U.S. Politics: Vocabulary & Pronunciation for the 2020 Election Season


Hi everyone. I’m Jennifer from English
with Jennifer. The U.S. presidential elections stir up a lot of emotions, both
positive and negative. As an English language teacher, I get excited because
the election season gives us things to learn and talk about: pronunciation,
vocabulary, current issues. If you’d like to study American English with me, be
sure to subscribe. And if you see the JOIN button, consider becoming a member
of my channel so you can get the most you can out of your English Studies here
on YouTube. In this lesson, I’m going to remain
politically neutral. You can find plenty of opinions and controversy elsewhere. My
goal is to give you knowledge and words that will help you keep up with the news
and participate in conversations about U.S. politics. We’ll focus on vocabulary
and pronunciation. All right? Let’s start with the basics. In the U.S., we have two major political parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. If you’d
like to know what makes Democrats and Republicans different, you can check out
my lesson on U.S. political parties. In short, the Democratic Party is more to
the left, meaning more liberal, and they favor a
bigger government. The Republican Party is more to the right, meaning more conservative, and they favor less regulation and a smaller role for
the government, especially at the federal level. A good number of stereotypes exist
about each party, so I think it’s important to remember that there are
good, kind, responsible people everywhere: in blue states, in red states, and in
so-called purple states or swing states. That’s where there’s a mix of Republicans and Democrats. Repeat after me. Democrat. Democrat. Democrat. Stress on the first syllable. Democrat. Democratic.
Democratic. Democratic. Primary stress is on the third syllable. Democratic. And I’m
flapping my T. It sounds like a D. Democratic. Republican. Republican.
Republican. Primary stress is on the second syllable. Republican. Liberal or liberal. This word can be said
with two or three syllables: liberal, liberal. Either way, the stress is on the
first syllable. Liberal. Liberal. Conservative. Conservative. Conservative.
Primary stress is on the second syllable, and we often flap our T, so it will sound like a D. Conservative. Swing, as in swing state. “Swing” has one syllable and
the word ends with that NG sound. NG. Raise the back part of your tongue
toward the roof of your mouth. NG. Swing. Swing state. Right now, it’s
election season, and the individual states are voting to confirm who the
nominee will be for each party. This early process from February to June is
referred to as the primaries, meaning the primary elections and caucuses. These are
contests at the state level. Later in November, we’ll have our General Election
at the national level. That’s when we’ll choose between the Democratic candidate,
the Republican candidate, candidates from smaller parties, and usually at least one
independent candidate. If you’d like to understand our election process better,
you can watch my lesson on U.S. presidential elections. There are many
candidates for president. They all want to be considered as a possible choice
for the job. Repeat after me. Candidate. Candidate.
Three syllables and stress is on the first. Candidate or candidate. Candidate.
Also with three syllables, but a long A at the end. Candidate so you can use the
long A: candidate. Or the schwa sound: candidate. Repeat
after me. Nominee. Nominee. Stress is on the last
syllable. Nominee. Nominee. In 2020, Donald Trump is the sitting president. He’s in
the White House. But the incumbent president can have challengers from
within the party. To get reelected, the president needs to win the nomination of
his party during the primaries. In Donald Trump’s case, it’s the Republican Party.
What usually happens is that the sitting president remains the first choice of
the party. His name goes on the ballot. The ballot is literally the paper used
to vote, so in November Donald Trump’s name will go on the ballot as the
Republican nominee. Repeat after me. Trump. One syllable and be careful with
that TR. Don’t roll your R. Don’t trill your R. Not Trrrump. Trump. Trump. Trump. Incumbent. Incumbent. Incumbent. Stress is on the second syllable. Incumbent. Nomination. Nomination. Nomination. Primary stress is on the third syllable. Nomination. Ballot. Ballot. Ballot. Stress is
on the first syllable. Ballot. Notice how an unstressed vowel sound is often a
schwa sound. Ballot. The list of Democratic candidates is quite long. It
was longer, but some candidates have already dropped out of the race. In
alphabetical order, the eight remaining candidates are Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom
Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren. The most recent candidate to leave the race was
Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur who entered politics. He also has a background in law.
His last name and the name of his supporters give us practice with that NG
sound. Yang. His supporters were and are still known as the Yang Gang. The Yang
Gang. The NG sound is a voiced sound and it’s similar to N, but we use the back of
her tongue. The back rises toward the roof of the mouth. NG. Yang. Yang Gang. I’m mentioning Mr. Yang because I think
we’ll still hear from him. He’s become visible as a political commentator on TV
since dropping out of the race. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Yang holds
some kind of political office in the future. As for the remaining Democratic
candidates, we can divide them up in a few different ways. First, I think it’s
interesting to note who uses their nickname and who uses their full name.
Presidents make this choice before they get elected. For example, Ronald Reagan
was Ronald, not Ron. But Bill Clinton was Bill, not William. Note that Joe is short
for Joseph. Mike is short for Michael. Pete is short for Peter. Bernie is short
for Bernard. Tom is short for Thomas, and Liz is short
for Elizabeth, but Elizabeth Warren prefers to use her full name Elizabeth. Amy and Tulsi are full names. Before Tulsi Gabbard,
I had never heard the name “Tulsi” before. It’s a girl’s name in Hindi, as I
understand. If you hear a first name you’re curious about, it’s okay to ask, “Is
that a family name? Does your name have a special meaning?” You can also ask, “What
kind of name is that?” if you use a polite tone. Not, “What kind
of name is that?!” Add a compliment to make sure you don’t cause offense. “Tulsi.
That’s pretty. What kind of name is that? Does it have a special meaning?” Another
way we can look at the candidates is by age. Now, normally in American culture
it’s not polite to ask an adult, “How old are you?” But when we elect a president,
age can be a factor. Voters question whether it’s better to choose someone
older with more experience, or whether a younger candidate could handle the
stress of the job better. Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard are
the youngest at 38. Amy Kobuchar is in her fifies. Tom Steyer is in his sixties.
The remaining candidates are in their seventies. You can say, “They’re in their seventies.” “They’re all over 70.” Or you can impress people with this long word: septuagenarian. They’re all septuagenarians. Septuagenarians. Seven
syllables, I believe, and that’s easy to remember because the prefix “sept-” means “seven.” Septuagenarians. People in their seventies. Where’s the stress? Septuagenarians.
There’s primary and secondary. Septuagenarians. “Sept” and “nar.” They’re
septuagenarians. Septuagenarians. There are some variations with that word, but
I’ve heard it most…I think I’ve heard it most often said as “septuagenarians.”
Practice it and you’ll sound confident! They’re septuagenarians. In terms of political experience, we have one former Vice
President, two former mayors, three senators, one member of Congress, a
congresswoman, and two people from the business world, businessmen. I should note that some of the candidates have held other offices in the past. Biden was a
senator. Sanders was a congressman and a mayor. And Klobuchar and Warren, like
Andrew Yang, have a background in law. The current candidates are an interesting
mix. Mike Bloomberg, for example, served as mayor of New York City, and he’s a
businessman. Both Bloomberg and Steyer have been financially successful.
Bloomberg and Steyer are the only two billionaires among the Democrats. Repeat
after me. Steyer. Bloomberg. Both those last names
have consonant blends: two consonant sounds together: ST in Steyer. BL in Bloomberg . And note the pattern. Most two-syllable last names have stress on the
first syllable. Steyer. Bloomberg. Again, repeat after me. Biden with a long I.
Biden. Gabbard with a short A and an “er” sound. Gabbard. Sanders with a Z
sound at the end. Sanders. Warren. Take the time to fully form that W. Warren. Warren. As mentioned, Mike Bloomberg isn’t the
only one with experience as a mayor. Pete Buttigieg is the former mayor of South
Bend, Indiana. Mayor Pete has the most difficult name of all to pronounce. If you ever meet someone with a last name that’s challenging to pronounce, you
can ask, “How do you say your last name?” or “How is your last name pronounced?” Some people have come up with a strategy of saying, “BOOT EDGE EDGE” to teach others
how to say Buttigieg. It’s not entirely accurate, but it’s helpful. There are
three syllables. Buttigieg. Stress on the first, which means the other two
