Facts and figures

Listen to the lecturer giving some facts and figures to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.


… and the next part of this talk is on the Panama Canal. It's amazing how this one small section of a small country can be so important to the world. Let's learn a little bit about the canal itself, before we look at how it connects to everything else.

The Panama Canal is an artificial waterway in the Central American country of Panama that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. It is only 82 kilometres long. If you go around South America by ship then you need to travel another 15,000 kilometres. So the canal saves a lot of travel time. It takes around 8 to 10 hours to cross the canal.

The French started building the canal in 1881, but they couldn't finish it. The project was started again in 1904 by the United States and the canal was finally finished in 1914. Many people died while they were building the canal, some say up to 25,000. For the rest of the 20th century, the United States controlled the canal, but gave control back to Panama in 2000.

Every year, around 40,000 ships come through the canal. These are mostly commercial ships. They transport goods for trade between Asia and America, or Europe. In 2016 the government of Panama made the canal bigger, so that now 99 per cent of ships can pass through it.

Let's now turn to the role of the Panama Canal in the global economy …

Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.


Worksheet78.61 KB

Language level

ANOUAR 提交于 周四, 25/11/2021 - 10:00


Yes I am good at numbers because I love Mathematics and I enjoy solving problems .

LamVanPhuong 提交于 周五, 19/11/2021 - 09:33


I think not because my worst subject is math when I was a high school student

azharbgskr 提交于 周三, 17/11/2021 - 15:56


Yeah, I'm good with numbers. I have loved math since elementary school. For me, numbers are things that can represent anything logically.

KyawMinThu 提交于 周六, 06/11/2021 - 14:38


When I was a child between 7 to 14 years, I had learned about the numbers from our school. But I felt I am not good enough at numbers.

vuhoap 提交于 周六, 30/10/2021 - 03:32


No, I think that I am not good with numbers. Because my mental math ability is very poor without using the calculator.

Suraj paliwal 提交于 周三, 06/10/2021 - 02:06


No, I'm not best in numbers. I'm trying to master in numbers.

KATIELLE RAIAN… 提交于 周二, 20/07/2021 - 12:30

No! Unfortunately, I suck at numbers.

Veronikka 提交于 周六, 05/06/2021 - 22:23

Weel I'm little good with the numbers.

karinaelizabeth 提交于 周五, 07/05/2021 - 22:26

Not at all, I'm no good for numbers that's why I chose to be an English teacher because in this career we don't have to do with numbers. It was an excellent option for me.

Kunthea 提交于 周六, 01/05/2021 - 08:38

For the simple numbers, I am good with them. I'm teaching grade 5 students with math, however, I'm really bad with phone number. I can't remember my family's phone number even my wife's.

Suraj paliwal 提交于 周一, 12/04/2021 - 04:26

I'm good at numbers. I'm doing graduation in economics and math so I have not feel difficult. If you want to master in number then you would have to practice regularly. Then you find that you are good in number.

TIa vinaka 提交于 周四, 08/04/2021 - 03:15

I'm terrible with numbers. I didn't like maths when I was a student. still I can't calculate things smoothly. when I listen numbers in English I can't understand it quickly. first I have to think it well. then I understand.

MikhailZatopliaev 提交于 周三, 07/04/2021 - 23:08

I don't understood what clear it mean. If it is about how I am in English numbers, than is not good enough, but if about numbers at all, I am Economist, so my knowledge of numbers is pretty well.

Minh 提交于 周六, 20/03/2021 - 03:12

Numbers it was a amazing when you can remember clearly it is wonderful thing. For example, if you can remember their phone numbers, you just press the number on your cell phone and call them. Whenever your friends call you, you are easy to recognize who call you. It is helpful to practice your brain that always think. Experts say that your brain work like that it is the best way to improve the brain. When you are older than you can not lose your memory.

Samaneh 提交于 周二, 16/03/2021 - 14:13

Hi. I have some questions about the phrase "the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean" in the transcript. 1. Why "the" has not been used before Pacific since we use "the" before the names of oceans? 2. Why mentioned phrase has not been told this way: " the Atlantic and "the" pacific ocean"s"?

Hello Samaneh,

People sometimes leave out words that can be understood from the context, and that's why the speaker says 'the Atlantic and Pacific' here. But you are right -- in its full form, the word 'the' should be used before 'Pacific'.

As you observe, it would really be better to say 'oceans' instead of 'ocean' here. But since we're not able to change the recording and wanted the transcript to reflect the recording, we left it as it is now.

Sorry for the confusion.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Syafiqah 提交于 周四, 18/02/2021 - 02:02

I like how it pronounce and confusing me with number..it's a bit difficult..but I tryy
I think that I`m good when I listen to the numbers, but my pronunciation of them is not proper.

jdcorrea 提交于 周四, 14/01/2021 - 22:37

Thanks alot, very interesting audio.

fariba 提交于 周六, 09/01/2021 - 10:30

yes i like numbers they show realities.

