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  • Hello.

  • Welcome to 6 Minute English, I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Sam.

  • And we are sitting here in New Broadcasting House, in the middle of London.

  • Would you say, Sam, that this is an isolated place?

  • Oh no, not at all.

  • Isolated means far away from other places and people.

  • Does that mean then, do you think, that you can't be lonely here, with all these people

  • around and all these things to do?

  • Ah, good question.

  • Can you be lonely in a crowd?

  • Yes, of course, I think you can be because being lonely isn't about physical isolation.

  • I think you can be lonely anywhere if you feel that you are disconnected from the world

  • around you, if you feel that no one understands you.

  • If you are living happily in isolation in The Scottish Highlands, for example, I'm sure

  • you could feel lonely if you came here to London.

  • Well, loneliness is today's topic.

  • The BBC has just completed a big survey about it which we will learn more about shortly.

  • But first, of course, a question: Where is the most isolated inhabited place on the planet

  • - by which I mean the place furthest away from anywhere else with the fewest people

  • living there.

  • Is it:

  • a) McMurdo Station in Antarctica

  • b) Siwa Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert, or is it

  • c) the island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic

  • What do you think, Sam?

  • I've got absolutely no idea, so this is just a guess - I think it's the one in Antarctica.

  • I'm going to go with that.

  • Well, we'll have the answer later on in the programme.

  • Loneliness is seen as a big problem for the mental health of the population, so much so

  • that the British government has a minister for loneliness.

  • But which age group suffers most from loneliness.

  • Here is a BBC report about the research.

  • There is a common stereotype that loneliness affects only the old and the isolated.

  • It does, but what this experiment also shows is that loneliness is felt throughout life.

  • People aged between 16 and 24 experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other

  • age group.

  • So according to the research, Sam, which section of society is most affected by loneliness?

  • This might be a surprise, but it's 16 to 24 year olds.

  • I was surprised by that because like many, I would've guessed that it was older people.

  • The reporter did say that that was a stereotype.

  • A stereotype is nothing to do with stereo music, but it's the noun we use to describe

  • a very simple and basic judgement of someone and their character and personality based

  • on their age, nationality, profession and so on.

  • So a stereotype of British people is that we can't cook, we have bad teeth, we are very

  • reserved and never say what we mean.

  • I don't know what you mean, my cooking is wonderful, Sam.

  • And the stereotype is that old people get lonely.

  • Much like the stereotypes of British people, this may be true in some cases - I've eaten

  • some of your home-cooked meals remember, Neil - but it's not true for the majority.

  • It is young people who feel lonely more often and more intensely.

  • Intensely here means strongly.

  • The feeling of loneliness is stronger in young people than older people.

  • The reporter goes on to give some explanation for why young people might be more lonely.

  • Researchers from the University of Manchester who analysed the data, suggested feeling lonely

  • may plague the young because it's a time of identity change.

  • Figuring out your place in the world and of learning to regulate emotions.

  • He says that feeling lonely may plague young people, what does he mean there?

  • If you are plagued by something, it means that it troubles you, it bothers you and not

  • just once, it's something that happens continually or repeatedly.

  • And he says this may be because at that age we are still figuring out our place in the

  • world.

  • We are trying to understand the world and what we are supposed to do with our lives.

  • He also suggests that younger people have not yet learned how to regulate their emotions,

  • which is another way of saying to control their emotions.

  • Right.

  • Time to review this week's vocabulary, but before that let's have the answer to the quiz.

  • I asked: Where is the most isolated inhabited place on the planet?

  • Is it:

  • a) McMurdo Station in Antarctica

  • b) Siwa Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert or

  • c) the island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic

  • What did you say, Sam?

  • I said a).

  • Well, I'm afraid to say the answer is actually c) the island of Tristan da Cunha in the South

  • Atlantic.

  • It has a population of fewer than 300 and it's only accessible by a 6-day voyage by

  • ship from South Africa.

  • So not a popular place for a weekend break!

  • Indeed not.

  • Now it's time for a recap of our vocabulary.

