Once again, you are going to have a chance to follow a major news event in both Thai and English. In fact, you really should start today. Since most of you already know Thai, here is a head start with some of the key English vocabulary you will need to know plus some background.
The time for pleasant chit-chat is over as the US presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney make their final appeals for support from US voters before the November 6 election. AFP
US election: It's time to pay attention
The November 6 election is more than just a contest between President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney.
Elections will also be held for all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Representatives only have two-year terms, so it seems like they are constantly seeking re-election.
Senators have an easier life, holding their seats for six years. This year, thirty-three seats of the 100-seat Senate will also be contested. Democrats hold 21 of them, Republicans 10 and there are two independents who usually vote with the Democrats.
All those running for election are called candidates. Those who currently hold their positions, like President Obama, are called incumbants. Those running against them are their challengers, opponents or rivals.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney continues to focus on economic issues as election day approaches. AFP
At the moment, the candidates on are out on the campaign trail for the final push before election day. They are making their slightly refined stump speeches for the final dozens of times.
On the Republican side, former businessman Romney continues to berate President Obama for his failure to strengthen the weak US economy, deal with the growing national debt crisis and, most importantly, for failing to restore American jobs to an acceptable level.
Things were very, very bad, but they’re clearly getting better, President Obama constantly reminds voters. AFP
For his part, President Obama reminds voters of the severe recession he inherited and points to the steady job growth over the past year as a clear indication that things are getting better. He accuses his rival of wanting to take the country backwards, cutting vital government programmes for the poor and middle class.
All indications are that the race for the presidency is extremely close, a virtual tie. Mr Obama may hold a slim lead in one poll while his rival, Mr Romney may be slightly ahead in the another. The final margin is likely to be "razor-thin" when the returns are known.
One thing complicating predictions is that the popular vote – the direct votes for president, do not directly determine the outcome of the election. Instead it is the state-by-state vote, known as the electoral vote, that determines who becomes president. I'll have more on this tomorrow. It will help you understand the final campaign plans of both presidential candidates.
For a listening exercise featuring Mitt Romney, click here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/318523/listening-to-romney
For a listening exercise featuring Barack Obama, click here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/318321/listening-to-obama
appeal – an urgent request for people to do something or behave in a particular way การร้องขอ
head start – an advantage over other people in the same situation as you, especially in a competition; a situation in which you start a race before your opponent or from a position that is further ahead การเริ่มต้นก่อนทำให้ได้เปรียบคนอื่น
pay attention – to watch, listen to, or consider something or someone very carefully เอาใจใส่, สนใจ
contest – a competition การแข่งขัน
challenger – the opponent in a sport or competition คู่แข่ง
House of Representatives – the largest part of Congress in the US, or of the Parliament in Australia and Thailand สภาผู้แทนราษฎร
term – a period of time a politician, government or other official holds their job ช่วงเวลาการดำรงตำแหน่งหรืออำนาจ
constantly – continuously; all the time อย่างต่อเนื่อง
re-election – being elected to a position again, i.e., to an elected position you already hold การเลือกตั้งใหม่
Senate – one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand วุฒิสภา
senator – a member of the Senate วุฒิสมาชิก
contest – to compete for something แข่งขัน
independent – not representing or belonging to a particular political party ซึ่งเป็นอิสระ
candidate – a person who is trying to win an elected position ผู้สมัคร
currently – at this time; now ในปัจจุบัน
incumbent – holding an official position at the present time ดำรงตำแหน่ง
opponent – someone who is competing against you ฝ่ายตรงข้าม, คู่แข่ง
rival – a person you are competing against or opposing คู่แข่ง
issue – a subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
campaign trail – the events and activities that are part of an election campaign กิจกรรมในการรณรงค์หาสียง
approach – to move or come closer เข้าใกล้
slightly – small in size or amount เล็กน้อย
refine – to improve something by making small changes to it ทำให้ดีขึ้น
stump speech – a prepared speech during an election campaign that a candidate gives at each event
berate – to criticise strongly or speak severely to someone ตำหนิอย่างรุนแรง
deal with – to take action to solve a problem จัดการปัญหา
debt – an amount of money that you owe หนี้
crisis – an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤตการณ์
restore – to bring back to good condition ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
acceptable – that somebody agrees is of a good enough standard ที่ยอมรับได้
level – a position or rank in a scale of size or importance ระดับ
remind – to make someone think of something they have forgotten or might have forgotten เตือนความจำ
severe – very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
recession – a period when trade and industry are not successful and there is a lot of unemployment ภาวะเศรษฐกิจถดถอย
inherit – to have responsibility for a situation that someone has started and left for you to deal with สืบทอดจาก, ได้รับมรดกจาก
steady – staying at the same level, speed, value etc, especially not getting worse ไม่เปลี่ยนแปลง, สม่ำเสมอ
indication – a sign that something happened, is true or exists เครื่องบ่งชี้
accuse – to say that someone has done something wrong กล่าวหา
backwards – towards a place or position that is behind; towards a worse state ถอยหลัง, สู่อดีต,ล้าหลัง
vital – extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
virtual – almost the same as เกือบจะ
tie – having the same number of points, rank, etc. ได้แต้มหรือคะแนนเท่ากัน
slim – small; not as big as you would like or expect เล็กน้อย, นิดหน่อย
lead – the position ahead of everyone else in a race or competition ตำแหน่งนำ
ahead – winning แต้มนำไป
margin – the amount by which a competition is won จำนวนที่เกิน
razor-thin – by an extremely small amount, like the width of a razor blade (ใบมีดโกน)
returns – the results of an election ผลการเลือกตั้ง
complicate – to make something more difficult to deal with, do or understand ทำให้ยาก, ทำให้ซับซ้อน
prediction – a statement about what you think will happen in the future คำพยากรณ์,คำทำนาย,การพยากรณ์
popular vote – the vote by the people of a country การลงคะแนนเสียงของประชาชน
determine – to officially find out or decide something ตัดสินใจ ชี้ขาด
outcome – a result ผล