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  • The conflict in Ukraine continues.

  • This is News Review from BBC Learning English.

  • I'm Rob and joining me to talk about the language

  • being used in the headlines about this story

  • is Roy. Hello Roy.

  • Hello Rob and hello everyone.

  • Now, Russia is continuing to attack Ukraine

  • after launching a devastating attack last week.

  • Russian troops have taken over parts of Eastern Ukraine

  • and are attempting to control the... the country's capital Kyiv

  • but Ukrainian forces are offering strong resistance.

  • As the number of dead climbs,

  • President Putin stands accused of shattering peace in Europe.

  • Yeah. Well, the situation is changing fast

  • but we're going to look at three words and expressions

  • from current news headlines that can help you understand

  • how the conflict is being reported in English.

  • What are your three words and expressions, Roy?

  • We have 'spiral', 'free fall' and 'rising to'.

  • That's 'spiral', 'free fall' and 'rising to'.

  • OK. Let's have a look at your first news headline please.

  • OK. So, our first headline comes from ReliefWeb and it reads:

  • That's 'spiral' — quickly become worse.

  • OK. So, 'spiral' is spelt S-P-I-R-A-L

  • and it is being used as a verb

  • and it means to quickly become or get worse.

  • I've heard about this word 'spiral' in terms of a shape:

  • it's lots of circles together, isn't it?

  • That's correct. Now, let's talk about that idea of 'spiral' as a shape.

  • So, it's basically circles going round and round.

  • Now, we talk about it in terms of a 'spiral' staircase.

  • So, it's a staircase that you walk down and it goes round and round and round.

  • And we also have notebooks that have — a 'spiral-bound' notebook

  • that have these kind of metal circles that keep all of the pages together.

  • That's the idea of a 'spiral' —

  • or as an adjective: 'spiral' staircase, 'spiral-bound' book

  • but we're not talking about the shape in the headline.

  • We're talking about a situation and if a situation 'spirals',

  • it means that it is getting worse very, very quickly.

  • So, we can talk about prices 'spiralling',

  • the price of oil 'spiralling'. It's getting worse.

  • The situation is getting worse.

  • Yeah. I mean, we'll talk about those prices in a second,

  • but when we talk about a 'spiralling' situation

  • for example, an argument between two people.

  • If it gets worse and worse and worse,

  • the argument starts off small and it just becomes incredibly big,

  • we can say it's 'spiralling' out of control.

  • It's getting worse and worse and worse.

  • Now, you talked there about prices, the price of things.

  • When we talk about the price of things 'spiralling',

  • we often mean that the price is increasing

  • and going up very, very rapidly.

  • So, you talked about the price of oil.

  • Now, the situation is worse because things are more expensive

  • but the price 'spiralling', or 'spiralling' out of control,

  • means that it is becoming very expensive, very quickly.

  • Thanks for that, Roy. Let's have a summary:

  • Let's have a look at your second headline now please, Roy.

  • OK. So, our second headline is from the Telegraph and it reads:

  • That's 'free fall' — uncontrolled drop in value or strength.

  • OK. So, 'free fall' is commonly seen in dictionaries as two words:

  • F-R-E-E.

  • Second word: F-A-L-L.

  • But you will and you can see it in some cases as one word

  • for example, in the headline

  • and it's commonly used as one word in the...

  • in the expression 'in freefall'.

  • And what it means is that something is falling very, very quickly

  • or dropping very, very quickly without control.

  • A literal meaning, I guess, would be somebody with a parachute:

  • if they jumped out of an aeroplane with a parachute, they would drop down.

  • They would free-fall, wouldn't they?

  • They would drop down, gravity pulling them down to the earth.

  • Yeah, commonly when you're talking about that,

  • it's before they open their parachute.

  • So, they don't open their parachute and they jump and they just fallfree-fall:

  • there is nothing to stop them falling.

  • When they open their parachute, they're no longer 'in free fall',

  • but we're not talking about the literal meaning of 'free fall' here;

  • we're talking, sort of, more about prices and things like this,

  • or in the case of the headline the economy in 'free fall'.

  • It is dropping... the value of something is dropping very, very quickly.

  • Sometimes we can say 'dropping like a stone' as well.

  • Yeah, commonly when you're talking about the value of something

  • for example, stocks or shares.

  • If... if shares on the stock market just fall very rapidly

  • the value of them fallswe can say it's 'dropping like a stone'

  • because obviously a stone is very heavy and it drops,

  • but we wouldn't normally say the 'economy is dropping like a stone';

  • it's normally for individual things.

  • And just to clarify then, to 'free-fall':

  • it's kind of non-stop. It can't be stopped.

  • Absolutely. There's nothere's nothing that you can do to stop it,

  • or that's the feelingthat it's out of control.

  • The drop is just out of control and you can't stop it falling.

  • Yeah. OK. Thanks for that, Roy. Let's have a summary:

  • OK. Roy, can we now have a look at your third headline please?

  • OK. So, our third headline comes from BBC News and it reads:

  • 'Rising to' — working hard to overcome a difficult situation.

  • OK. So, this is 'rising to'.

  • It is a phrasal verb. First word: R-I-S-I-N-G.

  • Second word: 'to' — T-O.

  • Now, if you 'rise to' somethingif you 'rise to' something,

  • it basically means that you make a lot of effort to meet a challenge

  • or a problem or a situationto overcome that situation.

  • So, here we're talking about the Ukraine's president,

  • who used to be an actor and comedian.

  • Now he's... he's working hard to protect the freedom of his country, I guess.

  • Yeah. So, the moment that we're talking about

  • the 'rising to' the moment in this sense

  • is the attack on Ukraine and we talk about...

  • Commonly we hear this expression 'rise to the challenge'.

  • So, it's doing something that you wouldn't normally do

  • to, kind of, overcome this situation.

  • There's another phrasal verb when you 'rise to' something, isn't there?

  • When we react to something in a way that...

  • in a way that someone wants you to.

  • So, you know, especially by coming... by becoming angry:

  • they're trying to get a reaction from you and you might 'rise to' it.

  • Yeah. Now, this is a slightly different meaning.

  • If you continually try to provoke me

  • and you try to make me angry and I stay calm

  • but eventually I just, kind of, snap, then I 'rise to' it.

  • I 'rise to' your, kind of, provocations.

  • However, in the headline we're not talking about me becoming angry

  • or somebody becoming angry; we're talking about meeting a challenge.

  • There is a challenge or a situation that needs to be overcome,

  • that needs to be dealt withfor example, in the...

  • in the headline it's talking about the attack

  • and the president and the country is rising to that situation.

  • They are meeting that challenge.

  • Can we sometimes say you're 'stepping up to' the challenge as well?

  • Yeah. You can, yeah.

  • OK. That's great. OK. Let's have a summary then:

  • OK. Roy, it's time now for you to recap

  • the words and expressions we've discussed today.

  • OK. So, we had 'spiral' — quickly become worse.

  • We had 'free fall' — uncontrolled drop in value or strength.

  • And we had 'rising to' — working hard to overcome a difficult situation.

  • Thanks, Roy. Now, as I said, the situation is changing rapidly

  • and these were the news headlines at the time of recording this programme.

  • And we've reached the end of News Review for today.

  • Thank you so much for watching.

  • Do join us again next time. Bye for now.

  • Bye.

The conflict in Ukraine continues.

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Ukraine conflict continues - BBC News Review

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