  • The first word was isolated which Tristan da Cunha certainly is.

  • It means far away from other place and people.

  • Then there was stereotype the noun for a simplistic view of person or group based on their nationality,

  • age, profession and the like.

  • Intensely means strongly.

  • Being plagued by something means it causes you problems and difficulties.

  • If you are trying to figure something out, you are trying to understand it.

  • And to regulate something means to control it.

  • Well, sadly, that's the end of the programme.

  • Hopefully you won't feel too lonely without us, remember we are always here on Instagram,

  • Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, our App and of course the website BBClearningenglish.com.

  • See you soon.

  • Goodbye.

  • Bye!

  • Hello.

  • Welcome to 6 Minute English, I'm Neil.

  • This is the programme where in just six minutes we discuss an interesting topic and teach

  • some related English vocabulary.

  • And joining me to do this is Rob.

  • Hello, Neil.

  • Now Rob, you seem like a happy chappy.

  • What's the point of being miserable?

  • Well, that are many things that could make you feel down in the dumps – a phrase that

  • means 'unhappy' – but what are the things that keep you feeling happy, cheerful and

  • chirpy, Rob?

  • Oh, many things like being healthy, having good friends, presenting programmes like this

  • with you, Neil!

  • Of coursebut we all have different ideas about what makes us happyand that can

  • vary from country to country and culture to culture.

  • It's what we're talking about todayconcepts of happiness.

  • Now Neil, you could make us even happier if you gave us a really good question to answer.

  • Here it is.

  • Happiness is an emotion that actually gets measured.

  • The World Happiness Report measures "subjective well-being" - how happy the people are, and

  • why.

  • But do you know, according to a United Nations agency report in 2017, which is the happiest

  • country on Earth?

  • Is it… a) Norway

  • b) Japan, or c) New Zealand?

  • WeIl, I think they're all very happy places but the outdoor life of many New Zealanders

  • must make New Zealand the happiest place.

  • OK, we'll see.

  • I'll reveal the answer later on.

  • But now back to our discussion about happiness around the world.

  • Happiness can be hard to define.

  • Research has suggested that while personal feelings of pleasure are the accepted definition

  • of happiness in Western cultures, East Asian cultures tend to see happiness as social harmony

  • and in some parts of Africa and India it's more about shared experiences and family.

  • It's something author and journalist Helen Russell has been looking atshe's even

  • created an 'Atlas of Happiness'.

  • Her research focused on the positive characteristics of a country's populationand guess which

  • country she found to be one of the happiest?

  • New Zealand?

  • Actually no.

  • It was Japan.

  • Here she is speaking on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour programme.

  • What conceptor beliefis it that promotes happiness?

  • Millennials and perhaps older people are better at remembering wabi-sabithis traditional

  • Japanese concept around celebrating imperfection, which I think is something so helpful these

  • days, especially for womenit's this idea that there is a beauty in ageing, it's to

  • be celebrated rather than trying to disguise it, or trying to cover up the scars instead

  • you gild them with kintsugiif you break a pot instead of chucking it away, you mend

  • it with gold lacquer so the scars, rather than being hidden, are highlighted in pure

  • gold

  • We all have laughter lines and rather than being ashamed of them, they're something to

  • be celebrated.

  • So in Japan, there is a belief that people should celebrate imperfection.

  • Imperfection is a fault or weakness.

  • So rather than hiding something that's not perfect, we should celebrate it.

  • Getting old, for example, is not something to be ashamed ofdon't hide your wrinkles

  • or laughter linesthese are the creases you get as you skin ages or even you get from

  • smiling too much!

  • Rather than spending time being ashamed of our faults, we should accept what and who

  • we are.

  • This concept is something that Helen feels is particularly being celebrated by Millennials

  • and older people.

  • Yes, and Helen compared this with the process of kintsugiwhere the cracks or scars

  • on broken pottery are highlighted with gold lacquer.

  • This is called gilding.

  • So we should highlight our imperfections.

  • This concept is something that maybe English people should embrace more because according

  • to Helen Russell's research, they are not a very happy population.

