Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
On today’s program we talk about the word “field.” But which one? There are many different kinds of fields.
First, we will talk about fields in which you can work.
A common question when you first meet someone in the States is, “What field do you work in?” or simply “What is your field?” Work fields are usually general. For example, if you are a doctor you would answer that you work in the medical field. A lawyer is in the legal field. And a marketing specialist’s field is business.
If you are a farmer, you might work in another kind of field --an area of open land planted with crops. Some farmers work in the fields from sunup to sundown.
Now, another kind of field is also outside but we use this one for sports activities. And this type of field has led to several common expressions.
Fair play is an issue in most sports. No one wants to watch or play a game in which one team has an unfair advantage over another. Everyone wants a level playing field -- but not just in sports.
We use this expression anytime fairness is important. A level playing field is when the conditions of competition are fair or even. Everyone has the same shot at winning.
This expression comes from the fact that for a sports field to be fair, it must be the same for both teams. It would be unfair if one team had to play on a rocky, uneven part of a field while the other team played on smooth ground.
In “level playing field,” the word “level” is an adjective. But we can also use it as a verb. So, if you level the playing field, you have done a good thing! You have given everyone equal conditions for success.
Now, let’s go back to sports, in particular baseball.
When playing baseball, the infielders and outfielders are the ones who field the balls. They catch the balls hit or thrown in the field and then make the best play they can. So, we can say they are playing in the field.
However, they are not playing the field. That is something completely different!
Playing the field has nothing to do with sports. We use it mostly to talk about dating. Someone who plays the field is romantically involved with more than one person.
Play the field
You gotta look around
Lovin’ is so real
Don't just settle down
Just play the field
(Debbie Gibson, “Play the Field”)
The expression comes from horse racing.
The horses in a race are “the field.” And in that field of horses there are the favorites-- those considered most likely to win. And there are long shots -- those less likely to win. Long shots are riskier to bet on, but they pay more money if they win. So gamblers often bet on other horses other than the favorite. They would play the field -- or several horses in the race.
Maybe you have heard of this expression before or maybe it came out of left field. “To come out of left field” or simply “out of left field is another baseball term. It means something is a surprise to you. You were not expecting it at all! Other times it can describe something strange or odd.
Word experts dispute its exact origin. One possibility comes from how a baseball player scores. A runner on third base -- in position to score at home plate -- has his back to left field. As he runs home to score, he cannot see the ball thrown into home base by the left fielder. And then -- surprise! -- he’s out at home plate!
I hope you have enjoyed today’s show on-field expressions. And, believe me, there are others. We could have a field day with the subject!
But, that will have to be another day!
Until next time … I’m Anna Matteo!
When suddenly out of the left field
Out of the left field, out of left field.... love came along…
(Hank Williams Jr., “Out of Left Field”)
Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
general – adj. relating to the main or major parts of something rather than the details: not specific
advantage – n. something (such as a good position or condition) that helps to make someone or something better or more likely to succeed than others
romantically – adv. in a way that involves love between two people
odd – adj. strange or unusual: different from what is normal or expected
News Literacy Introduction: News Through Time
Today we are at the Newseum in Washington D.C. – where the history of free expression is explained and defended.
The first printing presses arrived in the United States in the mid-1600s, marking an important step in the history of America’s free press.
A free press is important in a democratic society. It allows citizens to speak freely and criticize the country's leaders without fear. Some journalists have even lost their lives for that right.
But, it can also lead to the news that is false. Last year, a fake news story about a Washington pizza restaurant went viral, causing a gunman to open fire at the business.
One of the most common terms we hear today is “fake news.” The public and politicians use it to talk about the news reports they do not think are accurate.
While people have paid much attention to the term in recent years, the problem is not new. False news reports have been around since modern journalism started.
Today, information moves around us in many forms, every hour of every day. Even if we do not seek out news on our own, we often receive it anyway, instantly, on our phones.
So how can we manage this mountain of information so that fake news does not mislead us?
We believe this requires news literacy. News literacy is the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge news reports. Are they credible? Can you rely on the reports to be true?
