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

  • Alice: and I'm Alice. Now Neil, how do you get to work?

  • Neil: I cycle.

  • Alice: I didn't know that! Somehow I hadn't imagined you as a cyclist.

  • And where's all your bike gear?

  • Neil: Well, I sneak in the mornings, have a shower, and get changed.

  • That's my bike in the corner over there.

  • Alice: Oh, you've got a foldaway bike

  • which means it folds up so it's easy to carry or put away.

  • Do you wear lycra, Neil?

  • Neil: Yes, I do... it's very comfortable. I wear lycra as often as I can.

  • Lycra by the way is a stretchy fabric used in tight-fitting sports clothes.

  • Alice: Well, I'll have to see if I can catch you on your way into the building

  • I'm intrigued about this sporty Neil I didn't know about!

  • Neil: 'Intrigued' means to be very interested in something. Well, Alice, I'm flattered.

  • And today's show is about commutingor travelling between your home and your work.

  • So how did you commute this morning, Alice?

  • Alice: I got the Tubethat's the subway system here in London, also known as the underground

  • and it was a nightmare.

  • We stopped in a tunnel for so long that people started talking to each other.

  • Neil: And for those of you who aren't Londoners, that's unusual!

  • Do you ever talk to people on the train?

  • Alice: No. People think you're crazy if you talk to strangers.

  • Neil: Well, maybe now's a good time to talk about today's quiz question, Alice.

  • What question do you have for me?

  • Alice: Alright then. I know you like my questions, Neil. So here we go:

  • What did the word 'commuter' originally describe? Was it someone who

  • a) travelled with other people?

  • b) paid a reduced fare to travel?

  • Or c) travelled by train to work?

  • Neil: Oh, that's easy. I'm going to go for c) travelled by train to work.

  • Alice: Well, we'll find out later whether you're right or not.

  • Now let's listen to a commuter in Nairobi who takes a matatu to get to work.

  • These are minibuses used as shared taxis in East Africa.

  • Can you spot a word that means being quick to notice things going on around you?

  • Nairobi, Kenya: When I'm stuck in the matatu

  • there is a lot of strange things happen around you,

  • so you have to be alert in Nairobi.

  • When you open... when you leave your window open somebody can run away with your belongings.

  • You may be speaking... using the phone... somebody just snatch your phone...

  • you may expect the unexpected!

  • Neil: The word used by this commuter in Kenya is alert.

  • And in these noisy, crowded buses you need to be alert in case someone runs away with

  • your belongingsbelongings are the things that you own.

  • Alice: Right. Somebody might snatch your phonesnatch means to take something quickly.

  • Neil: Public transport in Nairobi sounds stressful!

  • If I was taking the bus I'd want to have a napor short sleep.

  • Alice: Yes. Well, people have done research on commuting and stress levels

  • and interestingly women are more likely to experience stress during their journey than men.

  • Neil: Why's that?

  • Alice: Well, they're more likely to do something which is being called 'trip chaining'

  • where they make one or more stops on the way to work or going home

  • for example to drop off or pick up the kids from school

  • and this makes it more likely that something will go wrong with their journey.

  • Neil: Even if you aren't trip chaining it's no fun being stuck in a traffic jam

  • that's a large number of vehicles close together moving slowly

  • or being packed into a crowded train like sardines.

  • Let's face ittravelling by car or by public transport can be really miserable!

  • Alice: Yes. Packed in like sardines describes people standing so close together that they

  • can't movelike fish in a can!

  • So let's hear how longer commutes can affect your health from US researcher Christine Hoehner.

  • Christine Hoehner: My study found that adults who commuted longer distances from home to work

  • were less physically active, less physically fit, weighed more and had higher blood pressure

  • than those people who had shorter commutes.

  • Neil: The American researcher must be talking about commuters who aren't engaged in active travel, mustn't she?

  • Because if you cycle a longer distance then you're being more physically active.

  • Alice: I think you're right, for once, Neil!

  • Neil: Yeah.

  • Alice: And I'd better start going to the gym more. I don't like the sound of high blood pressure.

  • Neil: Why don't you hop on your bike, Alice? Then we can both wear lycra to work.

  • Alice: That's a fantastic idea, Neil! Moving on!

  • Here's the answer to today's quiz question.

  • I asked: What did the word 'commuter' originally describe? Was it someone who

  • a) travelled with other people? b) paid a reduced fare to travel? Or c) travelled by train to work?

  • Neil: And I said c) travelled by train to work. It must be right.

  • Alice: And you were wrong I'm afraid, Neil! It's b) someone who paid a reduced fare to travel.

  • The Oxford Dictionary says the word 'commute' comes from from Latin commutare,

  • from com- 'altogether' + mutare 'to change'.

  • The word was used in the US in the 1840s, when people paid a reduced or commuted fare

  • to travel by rail from the suburbs into the city.

  • Neil: OK. Can you tell us the words we heard today again, Alice?

  • Alice: Of course I can. Here they are:

  • foldaway bike

  • lycra

  • intrigued

  • commuting

  • the Tube

  • alert

  • belongings

  • snatch

  • nap

  • traffic jam

  • packed in like sardines

  • commuted

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's journey with 6 Minute English.

  • Please do join us again soon.

  • Both: Bye.

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

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 UK TOEIC alice travelled commuter snatch nairobi

BBC 6 Minute English January 28, 2016 - The commute

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/14
Video vocabulary