This week in Perfect English with Danny Podcast, we will be talking about global problems. We will talk about natural disasters, the verbs we use with natural disasters, the people involved in disasters and finally the top ten global problems.
Episode 138 – Global Problems – People Involved in Disasters
Episode 138 Transcript
Hello and welcome to another episode from Perfect English with Danny. Today we will continue talking about our theme for this week, global problems. We have talked so far about natural disasters. We talked about the words: famine, landslide, drought, epidemic, explosion, hurricane, earthquake, flood, volcano, avalanche and many other words related to these disasters. If you didn’t have the chance to listen to these two episodes, they’re episodes 136 and 137, so check them out if you like.
In this episode, we will focus on the people involved in disasters or tragedies.
But before we start, let me remind you that in order to make things more understandable, we will translate the keywords into as many languages as possible in the show and in the link you will find in the description of the episode, you can find the translations into 62 languages and today’s episode transcript. There are also the interactive and downloadable activities at the end of the week. These are very useful to retain the new words you learn and add them to your active vocabulary bank.
So, without further ado, let’s get cracking.
Hi Ben, are we ready to talk about people involved in disasters or tragedies?
Yes, but first, I think we should talk quickly about some verbs we use with disasters. I have here some headlines about some disasters where they used these verbs. I think our listeners need to know about them. How about I read the headlines and you explain the verbs?
Sounds like a good idea.
All right. Here goes our first headline. “A volcano erupted in Indonesia.”
All right, so the verb here is erupt. We use this verb specifically with volcanoes. When a volcano erupts, it throws out a lot of hot, melted rock called lava, as well as ash and steam.
Can we use erupt in other contexts as well?
Actually, we can. If violence or fighting erupts, it suddenly begins or gets worse in an unexpected, violent way. And When people in a place suddenly become angry or violent, you can say that they erupt or that the place erupts. But as far as natural disasters are concerned, we mainly use erupt with volcanoes.
Great! Now our second headline. “Hundreds are feared dead.”
Well, the special verb we have here is fear. You see when we say hundreds are feared dead, wounded or lost, the use of the verb fear is a little bit different than usual. Usually, If you fear someone or something, you are frightened because you think that they will harm you. But in this context, it is a little different. If you fear something unpleasant or undesirable, you are worried that it might happen or might have happened, just like in this headline, “Hundreds are feared dead”. What we are trying to say here is that we are worried that this might have happened, and that hundreds of people may actually be dead. Let me just mention something important when we use expressions like these. Whenever you want to talk about a fact you are 100% sure of, don’t use any of these expressions or modal verbs, such as may, might or could. When you know something for a fact, just say what happened. For example, if the newspaper was sure that hundreds of people were dead, they would simply say. Hundreds are dead, not may be dead, could be dead or feared dead. You see, we use these expressions when we are not 100 percent sure of what happened. However, that is a big topic in English. I think we should dedicate a couple of episodes to cover it.
I guess so. Maybe, we should include it in the weeks to come, but now let’s return to our headlines, and let’s make it quick because we still need to talk about the people involved in disasters.
Yes, you’re right. I promise, I won’t get off the topic. What’s your next headline?
“The flu epidemic spread rapidly throughout the country.”
So, our verb here is spread, and it is used with epidemics. If something spreads or is spread by people, it gradually reaches or affects a larger and larger area or more and more people.
That’s great! Now our next headline is, “Millions are starving as a result of the famine.”
Yeah, the verb is starve, and If people starve, they suffer greatly from lack of food which sometimes leads to their death. A tragic way to die, especially when you see the huge amount of food waste in richer countries. Anyway, our word is starve and that’s usually what happens to people when there is a famine.
OK, our next headline is, “A big earthquake shook the city at noon today.”
All right, the verb here is shook, which is the past form of shake. This verb is usually used with the word earthquake, but of course it can be used in different contexts with many different meanings, but in our context here, if a force shakes something, or if something shakes, it moves from side to side or up and down with quick, small, but sometimes violent movements, just like what happens in an earthquake.
All right, our next headlines is, “This area is suffering its worst drought for many years.”
Well, the verb here is suffer. We usually suffer bad, harmful or painful things or conditions. Just like this area that is suffering a drought. We usually use suffer with an illness or a bad condition; in our case here, it is a drought.
OK, I have two more headings. “Civil war has broken out in the north of the country.”
Well, our verb here is break out, which is a phrasal verb. We use break out with wars, fighting or even diseases if we want to say that something begins suddenly. In our example, civil war suddenly began in the north of the country.
