English Skill Building – 111
Learn good English Vocabulary
1. A woman burst onto the set of Russian state TV’s flagship evening news program, chanting “stop the war” and denouncing government “propaganda” — a striking moment of public protest as the Kremlin cracks down on any criticism of its invasion of Ukraine. Human rights group OVD-Info identified the woman as an editor and producer with the broadcaster, and said she has been detained. Before storming the set of Channel One, she recorded a video message, saying “What is going on in Ukraine is a crime.” [Source: Washington Post]
Read the above paragraph, and note the words and phrasal verbs in bold. Can you suggest alternatives for them?
[Burst into, Flagship, Striking, Storming]
Burst into – Stormed into, Barged into,
Flagship – Prime time, Signature as adjective
Striking – Stunning, Startling
Storming – Rushing
2. Ukrainian Refugees’ Journeys Have Just Begun
On arriving in Poland, people fleeing the Russian invasion weigh where to go next. [Source: NYT]
When the Polish photographer Rafał Milach took these pictures, on his country’s eastern border, the war in Ukraine was less than a week old. During that week, nearly a million people fled Ukraine, half a million of them escaping to Poland. (Both numbers have since doubled.) It was freezing along the border. Before refugees crossed to safety, they endured delays of many hours, or even a few days: in cars, in trains, on foot. The first quality that stands out in these portraits is the exhaustion in people’s faces. The muted colors in the background—the pewter sky, the drab pastel walls, the dead white of the bus—seem to sympathize.
I witnessed Milach at work, and was struck by how long he talked with each refugee before taking a photograph. He wanted to hear their stories. “What can you do when a grown man starts to cry in front of you?” he said to me. “What can you do when people tell you how they had to abandon their homes and their relatives overnight? I can listen. I can document it—to remember, so the images and words can resonate long after this nightmare is over.”
Despite the heartrending situation, these photographs are full of life. There is sadness in them, but also defiance. The man in the blue jacket is Sher Alkroi, a Syrian citizen. He left his native country in 1996, and ended up in Ukraine, where he owns a furniture business. Alkroi fled his home, in Kharkiv, near the Russian border, when fighting began. He told Milach, “We didn’t take anything—the children, that’s it. We didn’t take any money—the banks were closing, we could not withdraw money, our money was left in the office. We do not have anything, we left. We have enough money only for gas.
Read the above paragraph, and note the words and phrasal verbs in bold. Can you suggest alternatives to them?
[Weigh (in metaphoric sense), It was freezing in the border, Crossed to safety, Endure, Stand out, Muted, Pewter, Drab pastel, Seem to sympathize, Abandon, Resonate, Heartrending, Photographs are full of life, Defiance, End up]
Weigh – It means to think about the pros and cons of a certain idea.
Freezing in the border – It means ‘bitingly cold’.
Crossed to safety – It means ‘to go over to a safe place’.
Endure – It means ‘to suffer something unpleasant’
Stand out – It means ‘to be conspicuous or attention-catching’.
Muted – It means ‘made softer, more silent’.
Pewter – It means ‘bluish white’.
Drab pastel – It means ‘dull pastel color’.
Seem to sympathize – The author refers to the landscape around the place that seems so dull and lifeless, as if sympathizing with the plight of the refugees.
Abandon – To leave behind something. In this case, the refugees have left behind their homes, belongings, and even relations.
Resonate – It means something that remains actively in the mind for a long time.
Photographs are full of life – It means, “The photos depict something that’s so close to real life.”
End up – Phrasal verb – It means to reach a certain position, place or situation.