream of things for our country and beautiful things and successful things once again. I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone. All people and all other nations. We will seek common ground not hostility, partnership not conflict.
This cartoon by Chappatte relates to the first Presidential Debate, which took place on Monday. When Hillary Clinton said that her Republican rival Donald Trump had paid no federal income tax in some years, Trump didn't deny it. In fact, he said: "That makes me smart." Clinton was pressing Trump for not releasing his tax returns for public scrutiny. Trump has said he won't release his tax returns until a routine audit is complete, though every major party presidential candidate over the past 40 years have released tax returns. You can watch the exchange here.
COMMENTARY The cartoon shows a poor white working-class couple who live in a trailer watching the debate. We know they are Trump supporters because they have a 'Go Trump' sticker on the side of their trailer. The irony is that they (and many others like them) support Trump even though he's a billionaire who boasts about not paying taxes. Go figure!
VOCABULARY Smart means intelligent or clever. • If you were smart, you’d buy now before prices go up.
How important are the forthcoming presidential debates? Todd Graham, director of debate at Southern Illinois University, says they could just decide the election. Graham breaks down the relative strengths and weaknesses of both candidates, and what they need to do to win.
COMMENTS 1. We've been here before. Here's a post of of mine from 2009 entitled 'French Burkini Ban'! 2. This topic might be a bit too sensitive to discuss in class, but you could always ask your students what they would ban if they had the power. 3. You can see more burkini cartoons here.
VOCABULARY The portmanteau burkini comes from combining bikini with burka, and it’s a term for an all-over swimming garment designed to protect the modesty of Muslim swimmers.
COMMENTARY The cartoonist plays on the double meaning of the word 'affairs'. Boris Johnson's official title is 'Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs' (usually abbreviated to 'foreign secretary') but he is also know for his 'affairs' with women (which is why he has lipstick kisses on his face). So when Theresa May says 'Not those sort, Boris!', she means 'not those sort of affairs'.
GRAMMAR One might expect 'those sorts (of affairs)', but as explained here, 'sort' can be used as an 'unchanged plural'.
CARTOON The cartoon shows a man lowering a barrier with the words 'Keep Out' on it (a clear metaphor for Brexit). However, a Scottish man (note the kilt, tartan, and tam o'shanter) tells him 'Hold it!'
EXPLANATION A majority of Scots (and Welsh, and Northern Irish) want to remain in the EU, so if the UK (i.e., the English) votes to leave the EU, that could trigger a second Scottish referendum and lead to the break-up of the UK. In which case, Scotland could apply to rejoin the EU (though it's not a foregone conclusion).
VOCABULARY If you tell someone to 'Hold it' you want them to stop doing what they are doing.
BACKGROUND Tourists could soon be blasting off for the stars from a Cornish spaceport. Plans to open Britain’s first commercial rocket launch site will be unveiled this week and Newquay is tipped to host it. Five more potential sites have been identified for the £150million spaceport — four in Scotland and one in Wales — but the Cornwall resort is favourite to become the first facility of its kind outside America. Wealthy space tourists could soon be blasting off from the futuristic new complex within four years – providing they can afford the tickets. Read more >>
THE CARTOON The cartoon shows an elderly Cornish couple. The man is sitting in an armchair drinking a beer and reading the newspaper, the front page of which features the spaceport story. His wife, who is wearing a spacesuit and is carrying a shopping bag, asks him, 'I'm just popping out m'dear. Is there anything you want in Australia?' A nice touch is that the dog is also wearing a spacesuit!
EXPLANATION With the spaceport, the woman is able to travel long distances in a short time, e.g., to Australia and back.
LANGUAGE 1. If someone pops out, they leave their current location for a brief time. • I'm just going to pop out for some coffee. 2. M'dear is the Cornish way of saying 'my dear'.
DESCRIPTION EnglishWaves est une radio généraliste, comme les grandes radios françaises d’information, mais… elle parle anglais, 100% anglais ! Avec EnglishWaves gagnez du temps, écoutez les infos françaises ainsi que les magazines d’actualité sur vos thèmes préférés et… progressez en anglais ! …et "icing on the cake", EnglishWaves est une radio positive qui parle aussi des bonnes nouvelles !
Il est facile aujourd’hui d’écouter des radios anglophones sur Internet, sur Smartphone, sur les écrans TV… Ces radios sont britanniques ou américaines, elles parlent très peu de la France et les présentateurs parlent un peu trop vite pour un auditoire français… EnglishWaves traitent des sujets qui intéressent les personnes résidant en France. L’élocution des animateurs est adaptée à des auditeurs non anglophones pour faciliter la compréhension et le perfectionnement de l’anglais.
COMMENT EnglishWaves is a great resource for any English learners interested in what's happening in France. A whole range of subjects are covered in programmes dealing with topics such as news, cooking, tech, and health. The live radio and the latest weekly shows are free as are the apps available for iOS, Android and Windows. Howver, there is a subscription option which offers older programmes with transcripts and different accents, and a business section. The overall quality is excellent and this is definitely a site worth checking out.