English Phraseology: Political Chatter

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There were so many more people lingering at the coffee shop this morning. Small groups of  young men discussing the results of the Italian elections, little old ladies seated chatting about the Tsunami Tour and the barista exclaiming “ The People have spoken!”. It got me thinking that a post on politics lingo could help my readers today. Habemus Ducem?….NOT!

[audio http://audioboo.fm/boos/1233910-english-phraseology-political-chatter.mp3]


Compound Words:

  • Mudslinging:  the use of insults to attach an opponent’s reputation
  • Voter Turnout: the number of eligible voters who actually vote in an election
  • Voter Fatigue: the condition in which voters become tired of all candidates by Election Day, and may thus be less likely to vote.
  • Run-off Election: a follow-up election that is held when no candidate receives the majority of  votes cast in the original election.


Vocabulary Boost:

  • The right wing coalition got majority votes for the Senate. (i.e. several parties collaborating)
  • I hate watching politics on TV because there is so much rhetoric!(i.e. language used to influence people that may not be honest or reasonable.)
  • It was a tight race. (i.e. small margin of victory)
  • His campaign gained momentum over the last month. (i.e. it became more & more effective/successful)
  • He thinks all politicians should be vetted before entering the political arena(i.e. to be evaluated, examined, investigated)


Idioms in Context:

  • I am on the fence about who to vote for.(i.e. unable to decide about something)
  • This victory did not establish him as the clear front-runner. (i.e. one that is the undisputed leader in a race or competition)
Beppe Grillo

Beppe Grillo (Photo credit: Niccolò Caranti)


Fluency Builder: Discuss the following questions in class or with a friend to practice speaking about this topic.

    1. How would you describe the political climate in your country to a foreigner?
    2. What are the main political parties in your country?
    3. Have your political views changed in the last decade?
    4. Should voting be compulsory?
    5. Who is the most controversial politician in your country at the moment?


Can you think of any other useful expressions we can learn about politics & voting? Post them so we can learn together.

This was inspired by the breakie (i.e. slang for breakfast ) I  had at the coffee shop with my little macho men(i.e. two little boys) this morning !



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