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  • Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

  • Neil: And I'm Neil. Hello.

  • Rob: Hi there, Neil. Hardly a day goes by without hearing someone talking about some aspect of our bodies.

  • Do you know what I mean, Neil?

  • Neil: Oh, yes, Rob. Almost every part of our anatomy seems to be the subject of endless debate.

  • It could be our stomachs and what we eat.

  • It could be our posture and how we stand. It could be our skin and how we should look after it.

  • Rob: Yes, I know, it gets very tedious ... that means boring,

  • so I don't really take any notice, as you can see!

  • But there's one part of our body you don't hear much about and that is the chin.

  • Neil: The chin? You mean the small bit of bone under the mouth?

  • It's not the most interesting part, is it Rob?

  • I mean, it doesn't do anything, does it?

  • I must admit I've never even thought about it.

  • What's it for, anyway?

  • Rob: Well, some people think it's very useful for folding up large sheets and towels.

  • You know, you hold one end under your chin like that with it...

  • Neil: Come on, Rob, you're not being serious!

  • Rob: Of course not. But seriously, the more you think about it,

  • the more interesting the chin becomes.

  • Neil: You've still got to convince me, Rob.

  • A chin is just a chin. That's all there is to it.

  • Rob: Not so fast, Neil. The chin may turn out to be a more important part of the body than you think.

  • But before we get into that, let's turn to the quiz. Chin up, Neil.

  • Neil: A good phrase, it means stay positive and optimistic.

  • Rob: OK well how optimistic are you about getting this question right?

  • How long ago do you think humans developed chins?

  • Was it ... a) 150,000 years ago?

  • b) 2 million years ago? or c) 5 million years ago?

  • Neil: Hmm. I have no idea. They all sound far-fetched to me.

  • Far-fetched means something is difficult to believe.

  • But I think I'll go for 2 million years ago.

  • Rob: 'B'. Okay. Well, we'll find out if you're right or wrong later on.

  • But the first thing to say is that humans are the only animals to have developed a chin.

  • Let's listen to Dr James Pampush from the University of Florida.

  • What word does he use to mean it sticks out?

  • James Pampush: Humans are the only animal that have a chin and by that I mean,

  • you have this bony projection underneath your teeth

  • that sticks out past your teeth on the lower portion of your jaw and it's such an unusual feature,

  • that in a way it sort of helps define what it means to be human.

  • Neil: So he used the word projection which means

  • something that sticks out from the main surface.

  • Rob: And the word jaw is used to describe the lower part of the face, which the chin is part of.

  • So, we now know exactly what the chin is.

  • But why did it develop?

  • Neil: Now from what I understand, Rob, it has a lot to do with

  • when humans started to cook their food, so the food they ate became much softer.

  • Therefore, our ancestors that's the people related to us from a long time ago,

  • they didn't need powerful jaws or sharp teeth anymore.

  • And, strangely, that made the jaw drop and produced that odd piece of bone we know as the chin.

  • Rob: But some time later the chin became associated with sexual attraction in men.

  • Males with prominent that means easy to see jaws were supposed to be attractive to women.

  • And men with small chins were thought to be unattractive or weak people.

  • They were even called chinless wonders sometimes.

  • Neil: Chinless wonder, an interesting phrase! So, let's have a look at yours, Rob.

  • Are you a chinless wonder? Mmm. Looks pretty normal to me. How about mine?

  • Rob: Well, Neil, your chin is rather pointed if you don't mind me saying.

  • But I'm not sure what that means, to be honest. So, let's move swiftly on.

  • Let's hear what Dr Pampush has to say about this.

  • He uses a word that means this theory is likely to be true.

  • James Pampush: It seems plausible to me that chins emerged

  • as some kind of feature and then later were selected to be sex ornaments. But not the

  • presence of the chin but, rather, the shape of the chin being some kind of marker for sexual identity.

  • Neil: The word he used was plausible meaning something that is acceptable or believable.

  • Rob: The word chin has also given us some interesting expressions.

  • A double chin, for example, describes loose skin hanging beneath the chin

  • which makes people look like they've got two chins!

  • It's something that people don't like and often try to get rid of.

  • Neil: And then there's the verb to chinwag.

  • That means to talk a lot or to chat in a relaxed way with friends.

  • A chinwag tends to be a conversation about things that aren't very important,

  • but our conversation about chins is very important!

  • Rob: I guess so Neil, OK. So how about the answer to that question I asked you earlier?

  • I asked you how long ago did humans develop chins?

  • Was it a) 150,000 years ago? b) 2 million years ago or c) 5 million years ago?

  • Neil: And I said 2 million years ago.

  • Rob: You know your chins, you were right. Well done!

  • Rob: Chins really have been around for a long time.

  • Now, before we go, it's time to remind ourselves of some of the vocabulary that we've heard today. Neil.

  • Neil: tedious

  • chin up

  • far-fetched

  • projection

  • jaw

  • ancestors

  • prominent

  • chinless wonder

  • plausible

  • double chin

  • chinwag

  • Rob: Thanks Neil. Well, that brings us to the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • We hope you've enjoyed the programme.

  • You can hear plenty more on our website at bbclearningenglish.com.

  • Please join us again soon. Bye bye.

  • Neil: Goodbye.

Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

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B1 UK TOEIC rob chin jaw neil neil plausible

BBC 6 Minute English Aug 06, 2015 - Chins

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    Adam Huang posted on 2015/08/12
Video vocabulary