The Titanic


Titanic at the docks of Southampton.
Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Liz Waid and Adam Navis look at the Titanic, the biggest, finest ship of its time. Many people thought it was unsinkable, but they were wrong.

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

The Titanic. Some people called it “The Wonder Ship.” Others called it “The Millionaires’ Special.” Some people even called it “Unsinkable”. It was the Titanic. But on April 15, 1912, this luxury ship sank. It now lies on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Today’s Spotlight is on the Titanic.

Voice 2 

Before airplanes, ships were the only way to travel from continent to continent. It could take weeks, and sometimes months, to travel across the ocean. So people used ships to travel safely from one place to another.

Voice 1 

In the 1800s, it became popular to build ships that offered people the ease of home. Passengers could have their own private rooms. There were dining areas where people could eat good meals. There were places to exercise. There were libraries with books where people could sit and read. Some ships even had swimming pools!

Voice 2 

One ship company was the White Star Line. In 1909, it decided to build the biggest, greatest ship. The company named its ship the Titanic. The word titanic means gigantic, or very big.

Voice 1 

When people looked at the size of the Titanic they could easily believe that it was strong. The Titanic was 269 metres long. It had 9 different decks, or levels. If the ship were to stand on its end it would have been taller than many buildings during that time! The ship weighed about 60 million kilograms. And it could carry 3547 people.

Voice 2 

The people who built the Titanic tried to make it the safest ship as well as the biggest ship. The ship had 16 watertight rooms. These rooms were at the bottom of the ship. They were filled with nothing but air. The air helped the Titanic to float. If the ship experienced damage and one room started to fill with water, the other rooms would keep the ship floating. In fact, people believed that the ship could still float even if five of the rooms were filled with water. At the time the watertight rooms were a new engineering idea. Passengers believed that this would protect the Titanic from sinking.

Voice 1 

The Titanic was also the finest luxury ship of its time. The inside of the Titanic looked like the home of a king! There were stairs that connected each different level. One set of stairs was called the “Grand Staircase.” That is because it was so beautiful. There were many details cut into the wood. There were golden lights on the ceilings. And there were also lights made of fine crystal glass. Many of the ships in that day had hard wood floors. But the ship builders put soft cloth carpet on the floors of the Titanic.

Voice 2 

People could purchase first, second, or third class tickets to ride on the Titanic. The first class tickets cost the most money. People holding a first class ticket experienced all of the best things on the ship. But everyone riding the Titanic experienced wonderful things that they usually did not experience at home.

Voice 1 

For example, many people with third class tickets were poor. They wanted to ride on the Titanic from Europe to America. They did not plan to ever return home. They were going to start a new life in America. But even the poor, third class passengers felt special on the Titanic. All of the rooms on the ship had water in the rooms. This was something many of the third class passengers did not have at home.

Voice 2 

On April 10, 1912 the Titanic started on its first trip. It was travelling from Southampton, England to New York City in the United States.

Voice 1 

Four days into the trip the captain received warnings about icebergs. These large pieces of ice float on the ocean. And several large icebergs were in the path of the Titanic. However, the captain was not concerned about the ice. He believed that it would not damage the ship. At eleven o’clock, on April 14, the Titanic hit an iceberg. The ice did cause damage. It made a large tear on the bottom of the boat.

Voice 2 

Cold, icy, water poured into the bottom of the Titanic. It filled a few of the water-tight rooms. Soon, because of an engineering mistake, most of the watertight rooms were filled with water. The Titanic began to sink.

Voice 1 

People on the ship were not prepared. They did not know how to get off the boat safely. There were lifeboats - small boats that could float to safety. But there were not enough lifeboats for all the passengers. Even worse, the crew of the ship did not fill the lifeboats. Many more people could have escaped.

Voice 2 

In this situation, some people showed great bravery. One famous example was the ship’s musicians. They knew that they would not escape. So they sat with their instruments, and played music for the people left on the boat. Some people reported that they played the Christian song, “Nearer My God to You.” The words of this song speak about how God is close in difficult times.

Voice 1 

But soon, the ship was sinking fast. It broke into two pieces, and many passengers fell into the cold water. They died quickly from the extreme cold. Others drowned inside the ship as it sank. The lifeboats only rescued thirteen people from the water.

Voice 2 

At that time, the rule was that women and children escaped first. So more than 90 percent of the men on the ship died. Most second and third class passengers also did not escape. About 1500 people died - two thirds of the people on the ship. It was a great tragedy - one of the worst accidents on the sea at that time.

Voice 1 

After many hours in the cold water, another ship came to rescue the people in the lifeboats. When they finally arrived in New York, the passengers were famous. People were very interested in the story - the fine luxury ship, the terrible tragedy, and the amazing stories of survival. And this interest has continued since that time.

Voice 2 

In 1997, James Cameron made a film about the ship. This film, Titanic, became one of the most popular films in the world. Maybe you have seen it! In an interview, Cameron explained why he made the film, and why it was so popular.

Voice 3 

“I wanted to show the beauty, excitement, good wishes and hope of the Titanic, and her passengers and crew. For Titanic is not just a warning story. It is also a story of faith, courage, sacrifice, and more than anything else, love.”

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Rebekah Schipper. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘The Titanic’.

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Question:

Have you heard the story of the Titanic before? Have you seen the movie about this ship?

Comments


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phongdg
said on April 10, 2012

The titanic is the best film I have watched. I can not hold my tear at first time when listening in the song ” My heart will go on” on the movie.

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h7ngvn
said on April 13, 2012

That was a amazing story about survival and love. James Cameron is the greatest directer

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Dela
said on April 18, 2012

That well-known, unforgettable story is interesting, but first of all very much sad! The film by James Cameron is also beautiful.

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NightlyOwl
said on May 15, 2012

This is a great movie and sad tragedy of all time. So many people died a horrible death. Now in our world happens a lot of disasters, but a truly Titanic went down in history as a memory about error which is worth considering.

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Hoang Nam
said on May 15, 2012

Titanic is the biggest story and the greatest film ever!

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AngelTorres
said on October 01, 2018

Ese barco fue genial

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klobo91
said on January 12, 2020

Until now I haven’t heard the history of titanic, and I know that there is a movie. But I haven’t ever watched it. I can’t imagine what the people felt when the titanic was sinking. According to history We can say all this happened by human error because the captain ignored the advertence of the iceberg.

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Honneur
said on January 17, 2020

I read a lot of articles about the Titanic and the first I read was in Selections of the reader’s digest, long time ago, but I did not see the film. Films about great tragedies isn’t my preferred films.