Minh 提交于 周四, 07/01/2021 - 12:55

Hi everyone ! I'm interested the number that show me exactly figures about the issue. With number can provide the information which we need to solve. On the other hand, it's so amazing something that anybody surprises.

ThihaHtetAung 提交于 周日, 03/01/2021 - 04:16

This section is so beneficial for me.My listening skill is increase after a section and a section.And I also gained more knowledge.Pls forgive me if I had made mistakes in my comment. I'm just practising:)

Rabia Syed 提交于 周六, 02/01/2021 - 14:18

I don't know about panama canal. But It's Amazing in listening. That why repeat listing audio again and again.

Suraj paliwal 提交于 周六, 02/01/2021 - 04:51

I'm not good with numbers. If anyone want to practice with me English then reply me. This is most effectively way to learn, understand anything.

Khin Yee Mon Khaing 提交于 周五, 01/01/2021 - 00:55

I am bad with numbers. Thus the lesson teaches me a lot. Thanks a million.

susanavali 提交于 周三, 09/12/2020 - 16:43

It's difficult to know the differences between some numbers like 14 and 40. How can we find the right numbers?

Hello susanvali,

There are differences in the sound of 'teen' and 'ty' and in the stress patterns here.


'14' has the stress on the second syllable (fourTEEN) and the sound of 'teen' is long - the same sound as in three, tree and eat.


'40' has the stress on the first syllable (FORty) and the sound of 'ty' is shorter.


You can hear the pronunciation in dictionary entries:

> https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/forty

> https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fourteen



The LearnEnglish Team

Sergio1994 提交于 周一, 30/11/2020 - 16:01

Thank you for the lessons on the history of the Panama Canal, this helped me a lot to practice my English and keep learning.

TalhaÖzkan 提交于 周四, 26/11/2020 - 20:38

I do not like Math, but while I was preparing for the university entrance exam, I studied hard Math. So I am good with numbers.

GabrielaE 提交于 周五, 20/11/2020 - 23:23

I'm not good with numbers, and that's the reason why I'm studying maketing because of course we always going to need numbers, but in this particular profession we used it a little less.

Pola 提交于 周四, 12/11/2020 - 14:30

No, I'm not good to save numbers, but I know I hear it very well.

loveiseverything 提交于 周六, 07/11/2020 - 09:06

I may need 2s to react to the numbers after I hear them. I am not good at numbers . But practice makes perfect. I just need some more time.

Ana Luisa Sanc… 提交于 周三, 04/11/2020 - 23:20

I am not good with numbers, but I like to know the places history, and if its involve hard data, is usually a information parameter for get several references.

Suraj paliwal 提交于 周六, 24/10/2020 - 10:45

No, I'm not good with number. But I love mathematics.

Samqaid 提交于 周三, 21/10/2020 - 20:53

I'm frankly not good with numbers..I get confused when I listen to numbers talk..I will try my best to get what I hear. . Step by step, everything will be fine. I'm totally sure about that, you know that there's no one who prefect is! English language is a acquired language so we will acquire it easily, if we practice and exercise well.

Ugulhan 提交于 周五, 16/10/2020 - 13:45

It is difficult, sometimes I can forget the specific numbers with history.

Moon Wathan 提交于 周四, 15/10/2020 - 05:43

No, I am not good with number even I am graduated in Math. Even I can't remember my phone number.

ishaan 提交于 周四, 08/10/2020 - 05:15

u guys are bad i got 100% on both

habibao.medo 提交于 周日, 04/10/2020 - 11:00

not very good with numbers i am trying to improve my self

zozo 提交于 周四, 10/09/2020 - 18:40

i'm good but its need to concentrate

biso01 提交于 周二, 25/08/2020 - 15:02

yes i am good with number only i can concentrate with them but number only i am not good with ordering the sentences, its so hard to me

c.lopes23 提交于 周四, 20/08/2020 - 10:27

Yes, I'm good with numbers, but I don't practice so much there are some years

Rinaa 提交于 周四, 13/08/2020 - 21:49

As an economist, I must have to be good with numbers because I have to deal with them every day. Preparing financial statements, collecting data, analyzing data, and using accounting software is my daily routine. When it comes to numbers, we should be so careful and focused, because if you slip a number or add one more, we can change all the results. But today the computer and software are helping us too much, by correcting our mistakes and giving us a chance to check them twice. But unfortunately, I'm not good at remembering the phone numbers, except for my self and my parents I hardly remember other people's phone numbers, and this is bad because in case of an emergency we should keep in mind some contact numbers of our relatives. And as many of the members here, I have a problem with numbers in English, in this audio, I couldn't define forty with fourteen without seeing the script.