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Friday, 27 February  2009  Friday review

Today on our review episode we're going to go back through our week's stories.


We're going to listen to some unusual expressions, and think about what they might mean.

Let's start by going to the Northern Territory, to the mouth of the McArthur river.

MELINDA JAMES: The sea and its bounty are the lifeblood of the Yanyuwa or saltwater people. Their country stretches from the coastal area just North of Borroloola to these Islands known as the Sir Edward Pellew group near the mouth of the McArthur River. Most Yanyuwa people now live in and around the town of Borroloola.

Johnny Johnston and his extended family live on Vanderlin Island, the biggest in the Sir Edward Pellew group.

His uncle Steve Johnston is afraid that his family's way of life is under threat.

STEVE JOHNSTON: And if you're going to start polluting the river and the sea out here it won't be the same as what it used to be.

MELINDA JAMES: At the heart of Steve Johnston's concern is the McArthur River Mine. He says even though the mine is about a hundred kilometres inland, in times of flood, currents carry fresh river water right out to the islands.

So the story comes from the Northern Territory. The Yanyuwa people live around the mouth of the McArthur River, which flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The reporter says the sea is the lifeblood of the Yanyuwa people.

Lifeblood is an unusual expression. But it's quite easy to guess what it means. Lifeblood is the thing that gives life, so it's the most important thing in a person's life.

She's saying the sea is the most important thing in the Yanyuwa people's lives.

Listen to another expression that uses a part of the body.

MELINDA JAMES: At the heart of Steve Johnston's concern is the McArthur River Mine. He says even though the mine is about a hundred kilometres inland, in times of flood, currents carry fresh river water right out to the islands.

She says at the heart of his concern is the McArthur River mine.

At the heart of is another similar expression.

It also means at the centre of, the most important part of something.

Steve's main concern is the mine.

OK. Now let's have a look at the cooking competition. Listen for more unusual expressions here.

PETER LEWIS: Welcome to the pressure cooker world of an international culinary competition. Generally chefs enjoy a reputation for volatility matched only by dynamite, so a real-time battle of wits between precociously talented egotists from across the culinary and cultural spectrum might well be a recipe for disaster, right? Or wrong?

If this event is anything to go by, pressure also makes diamonds. The loud-mouthed bullies were weeded out in the elimination rounds, leaving a field of "snags" - sensitive new age gastronomes - to fight out the final. In fact, you barely heard anyone all weekend raise their voice above the whir of mixers and blenders.

He speaks in very flowery language.

He talks about pressure cookers, dynamite, diamonds, and snags.

This kind of language is fun, but it can be quite confusing as well.

He says the competition is a pressure cooker world.

A pressure cooker is a machine that cooks food under pressure. It works by building up steam inside.

People use the phrase 'pressure cooker' to give the feeling of a situation being very tense and a bit dangerous.

It's a situation that might just boil over at any time - like an international cooking competition.

He says chefs are thought of as having a volatility matched only by dynamite.

He means that they are thought to be as dangerous as dynamite - they can explode at any time.

Then he says that pressure also makes diamonds.

He means that the stress of the competition can actually bring out the best in people.

And what about the field of snags?

Well to an Australian, snags are usually sausages.

But he uses it as an acronym - to stand for a sensitive new age gastronome - a snag.

A gastronome is someone who loves good food.

So snags - sensitive new age gastronomes - are people who love good food, but are gentle and kind, not as dangerous as dynamite.

So the competition wasn't full of chefs who might explode at any time. It was full of a more gentle, sensitive kind of chef.

Listen again.

PETER LEWIS: Welcome to the pressure cooker world of an international culinary competition. Generally chefs enjoy a reputation for volatility matched only by dynamite, so a real-time battle of wits between precociously talented egotists from across the culinary and cultural spectrum might well be a recipe for disaster, right? Or wrong?