  • Here she is speaking on the BBC's Woman's Hour programme againwhat word does she

  • use to describe people like me and you?

  • In England what we have is 'jolly', which many of us now associate with this kind of

  • 'jolly hockey sticks' or maybe an upper-class thing but actually it's something that really

  • plays through a lot of British culture in a way that we may not think of so much.

  • So there's this sense that in a lot of our comedy, in a lot of our approach to life you

  • just sort ofyou get out there, you go for a dog walk, you have a boiled egg and

  • soldiers ['soldiers' in this case are small slices of toast that you can dip into your

  • egg and eat], and we do sort of get on with thingsit's a coping mechanism, it's not

  • perfect but it's worked for many Brits for a while.

  • In the past we would use the phrase 'jolly hockey sticks' – a humorous phrase used

  • to describe upper-class school girls' annoying enthusiasm.

  • But Helen now thinks 'jolly' describes an attitude that is used as a coping mechanism

  • that's something someone does to deal with a difficult situation.

  • We smile, do everyday thingslike walking the dogand just get on with life.

  • I guess she means carry on without complaining.

  • Well, here's something to make you happy, Robthe answer to the question I asked

  • you earlier, which was: according to a United Nations agency report in 2017, which is the

  • happiest country on Earth?

  • Is it… a) Norway

  • b) Japan, or c) New Zealand?

  • And I said c) New Zealand.

  • The answer is a) Norway.

  • The report has been published for the past five years, during which the Nordic countries

  • have consistently dominated the top spots.

  • OK, now it's time to remind ourselves of some of the vocabulary we've mentioned today.

  • We mentioned the phrase down in the dumpswhich is an informal way of describing

  • the feeling of unhappiness, sometimes with no hope.

  • The next word was imperfection, which is a fault or weakness.

  • You won't find any imperfections in this programme, Rob!

  • Glad to hear it.

  • Maybe we should gild this scriptto gild something is to cover it in a thin layer of

  • gold.

  • We also heard about the word jolly which means 'cheerful and happy'.

  • And being jolly can be used as a coping mechanism - that's something someone does to deal with

  • a difficult situation.

  • If something doesn't go well, you just smile and carry on.

  • Well, there's no need to do that in this programme.

  • Now there's just time to remind you that we have a website with lots more learning English

  • content.

  • The address is bbclearningenglish.com.

  • Thanks for joining us and goodbye.

  • Goodbye!

  • Hello.

  • This is 6 Minute English, I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Rob.

  • What do you remember of your teenage years?

  • Oh, I was a nightmare.

  • I was rude to my parents, always stayed out late, never did my homework, hung out with

  • the wrong people and made lots of bad decisions.

  • How about you, Neil?

  • Well, much the same really.

  • People always say that about teenagers, don't they?

  • That they go through a period where they are out of control and behave badly.

  • But apparently, it's not their fault.

  • At least not directly.

  • So whose fault is it?

  • Our brains', apparently.

  • Teenagers' brains are still developing in areas that control behaviour, which could

  • mean that you can't blame them for acting the way they do.

  • Before we find out more, let's have our question.

  • There have always been teenagers, but when was the word 'teenager' first used to

  • refer to the 13 – 19 age group?

  • Was it:

  • a) the 1920s

  • b) the 1930s

  • c) the 1950s

  • Any ideas, Rob?

  • Well, I think it came along around the time of rock and roll, so that would have made

  • it the 1950s.

  • That's my guess.

  • I'll have the answer later in the programme.

  • Sarah-Jayne Blakemore from University College London specialises in the workings of the

  • brain, particularly the teenage brain.

  • Recently she was a guest on the BBC Radio programme, The Life Scientific.

  • She explained that the understanding that the brain is still developing during the teenage

  • years is quite new.

  • When does she say the first research came out?

  • The first study showing that the human brain undergoes this very substantial and significant

  • development throughout adolescence and into the twenties; the first papers were published

  • in the late 90s.

  • Before that, and for example when I was at university, the dogma in the text books was