You may have been following the political debates in the news these days, and maybe some of it didn’t make much sense to you. Politics is often a difficult topic to talk about because people have very different ideas of what is good and bad, and many terms are misunderstood or misused. In this lesson, I will make sense of political vocabulary, so that you can start understanding the news, and have conversations that make sense. In particular, I will focus on the tems “left wing” and “right wing”. You’ll hear these often, and it’s important that you understand where these terms come from and what they mean exactly. No matter what you believe, it’s not as simple as good and evil! Beware: not everyone will agree with you, so keep an open mind and discuss your ideas politely. Politics can be fun and interesting if you keep this in mind!
Next, watch these other lessons on political vocabulary in English:
Talking about Politics in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2jBsmGKwLs
Political Vocabulary and Expressions in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NIcll5RErg
Take the quiz on this lesson here! http://www.engvid.com/talking-about-politics-left-wing-right-wing/
I left my heart in San Francis-… Hi. James from engVid. I’d like to do a lesson today with you on politics. I know, you’re used to grammar and vocabulary, but it’s always good to expand your horizons, that means your learning abilities and look at things that you may not need today but you will need in the future, especially when you have, you know, educated conversations. In your own languages you often speak about religion, politics, sexual relations, and in this lesson what I want to teach you is a way to understand English terms, what they mean to us when we hear them and what we’re trying to tell you when we’re saying them. That way you can get into political conversations, and that doesn’t mean, you know, who’s right, who’s wrong, but be able to explain where you’re from, what it’s like, and where we’re from and maybe understand each other a little better. Are you ready? Let’s go to the board.
I said I left my heart in San Francisco. There’s a reason for it. Notice E says: “I’m a lefty.” Quick story for you so you understand. A long time ago back in England there were two houses. There’s the queen, I’m sure you probably know that England has a queen, and they let the common people vote and there would be one side where the people with title, or princes, and counts, and dukes would sit; another side where the common people would sit. I’m wondering if you can figure out which side which sat. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I know, difficult. Let me explain. So if you were the king or queen you sat in the middle, and you’d have your nobles, that’s your knights, your kings, your dukes, your princes, barons; on the other side the common people. Well, I’ll let you know. This is my right side. On the right side the barons, and the kings, and the dukes would sit; on the left side would be the common people. After a while what happened was people started referring to people on politics as right and left. Why? Because on the right side, the nobles, the kings, the princes, they wanted things to stay the same. They liked what they had, they didn’t want to have anything to change. Of course, the common people who are on the left side, they were the ones who had money and they were paying for things and not really seeing things change, and they were like: “Hey, if we’re paying, we should get to change things.” So this became known as “left wing” and “right wing” because it was in the house of politics where the king would sit, there was a left side and a right side. Today’s lesson is going to explain to you what that old way of thinking has changed into in the modern day, and where we sit now. You ready? Let’s go to the board.
Okay. You see this thing here? It’s called a pendulum. A pendulum is basically you can have a string with a rock, and once you move it, it goes back and forward, back and forward, and swings. Politics, which is the business of people being together, “polis” meaning people. That’s what it means. Politics. The people choose, and often sometimes they change in the way they look at things. Center is when the pendulum isn’t moving. Center. And as you can think, it’s probably a nice place to be. But there’s more movement or activity when the pendulum goes up to the right or up to the left. That’s when we see a lot of changes. And it’s good to understand what terms are used and how they affect us.
So let’s start with… Well, let’s start with the left, the common people. All right? Most of you would know the extreme version if you’ve heard of it… Or let’s go here first. When we talk about left, we talk about all for one and one for all. If you’re French, it’s the three musketeers. One for one and one for all.