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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

  • I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Georgina

  • Can I ask you something, Georgina…?

  • Mm-mm-hmm.

  • Georgina? I said, I want to ask you something

  • are you listening to me?!

  • Mm-hmm,

  • just a second, Neil, I'm texting a friend

  • Ah, has this ever happened you?

  • Someone too busy texting to talk.

  • With the huge rise of mobile phones in recent decades,

  • communicating by text has become more and more popular

  • and scenes like this have become increasingly common.

  • and send! There, all done!

  • Now, what were you saying, Neil?

  • In this programme, we'll be investigating why people

  • often choose to text, instead of talk to the people in their lives.

  • We'll be asking whether this popular form of communication

  • is changing how we interact with each other.

  • And, of course, we'll be learning some related

  • vocabulary as well.

  • Now, Neil, what did you want to ask me?

  • My quiz question, Georgina, which is this.

  • Young people are often the biggest users of mobile phones,

  • but in a 2016 study, what percentage of British

  • teenagers said they would prefer to send a text

  • rather than speak to someone,

  • even if they were in the same room?

  • Is it: a) 9 percent?,

  • b) 49 percent?, or, c) 99 percent?

  • That sounds pretty shocking!

  • I can't believe 99 percent of teenagers said that,

  • so I'll guess b) 49 percent.

  • OK, Georgina. We'll find out later if that's right.

  • In one way, the popularity of texting, sometimes called

  • 'talking with thumbs', is understandable - people like to

  • be in control of what they say.

  • But this low-risk way of hiding behind a screen may come

  • at a cost, as neuroscientist, Professor Sophie Scott,

  • explained to Sandra Kanthal, for BBC World Service

  • programme, The Why Factor:

  • When we 'talk with our thumbs' by text or email or

  • instant message, we're often prioritising speed over clarity

  • and depth.

  • But when we can't hear the way someone is speaking it's all

  • too easy to misunderstand their intention.

  • So if I say a phrase like, 'Oh shut up!' -

  • has a different meaning than, 'Oh shut up!'

  • There's an emotional thing there but also a strong

  • kind of intonation: one's sort of funny,

  • one's just aggressive.

  • Written down it's just aggressive – 'Shut up!'

  • - and you can't soften that. […] We always speak with melody

  • and intonation to our voice and we'll change our meaning

  • depending on that.

  • You take that channel of information out of communication

  • you lose another way that sense is being conveyed.

  • When reading a text instead of listening to someone speak,

  • we miss out on the speaker's intonation

  • that's the way the voice rises and falls when speaking.

  • Intonation, how a word is said, often changes

  • the meaning of words and phrases - small groups of words

  • people use to say something particular.

  • Reading a phrase like, 'Oh shut up!' in a text,

  • instead of hearing it spoken aloud, makes it

  • easy to misunderstand the speaker's intention

  • their aim, or plan of what they want to do.

  • And it's not just the speaker's intention that we miss.

  • A whole range of extra information is conveyed

  • through speech, from the speaker's age and gender

  • to the region they're from.

  • Poet, Gary Turk, believes that we lose something

  • uniquely human when we stop talking.

  • And there are practical problems involved with texting too,

  • as he explains to BBC World Service's, The Why Factor:

  • If you speak to someone in person and they don't respond

  • right away, that would be rude.

  • But you might be speaking to someone in person

  • and someone texts you...

  • and it would be ruder for you then to stop that conversation

  • and speak to the person over text

  • yet the person on the other side of the text is getting annoyed

  • you haven't responded right wayit's like we're

  • constantly now creating these situations using our phones

  • that allow us to like tread on mines

  • no matter what you do, we're going to disappoint people

  • because we're trying to communicate in so many different ways.

  • Do you prioritise the person on the phone?

  • Would you prioritise the person you're speaking to?

  • Who do you disappoint first?

  • You're going to disappoint somebody.

  • So what should you do if a friend texts you when you're

  • already speaking to someone else in person

  • physically present, face to face?

  • You can't communicate with both people at the same time,

  • so whatever you do someone will get annoyed

  • become angry and upset.

  • Gary thinks that despite its convenience,

  • texting creates situations where we have to tread on mines,

  • another way of saying that something is a minefield,

  • meaning a situation full of hidden problems and dangers,

  • where people need to take care.

  • Yes, it's easy to get annoyed when someone ignores you

  • to text their friend

  • Oh, you're not still upset about that are you, Neil?

  • Ha, it's like those teenagers in my quiz question!

  • Remember I asked you how many teenagers

  • said they'd prefer to text someone,

  • even if they were in the same room.

  • I guessed it was b) 49 percent.

  • Which wasthe correct answer!

  • I'm glad you were listening, Georgina, and not texting!

  • Ha ha! In this programme we've been discussing

  • ways in which texting differs from talking with someone in person

  • or face to face.

  • Sending texts instead of having a conversation

  • means we don't hear the speaker's intonation

  • the musical way their voice rises and falls.

  • A phrase - or small group of words - like 'Oh shut up!',

  • means different things when said in different ways.

  • Without intonation we can easily misunderstand a

  • text writer's intentiontheir idea or plan of

  • what they are going to do.

  • Which in turns means they can get annoyed

  • or become irritated, if you don't understand

  • what they mean, or don't respond right away.

  • All of which can create an absolute minefield

  • a situation with many hidden problems,

  • where you need to speak and act carefully.

  • 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!

Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

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A2 texting georgina intonation percent programme speaker

Why do we choose to text instead of talk? 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/03
Video vocabulary