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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Rob.

  • It's great that you're here to keep me companyto spend time

  • with me so I don't get lonelybecause loneliness is the subject

  • of this programme.

  • It's good to be here, Neil.

  • I think many of us have experienced loneliness at some point.

  • Maybe you've felt lonely because all your friends have gone out for

  • dinner without you, or maybe you've felt lonely

  • just because you don't fit in somewhere.

  • Yes, that's when we sometimes use the expression 'to

  • feel lonely in a crowd'.

  • Well, we'll be exploring if this is a new idea or something humans

  • have always experienced, and along the way we'll be teaching

  • you some new vocabulary.

  • But now I'm here to keep you company,

  • how about a question for me?

  • Of course! Well, one possibly lonely man is Mauro Morandi.

  • He's lived alone on Budelli Island in Italy

  • for many years, but how many years exactly?

  • Is it: a) 6 years, b) 31 years, or

  • c) 44 years?

  • Umm 44 years would be tough, as would 31, so I'll go for 6 years.

  • OK, Rob, we'll find out later if that's right.

  • Now, I'm sure we all want to be alone from time to time, to escape

  • the demands of our colleagues or the pressures of real life,

  • but would we really want to be totally alone?

  • Well, I certainly wouldn't.

  • And research has found that prolonged social isolation is bad for us,

  • particularly mentally.

  • It's an interesting topic, and one that the BBC Radio 4 programme

  • Thinking Aloud has been exploring.

  • Its guest, Fay Bound Alberti, Reader in History at the University

  • of York, explained how loneliness is a relatively

  • new emotional state.

  • A state is a condition at a particular time.

  • Let's hear what she had to say about references

  • to loneliness in literature.

  • Well novels are fascinating, because there's a difference

  • between novels in the 18th Century, when they first came into being,

  • and novels in the 19th Century - in the 18th Century something

  • like Robinson Crusoe, there's not a single reference to loneliness.

  • By the 19th Century novels are full of lonely people and that reflects

  • those kinds of social changes.

  • Give me some examples. What may count as examples?

  • Well, I suppose I'm thinking about if you compare something like

  • Wuthering Heights where you have this desperate desire on the part

  • of the heroine to find love which is bundled up to in this sense of the

  • self not being complete without another, or Tess of the d'Ubervilles.

  • And so Victorian fiction in particular tends to be full of woman

  • who are in search of the significant other

  • and needing to find happiness and an absence of loneliness

  • in the domestic.

  • It's interesting that Fay mentions the story of Robinson Crusoe

  • about a man living on a desert island

  • does not mention the word loneliness.

  • But because of a shift in how people behaved and thought in the

  • 19th centurycalled social changeloneliness became

  • an emotion that was written about in stories.

  • Ah, but loneliness tended to be something affecting women.

  • They were searching for happiness by finding a 'significant other' –

  • a partner, usually a man, who they wanted to marry.

  • How things have changed!

  • Yes, now Fay also went on to talk about how some

  • female authors, like Virginia Woolf, looked for solitudethat's

  • being alonebecause that helped them be creative.

  • Even today, being alone gives us headspace and time to think,

  • as long as it doesn't last forever. Anyway, as we mentioned,

  • we've probably all been lonely at some point, and Fay

  • Bound Alberti told the Thinking Aloud programme that

  • loneliness can take many forms.

  • Absolutely, I think that loneliness is something that affects

  • all people but at different times in their lives. I would describe in

  • terms of pinch pointsthere are times when we change [when

  • we become] when we get married, we become mothers, we get

  • divorced, anything that changes our life might put us under

  • temporary loneliness. When it's a problem is

  • when it becomes chronic.

  • It seems that there are certain times in our lives when we might

  • feel lonelywhen we break up with a partner or have a baby and

  • feel isolated, for example. These are moments that Fay

  • describes as pinch pointstimes in your life where there are

  • difficulties and things slow down or change.

  • We could say loneliness at these times is understandable,

  • normal and temporary. When it becomes a bigger issue,

  • it's what Fay describes as chronicso, long lasting.

  • And loneliness isn't always obvious to other people, so it's good

  • to check in with friends and family to see how they're feeling

  • and to ask if they're OK. Of course, it would be difficult to check

  • in on Mauro Morandi, who's been living on Budelli Island in Italy

  • for many years, but how many years exactly?

  • Ahh well I thought 6 years. Was I right?

  • I'm afraid not. It's actually been 31 years. He told National

  • Geographic magazine “I'm sort of in prison herebut it's a prison

  • that I chose for myself.” So I'm guessing he's got used to his

  • own company! I certainly couldn't live alone for that long

  • I'd been too lonely, I need company Rob.

  • Yeah, me too Neil! And loneliness is what we've been discussing

  • in this programme. Here's a recap of some of the vocabulary

  • we've mentioned. Firstly, to keep someone company is to spend

  • time with someone so they don't get lonely.

  • Social change is a shift in how people behave and think.

  • A significant other is an informal way of describing a partner.

  • Solitude describes being alone.

  • When talking about life, pinch points are times where there are

  • difficulties and things slow down or change. And chronic

  • describes a health condition that is long lasting.

  • And that's all we have time for in this programme,

  • but remember you can find more useful vocabulary,

  • trending topics and help with your language learning here at

  • BBC Learning English. We also have an app that you can

  • download for free from the app stores and of course we are

  • all over social media. Bye for now!

  • Bye bye!

Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

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B1 loneliness lonely programme describes century pinch

Loneliness - 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/29
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