Give voice to

To "give voice to" someone is to be a representative and advocate for a cause

Today's story: Lula in jail
Explore more: Lesson #38
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Give voice to

Today’s expression is to give voice to something. Earlier in the program, you heard that as president, Lula gave voice to parts of Brazilian society that had been marginalized. That means that he was their representative; he made sure their concerns and opinions were heard, since they had not been heard before.

When you use the expression “give voice to,” you want to say that someone is speaking on behalf of someone else, or for someone else, who generally doesn’t have much power or influence.

Can you think of an example of someone who gave voice to certain people in your country? In the United States, we are commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a civil rights activist in the United States and he gave voice to millions of black people in America who didn’t have the same rights as white people. He gave voice those people by representing their concerns and using his stature as a public figure to advocate for civil rights for black Americans.

Here’s another example. There’s a new documentary called “49 Pulses” which gives voice to the victims and survivors of a deadly nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The documentary gives voice to the people who were there—it helps tell the story of their fears, gratitude, anger, and questions. The documentary gives them voice because it helps tell their stories and communicate their thoughts and feelings.

So now you know that when I say Lula gave voice to marginalized parts of Brazilian society, it means he was the one speaking, but he was really letting those people’s concerns be heard in mainstream society.


That’s it for today’s episode of Plain English. Remember that a new episode comes out each Monday and Thursday. If you want to make sure you get each episode, then just click the “follow” button on Spotify or the “subscribe” button on Apple Podcasts or your other podcast app. We’ll be back here with a new episode on Thursday. See you then.

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Story: Lula in jail