Almanac – 14 August 2010 – Saturday

Read the text first, then listen to the audio at the bottom of the page.

Good Morning!

It is the fourteenth of August 2010. It is Saturday.

THE WEATHER (from Mt Tamborine)

It is fine.
The sky is clear.
It is not windy.
Yesterday the wind died down in the afternoon and today there is no wind.
It is clear and completely still.

Look at these opposites:

The wind picked up.
The wind died down.

The first one means:

The wind increased.

The second one means:

The wind decreased.

Now I want you to tell me about the weather where you are. What is the weather like where you are? Answer this question. Say your answer aloud.
What is the weather like today?

Now write an answer. What is the weather like today in your area? (Post the answer below in the “comments” section)


Here is a current news headline:

Tribal leaders ‘abducted and interrogated’ over opposition to new mine

In “news headline English” we use a past participle instead of a present perfect passive phrase so

have been abducted

becomes simply



have been interrogated

becomes simply


We also leave out “quantity” or “number” words so all of these phrases:

two tribal elders
some tribal elders
many tribal elders
most tribal elders
all tribal elders
a dozen tribal elders

can be replaced by simply:

tribal elders

Look at these phrases:

opposition to the mine
opposition from tribal groups
leader of the opposition

Two tribal elders of the Kondha tribe in Orissa State were arrested and intimidated by police for protesting against the planned construction of a new mine. The Orissa Mining Corporation which is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources is planning to construct a bauxite mine in the Orissa hills. The Kondha people worship the hills as their god.

Look at this variation of the text, which describes a similar situation in Australia:

Tribal elders of the Mbabaram language group in Queensland State were arrested and intimidated by police for protesting against the planned construction of a new mine. The Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation which was a beneficiary of the Queensland Government was planning to construct a bauxite mine in the hills of Cape York Peninsula. The Mbabaram people worshiped the hills as their god.

Compare and contrast the two versions. Use this language:

the first text refers to…but the second text refers to…..
a bauxite mine
a new mine
Vedanta Resources
the Orissa Mining Corporation
the Queensland Government
the past
the present
indigenous people
the exploitation of indigenous people
the intimidation of indigenous people
both texts refer to…

Post your answer in the “comments section below but first answer the question orally:

How do the two texts differ?

Look at another headline:

Bodies found in lake may be missing Muslims

When we use “news headline English” we simplify.

“the bodies which were found in the lake”


“bodies found in lake”

About fifty human bodies have been found in a lake on the Serbian/Bosnian border. They are believed to be the corpses of Bosnian Muslims who disappeared from a nearby village in the 1990s. They were victims of ethnic cleansing.

Look at another headline:

Relocation starts

Headlines are like notes. They are short forms or abbreviations. The headline is followed by a longer version of the same basic information with the details filled in.

Almost half a million people are to be relocated from Henan and Hubei Provinces for another Yangtze River Dam project. North China has only twenty per cent of China’s water but it has sixty-four per cent of the arable land and huge cities like Beijing and Tianjin.

Look at these phrases:

almost half a million
just under half a million
not quite half a million

Look at their opposite:

just over half a million

There is only one phrase. Now look at this scale:

all of the arable land.
almost all of the arable land
much of the arable land
a lot of the arable land
some of the arable land
a little of the arable land

“Arable land” means “agricultural land”.

News and weather Summary

Now listen to a summary. If you do not understand everything you hear, go back and read the text again. Look up all the new words in the dictionary.

Download audio file (nw140810.mp3)