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Academic English

“Battle at the Front – Script”

Listening Exercise

Listen to the recording and read along with the conversation. Review the key vocabulary and the sample sentences.

Newscaster: We interrupt our regular scheduled news program to bring you live up-to-date coverage on the civil unrest in the newly formed country of Karnak, where our man Stan Fielding is stationed. Stan . . .

Stan: This is Stan Fielding reporting live from the outskirts of the capitol city. Just 20 minutes ago, rebel forces launched the biggest offensive against the ruling government in the 18-month conflict here in this country.

Newscaster: Now Stan, is this a sign that the peace process has been totally abandoned?

Stan: Well, Bob, so far, peace negotiations have failed, and any resolution to quell the civil war appears bleak at this point. As you can see . . . Whoa.

Newscaster: Stan, Stan, are you there?

Stan: Uh, yes, Bob. As you can probably hear behind me, rebel forces are also using heavy artillery to pound government strongholds around the city center. Rebel forces are closing in, and it’s feared that they will be able to take the capitol building before sunup, where it is believed, many government officials are holding out.

Newscaster: Now, besides the heavy fighting, what other pressing concerns are there for the citizens of the city?

Stan: Well, since the beginning of the conflict, starvation, clean water, and adequate shelter have been the biggest daily obstacles facing the citizens of this torn country. It is believed that over 40,000 people, mostly children, have starved to death. Land mines have claimed countless other lives. Fortunately, no epidemics have broken out, but that is always a concern if this war lingers on.

Newscaster: Okay, that was Stan Fielding reporting. And we’ll keep you up-to-date as this story continues to unfold.

Vocabulary and Sample Sentences

  • unrest (noun): dissatisfaction or anger against society or political parties
    – Political unrest has caused instability in that region of the world.
  • stationed (verb): to be assigned to a particular place like in the military
    – My father was stationed in Germany for two years with the airforce.
  • outskirts (noun): the outer area of a city
    – Often, the outskirts of the city are the most peaceful.
  • launch (verb): start
    – The vice-president decided to launch his election campaign last week.
  • abandon (verb): to stop or give up on something
    – The ruling government abandoned its decision to raise taxes further because of voter discontent.
  • quell (verb): to put down or end
    – The military used force to quell social unrest.
  • bleak (adjective): hopeless
    – The economy looks very bleak at this point with sky-high inflation and unemployment at 27 percent.
  • artillery (noun): large guns, often on wheels, used by armies
    – Developing countries in that region are increasing their stockpiles of artillery as a way to demonstrate their military muscle.
  • strongholds (noun): strongly defended places
    – The army attacked the enemy’s strongholds just before dawn.
  • starvation (noun): a state of extreme hunger which can lead to death
    – Thousands of people are on the verge of starvation in that country.
  • adequate (adjective): enough
    – If adequate food supplies do not become available, many people will not survive the winter.
  • shelter (noun): a place, like a house, that provides protection from danger or weather
    – We need to seek shelter before the storm.
  • epidemics (noun): a sudden and widespread start of an infectious disease among many people
    – There has been an epidemic of malaria for the past three months.
  • linger on (verb): continues slowly on
    – The conflict has lingered on for more than three years.
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