All right, now for our last headline, “A tornado swept through the islands yesterday.”
We use the verb sweep with storms in general, in our case, it is a tornado, but you can use sweep with a hurricane, typhoon, or cyclone. If wind, a stormy sea, or another strong force sweeps someone or something, it moves them quickly. Of course, in the case of severe storms, that means devastation and destruction.
All right. So, we are done with the verbs we can use with disasters. Now let’s move on to talk about people involved in disasters. I have some headlines about that, too. Would you like us to continue doing this for people involved in disasters?
Yeah, sure. It’s a good idea to look at words in context and figure out what these words means. Fire away.
OK. “The explosion resulted in 300 casualties.”
All right, so our first keyword today is casualty, C A S U A L T Y. Well, A casualty is a person who is injured or killed in a war or in an accident. We usually use the word in plural, we say casualties, but sometimes it can be used in singular if we are talking about only one casualty. Now talking about this, I remember a very insightful quote by Aeschylus, “The first casualty of war is truth.” Which is, unfortunately, so true.
“The first casualty of war is truth.” Wow, that is so true. So, our word is casualty:
Portuguese: vítima de acidente
Now before we move on to the next word, I have to say that the word victim is also used in a very similar fashion to talk about someone who has been hurt or killed. We usually use casualty in a general way, just like the headline you mentioned, “The explosion resulted in 300 casualties.” We don’t usually use the word victims in this context, although it has the same meaning. We use it in more specific sentences when we are not only counting casualties. For example, the real victims of civil war are children left without parents.
We use victim instead of casualty when we talk about a crime. For example, we say he or she was the victim of a hideous murder. We don’t usually use casualty in this context.
Yeah, that’s right. And we say for example, victims of racial prejudice. We don’t say casualties because we are not talking about injured or dead people. We are talking about emotionally hurt people.
Well, this kind of damage is way stronger than physical damage.
I agree, but people think you get hurt only when they see blood .
That’s right, so let’s move on to our next keyword. “There were only three survivors. All the other passengers were reported dead.”
All right. Survivor, S U R V I V O R. A survivor of a disaster, accident, or illness is someone who continues to live afterwards in spite of coming close to death. Like the survivors of a plane crash, but we can use survivor in a different meaning as well. A survivor of a very unpleasant experience is a person who has had such an experience, and who is still affected by it. For example, ‘This book is written with survivors of child sexual abuse in mind.’ This one is no less tragic than a plane crash. Actually, it’s much worse.
So our word is survivor:
Perfect. Now what’s next?
“Thousands of refugees have crossed the border looking for food and shelter.”
So, our keyword is refugee R E F U G E E. Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their homes or their country, either because there is a war there or because of their political or religious beliefs.
And refugee is:
Now we have our last headline for today, “Millions of migrants enter the country every year, looking for a better life.”
So, our keyword is migrant M I G R A N T. A migrant is a person who moves from one place to another, or from one country to another, especially in order to find work. He or she usually does that because of the low standards of living in their own countries, so they migrate in search for a better life. So, it is not like refugees who are forced to leave their countries usually because of war, migrants kind of voluntarily leave their country.
But sometimes, I feel that migrants are as forced to leave their countries as refugees.
You have a point here, it is difficult to endure injustice and corruption in your own country, so that can force you to leave, but as a word, migrant is done voluntarily.
Yeah sure, so our word is migrant:
All right. I think we have covered a lot of ground today.
Yes, we did. We talked about the verbs that collocate with disasters and the people involved in disasters or tragedies.
Thank you very much, Ben for helping me out today. Remember that you can practice these words by the end of the week with our interactive and downloadable activities that will be available at the end of the week and will include all the keywords we talk about during the week.
Also, do not forget that we will include the translations of the keywords we talked about today in 62 languages you will find along with the transcript of this episode if you click the link you can find in the description of the episode.
This is Danny and Ben saying thank you very much for listening to another episode from Perfect English with Danny. We will see you in the next episode.
Episode 138 Keyword Translations into 62 Languages
|Korean||사상자 수||살아남은 사람||피난 자||이주자|
|Malay||mangsa||yang masih hidup||pelarian||asing|
|Serbian||жртва||преживели||избеглица||који се сели|
|Tamil||விபத்துக்||உயிர் பிழைத்தவர்||அகதி||புலம் பெயர்ந்த|
|Urdu||گرے||زندہ بچنے والے||پناہ گزین||مہاجر|
|Vietnamese||tai nạn||người sống sót||người tị nạn||nhập cư|