We use real media examples to teach useful skills and methods to recognize journalism over other kinds of information. We examine the differences between facts and what people report in the mediaas truth.
The course provides tools to identify real and reliable news sources. And, it demonstrates ways to separate news from opinion.
Professors at Stony Brook University in New York created the News Literacy education program. We will share it with you in simple English on VOA Learning English.
The need for news literacy is possibly greater now than ever before. Learning this important skill can give us the power to take full control of our own search for the truth.
Because as we’ve seen many times before, some news presented as truth can actually turn out to be completely false.
This lesson is based on the News Literacy course at the Center for News Literacy at Stony Brook University. For more information on how to become a news literate citizen, go to http://www.centerfornewsliteracy.org/getting-started/
Words in This Story
fake - adj. not true or real
accurate - adj. free from mistakes or errors
mislead - v. to cause someone to believe something that is not true
consumers - n. people who buy things
media - n. television, newspapers and other sources of information
reliable - adj. able to be trusted to do what is necessary
Unit 1: English In A Minute
Give us a minute and we'll give you English
Welcome to English In A Minute. Give us a minute and we'll give you a hot tip about English. Grammar, vocabulary... there's so much to learn! And all taught by your favourite BBC Learning English staff!
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All together vs Altogether
Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? Phil's altogether pleased to be able to explain all together and altogether. Give us 60 seconds and we'll give you the English!
Watch the video and complete the activity
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All together vs Altogether
All together and altogether are pronounced the same.
All together means 'everything or everyone being or doing something together with everything or everyone else'.
- Let's sing all together!
- Put the vegetetables in the bowl and mix them all together.
- Keeping all together, they ran to the top of the hill.
Altogether means 'completely' or 'entirely'.
- My brother has an altogether different personality to me.
- I think this is an altogether topic. Could we return to the meeting please?
- Altogether, it wasn't a bad holiday!
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English In A Minute Quiz
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Japanese students bring cultural discipline to Brunei
Breaking News May 12, 2019 01:00
By Borneo Bulletin
Asia News Network
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Two Japanese under-graduates studying at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) went viral on social media, after being spotted picking up litter around the UBD Campus yesterday morning.
When asked why they were doing this, they said that in Japan, it has become a habit for people to carry plastic bags and clean up litter voluntarily.
One reader identifying himself as Haji Ismail said, “The Japanese are trained from a young age to clean up things around them, and it’s also part of their school curriculum. This is an effective way to nurture children, apart from training and education at home. Over time, it has become ingrained in their culture.”
China, US give conflicting reports on trade talks
Beijing has remained optimistic about resolving the trade war, while Washington has doubled down on tariffs. China's chief negotiator warned, however, that there were some lines the country wouldn't cross.
China remained positive about trade talks with the US on Saturday, despite Washington imposing a new round of tariffs. Vice Premier Liu He warned, however, that there were "issues of principle" at stake.
"Negotiations have not broken down," said Liu, China's chief negotiator in the talks. "Quite the opposite, I think small setbacks are normal and inevitable during the negotiations of both countries. Looking forward, we are still cautiously optimistic."
Liu's comments clashed with those of US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who told broadcaster CNBC on Friday that there were currently no trade talks scheduled with Beijing.
US imposes new tariffs on Chinese goods
Trump: China 'beaten so badly'
US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had beaten China "so badly" that they probably weren't interested in returning to the negotiating table before the 2020 election.
On Friday, Washington once again escalated its trade war by adding levies to $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
But Chinese analysts warned that the US was perhaps not prepared for what their country was willing to withstand.
An editorial in the nationalist Global Times tabloid added that now, Washington had almost no leverage left.
"The U.S. has misunderstood the interests of both sides, and seriously underestimated China's endurance," the newspaper wrote.
"China's confidence and core concerns will by no means be weakened by tariff hikes."
TRUMP'S TARIFFS AND WHO THEY TARGET
On Friday, May 10, 2019, President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on $200 billion (€178 billion) worth of Chinese goods. The move raised tariffs from 10% to 25% on a range of consumer products, including cell phone, computers, and toys. China's Commerce Ministry said it "deeply regrets" the US decision.
May 12, 2019