syllables have unstressed vowels. Buttigieg. The first syllable has a long U.
The double T becomes a flap T, so it will sound more like a D sound. Buttigieg. The second syllable could have a schwa sound “uh” or a short I sound. I’ve listened to Mayor Pete introduce himself, and to my ears, it sounds like a schwa sound. Buttigieg. The two G’s are soft G’s and sound like a
J. Buttigieg. Pete Buttigieg. The other candidate with a three-syllable last
name is Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar. Three syllables and the first syllable is
stressed. It follows the same stress pattern as Buttigieg. Buttigieg. Klobuchar. If we break it up into three syllables, it is easier to say. Klo — we
have a consonant blend KL. Klo. Long O. -bu- long U. -char with an SH. -char. I have heard people use the CH, but when I hear
Senator Klobuchar introduce herself, I hear an SH sound. Klobuchar. Senator
Klobuchar. Yet another way to group the candidates is by who is a veteran and
who isn’t. Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg are veterans. They both have military
experience. They served in the United States Armed Forces. For some voters, this
is a plus. Repeat after me. Veteran. Veteran. Three
syllables. Stress on the first. Veteran. Veteran. They’re veterans. A final way we
can classify the presidential candidates is probably the most important way: Where
do they fall on the political spectrum? Someone who is closer to the center, but
leans a little left or right is a centrist. More often, I hear the word
“moderate.” That can be a noun or an adjective. You can be a moderate. You can
have moderate views. Repeat after me. Moderate. Moderate. Three syllables. Stress on the first. Moderate. Moderate. In each party, there are those who are far left and far right. In the Democratic Party, those who are far left are called very
liberal or progressive. These two words don’t necessarily mean the same thing,
but there’s enough overlap that today Americans often use these words
interchangeably. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are seen as the most
progressive candidates. Bernie Sanders identifies himself as a Democratic
Socialist. Both Sanders and Warren are proposing big changes in the role of the
government. The other candidates are seen as more or less moderate. Repeat after me.
Progressive. Progressive. Stress on the second. Progressive. Not pro-, “pruh.”
Progressive. Socialist. Socialist. Three syllables. Stress on the first. Socialist.
Socialist. Socialist. So who will win the Democratic nomination and face Donald
Trump in the general election? The Democratic field is still large, but
we’ll know more within a few months. We’ve already seen results from a few
primaries, but Super Tuesday is coming up, and that’s a big day. Super Tuesday is
when a large number of states hold their primary elections. It’s usually a time
to gain some clarity and confirm the front-runner, meaning the leader of the
race. Perhaps the list of Democratic candidates will become shorter if some
fail to win enough votes. Super Tuesday can help winnow the field. Candidates can
be winnowed out. The list can be winnowed down. This refers to removing people from
the list, making the list shorter. Repeat after me. Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday. Super Tuesday. Front-runner. Front-runner. This
can be written as one word or with a hyphen. But place the stress on the first syllable: front. I’m not dropping my T.
I’m using a glottal stop. It’s the same sound we use in “Oh!” or “Uh-uh.” When you hold your breath, that’s the same action you need to make a glottal stop in “front-runner.” Front-runner. Winnow. Winnow. Two syllables. Stress on the first . Winnow.
Winnow. Winnow out. Winnow down. How much do you care about politics?
To be honest, politics can stress me out, especially the debates. But our
presidential elections are important, and I care about many issues, so I feel it’s
my responsibility to listen to different views and stay informed. If you’d like to
have the language to talk about current issues such as immigration, health care,
and college tuition, be sure to check out my conversation playlist and look for
those advanced topics. I’ll put the link in the video description. And don’t forget if you’d like to have a conversation with me
about anything one-on-one, you can book a private lesson through my website. I’ll
end here. If you found the lesson useful, please like and share the video with
others. As always thanks for watching, and happy studies! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And try something new download the apps Kiki Time and Hallo. These are more ways I
can help you learn English each and every week. And hey! Don’t forget to
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About the author

