English News Pod

#11: Myanmar's Coup and Protests

February 10, 2021 English Teacher Caroline Episode 11
English News Pod
#11: Myanmar's Coup and Protests
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Episode 11: Today's news in English will look at the coup in Myanmar (Burma) and the most recent updates on the protests, curfews, and state of emergency. You can find a full transcript of this podcast episode here. Thanks for listening, and I will see you soon for more news in English!

Hello my beautiful students and welcome back to English News Pod, the best way for you to learn practical English through the news. I’m your host and teacher, Caroline. Last week was crazy in the United States! Amongst other things, a huge winter storm overtook the North East United States and Tom Brady played in his 10th Super Bowl. 

But for this episode I’d like to discuss something more serious that is happening on the world’s stage, and that’s the coup in Myanmar. You can find a full transcript of this podcast episode in the description. 

Myanmar’s military overthrew Myanmar’s government and elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, in a coup  last week. The Commander in Chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Min Aung Hlaing, has taken control and has imposed a state of emergency for one year, an internet blackout, and curfews until further notice. The military justifies the coup, saying the democratic elections in November last year were unfair and fraudulent. In response, mass protests have been sparked throughout the country by civil society, and even civil servants are going on strike. These are the largest protests in Myanmar since 2007, the last time the country protested an oppressive military government. So far, the protests this week have been largely peaceful, but there is fear that the military could begin to use more force against protestors in the near future. Overall, it seems like the coup is extremely unpopular with Myanmar’s population, and this unfolding event is definitely one to continue keeping an eye on.   

Let’s take a look at some grammar:

  1. Overthrew - overthrew is the past tense of the verb to overthrow. Overthrow means to force someone out of power, or to remove someone from power. In this example, we are talking about Ang San Suu Kyi and her elected government being overthrown by the military. 
  2. Coup - a coup is an event where someone overthrows an existing government to create a new one. 
  3. Impose - a verb that means to force people to accept something. For example, the military in Myanmar is imposing new laws and regulations. 
  4. State of emergency - this is a label used for situations involving natural disasters or wide-spread danger. Governments use this label to create policies that it normally cannot do under their constitutions. For example, many countries have issued states of emergency in response to COVID so they can legally enforce people to stay at home. Other examples include the response to the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, and of course, the current coup in Myanmar. 
  5. Blackout - a blackout is a noun, and is when electricity fails. In this context, we are talking about an internet blackout, which is when the internet is turned off someone.
  6. Fraudulent - an adjective that describes something that is obtained illegally. For example, the military thinks the election was fraudulent, or won illegally. 
  7. Civil servants - these are people who are employed by the government. In Myanmar’s case, civil servants include many groups, such as teachers and doctors.
  8.  To strike - a verb that means to stop working. The civil servants in Myanmar will stop working, or go on strike, in order to protest the new military government. 


Did you know, the word ‘coup’ in English has a silent ‘p’ at the end? Yes, it is spelled c-o-u-p, not c-o-o! This is not to be confused with a coup, which is also spelled c-o-u-p, but used to house chickens! 

We pronounce 'coup' this way because the word ‘coup’ actually comes from the French phrase, ‘coup d’état.’ When literally translated, the phrase ‘coup d’état’ in French means ‘coup of the state’ in English. But remember, in English, we only say 'coup.' 

That wraps us up for today. If you liked this podcast, please subscribe, follow, and leave a review. Thanks for listening, and I will see you soon for more news in English!

News (slow)
News (fast)
Bonus Grammar (advanced)