If this event is anything to go by, pressure also makes diamonds. The loud-mouthed bullies were weeded out in the elimination rounds, leaving a field of "snags" - sensitive new age gastronomes - to fight out the final. In fact, you barely heard anyone all weekend raise their voice above the whir of mixers and blenders.

OK. Now let's watch our final clip. We'll meet some people taking part in a Healthy Ageing program.

ALLAN DOBBIN, HEALTHY AGER: This is our sports area out here.

KATHY McLEISH: Allan Dobbin is a walking advertisement for healthy ageing.

ALLAN DOBBIN: You might think you're 80 but when you come out to Charleville you're only 50. That's how good it is out here. When you go out there and see all these people with their happy smiling faces you'll know I'm pretty right.

KATHY McLEISH: And 80 year old Bob Sommerfield says he is right. He joined healthy ageing after he retired from the land.

BOB SOMMERFIELD, HEALTHY AGER: I thought once I come to town I'd be bored and down to the pub and into trouble all the time, but now that I've come to the Healthy Ageing, that's been a lifesaver.

Allan says you think you're 80 but you're only 50. That sounds a bit confusing too.

But he means that even though you might be 80 years old, when you're part of the Healthy Ageing program you feel much younger - 30 years younger!

And I hope there are programs like that around when I'm 80.

That's all for this week's English Bites. Don't forget to go to our website for more.



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English Bites - Friday review
story notes

bounty
Here, a bounty means something given in large amounts. The seaís bounty refers to all the things they get from the sea.

lifeblood
Lifeblood means the most important thing in their lives or the thing that keeps them alive.

stretches
If land stretches from one place to another, it means it runs from, or it covers that amount of land.

Sir Edward Pellew
Sir Edward Pellew was an admiral in the British army. Matthew Flinders, a British explorer who sailed around the coast of Australia, named these islands after him. And the name has stayed. Of course, the Yanyuwa people have their own names for these islands as well.

McArthur River
The McArthur River is in the Northern Territory and flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria.

live
Follow the link below to listen to the ways we pronounce the word spelled l-i-v-e (live).
more information: live

family's
Notice the use of the possessive apostrophe. In the story there are four other uses of the possessive apostrophe. See if you can find them. If you want to know more about using the possessive apostrophe, follow the link to our language library below.
more information: possessive apostrophe

you're
Notice that the contracted form of you are is spelled with an apostrophe. Follow the link to our language library to find out more.
more information: your & you're

pressure cooker
A pressure cooker is a machine that cooks food under pressure. It works by building up steam inside. People use the phrase pressure cooker to give the feeling of a situation being very tense and a bit dangerous.

culinary
Culinary means related to cooking.

volatility
Volatility is the ability to change suddenly, to suddenly become angry. Chefs are known for being able to change their moods very quickly Ė and to get angry very easily.

matched only by dynamite
He means that they are thought to be as dangerous as dynamite - they can explode at any time.

recipe for disaster
A recipe is a set of instructions, something that tells you all the right ingredients. A recipe for disaster is a situation that has all the ingredients for a disaster - itís likely to go wrong.

Example: Your idea sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

pressure also makes diamonds
He means that the stress of the competition can actually bring out the best in people.

weeded out
got rid of the unwanted, while leaving the most desirable

Example: The exam will weed out the less able students.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

field of "snags"
Here field means all the people in a competition. It was a field of snags - a competition full of snags. But whatís a snag? Well to an Australian, itís usually a sausage. But he uses it as an acronym - to mean a sensitive new age gastronome.
A gastronome is someone who loves good food.

fight out
To fight out is to compete until someone wins.

heard
Here heard is the past tense of the irregular verb hear. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: hear

walking advertisement
Someone who is a walking advertisement for something demonstates that it works.

Example: He's a walking advertisement for the benefits of regular exercise.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

ageing
This word (ageing) is an exception to the rule that when you add 'ing' to a word ending in 'e', you drop the 'e'.
more information: spelling ing

Charleville
Charleville is a small town in south western Queensland, in the outback.
spotlight

What expression means the centre of, or the most important part of something?

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