Comments

  1. I enjoyed learning some interesting information on words and pronunciation. In British English 'Tuesday' is pronounced 'Chews Day.' and 'winnowed down' is 'whittled down.' 'Sept' meaning seven is a new one on me also. It leaves me wondering why September isn't the seventh month of the year instead of the ninth.
    As for my opinions on the totally enthralling Democratic primaries and caucuses:: It just has to be Senator Sanders to win the nomination, doesn't it? Bernie going up against President Trump this November in what will surely be a real heavyweight clash. What a total anticlimax it would be otherwise.

  2. 🌟Special Bonus Quiz!🌟 All members of my channel are invited to take a 6-question quiz to check their understanding of this lesson. YouTube memberships start at $0.99. View all perks.🔎 https://www.youtube.com/c/englishwithjennifer/join 😃 Did you know that members get at least TWO short language tasks a week on the community tab? Study harder and learn more on YouTube. 👩‍🏫Become a member today! 🙏

  3. I am studying at Rochester NY. The Speaking instructor advice us to watch the debates, but I could not understand nothing. Now with your videos I began to understand about the election. I really feel there is a lot of benefit for learning the language through the election session.
    Thank you Jennifer.

  4. I study English on my own through imitition with movies, for which I had to learn the IPA. It's incredible becase in the movies the actors speak super fast and use contractions rediuce the words but it is the only way to learn. I record the movies with my voice and then I compare them to the audio of the same movie, my progres is incradible. Now I can understand you super clear and how nice you speak English. Thanks Jennifer

  5. Hi Jennifer. ❤️ I love this video. We hope one day you will be in the nominee ballot! It's funny how diverged are the Americans by the names of the candidates. Particularly I like the name Klobuchar. Guess it means "hats maker" 😃). Also, many words are from Latin roots .. nomi-nation, demo-crat, etc. Anyhow, Trump will be re-elected and I like Melania. 😃😃🙏

  6. This is very helpful for us foreigners who live in America. Even though we don’t vote, at least in voting seasons we can understand better what news and other people are talking about. Thank you, Jennifer!

  7. Hi teacher,
    (I also posted this before)
    Respected teacher,
    Thank u for answering my previous doubts
    Would u please help me again to come out from a tough situation
    Which is correct?
    1) There are more than 500 factories producing fire crackers.( without comma)
    or
    2)There are more than 500 factories , producing fire crackers.( with comma)
    I have searched it everywhere but failed to find the answer
    would u plsss help me?
    please

  8. Who will be next President? I am afraid, you Americans give second chance, I hope this pattern will change, how about Bernie Sanders ,I know he is an old guy but this time give him a chance

  9. Hi Jennifer good to see this video is very important to us who like politics
    Thanks a lot for your support and have a great weekend my dear teacher 😉🇧🇷

  10. Hi , Jenny . Thank you for the video . I think that the best person to choose as a president is the one who is strong to role a state and kind with people , but it's hard to find this kind of person . I wish you will choose the appropriate president both for the USA and The World. Best of luck 😄

  11. Hi there! You look stunning.
    I've learned lots of new vocabulary and pronunciation tips in this lesson.keep up the good work!
    Thanks!

  12. Hello Jennifer! Nice to see you! I really like your lessons. And I am interested in learning pronunciation. I have listened to you carefully. The explanation of glottal T is just excellent!!! I will try to repeat it:) Thank you very, very much!

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