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

  • And I'm Rob.

  • Rob, when you were a child, did you

  • have a pet?

  • Yes, we had a few pets. My favourite

  • was a little fluffy hamster.

  • And what happened to your

  • hamster?

  • Well one day I got home from school and he

  • wasn't in his cage. I was worried for

  • a bit in case he'd escaped or got hurt,

  • but it was alright. My mum told me that

  • he had gone to live on a farm so that he

  • could run around with other animals.

  • Really?

  • Yes, really.

  • A hamster. Went to live on a farm. To

  • be with other animals. Really?

  • Oh, well, when you put it like that.

  • I think that was probably one of

  • those lies that parents tell their children

  • so as not to make them sad.

  • Well I'm sad now.

  • Well maybe having a go at this quiz

  • will cheer you up.

  • According to a study by a US

  • psychologist, what percentage of people

  • will lie in a typical

  • ten minute conversation? Is it:

  • a) 40% b) 50%, or c) 60%.

  • I think most people don't lie that

  • much so I'll say 40%.

  • We'll reveal the answer a little later in

  • the programme.

  • So today we are talking about lies

  • and particularly the lies that parents

  • tell children.

  • The topic was discussed on the BBC

  • Radio 4 programme, Woman's Hour.

  • A guest on that programme was

  • Doctor Chris Boyle, a psychologist at

  • Exeter University. He talks about a

  • particular kind of lie. We tell these lies not

  • because we want to hurt people.

  • What colour are these lies called?

  • A white lie is just a

  • distortion of the truth without malicious

  • intentas long as there's

  • not malicious intent I think it's something

  • that we do. It's almost a societal norm

  • that it's become where it is acceptable

  • that we do tell certain lies at certain

  • times.

  • Dr Chris Boyle there. What colour is

  • the kind of lie he was talking about?

  • It's a white lie. He says a white lie is just

  • a distortion of the truth. Distortion here

  • means a changing or bending of the truth.

  • These kind of lies are OK as long as we

  • don't tell them because we won't to hurt

  • someone.

  • He used the phrase malicious intent

  • to talk about a bad reason for doing

  • something, didn't he?

  • Yes, intent is the reason or purpose

  • for doing something and malicious

  • is an adjective which means cruel or

  • nasty. So without malicious intent

  • means without wanting to hurt or be

  • cruel to someone.

  • He said that this kind of white lie

  • was almost a societal norm. Can you

  • explain what he means by that?

  • Yes, something that is the norm is

  • something that is expected, it's

  • regular and usual. The adjective 'societal'

  • comes from the noun society.

  • So a societal norm is something that is

  • regular and common in your culture or

  • society.

  • So do you think your mum's story

  • about the hamster and the farm was

  • a little white lie?

  • Yes, I'm sure it was. She didn't do it

  • with malicious intent - she didn't want

  • to hurt me. In fact, just the opposite, she

  • wanted to protect me.

  • Yes, that's one kind of white lie that

  • parents tell, to protect children.

  • There are also a couple of other reasons.

  • One being the parent's convenience.

  • Yes, I remember my mum telling me

  • on certain days, the park wasn't open.

  • I know now that it never closed, I guess at

  • the time she was just too busy to take me.

  • And then there are the cultural lies

  • that parents tell children.

  • What do you mean by that?

  • Well first, if you have any children

  • listening to this right now, you might want

  • to cover their ears for a few seconds.

  • Rob I'm talking about, for example,

  • Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy.

  • Yes, there's no malicious intent in

  • telling children those stories. It is a

  • cultural and societal norm.

  • Let's listen to Dr Chris Boyle again

  • talking about white lies.

  • A white lie is just a

  • distortion of the truth without

  • malicious intentso as long as there's

  • not malicious intent I think it's something

  • that we do. It's almost a societal norm that

  • it's become where it is acceptable that we

  • do tell certain lies at certain

  • times.

  • So now back to our question at the

  • top of the programme. I asked what

  • percentage of people will lie in a typical

  • ten minute conversation.

  • Was it: a) 40%, b) 50%, or c) 60%?

  • What did you say Rob?

  • I said a) just 40%.

  • Well I'm afraid the answer was 60%.

  • Really? Goodness 60%! That's more

  • than I expected.

  • Right, well before we go, let's recap

  • the vocabulary we talked about today. The

  • first expression was 'white lie'. A lie we

  • tell without meaning to hurt someone, for

  • example when I say to youyou look

  • nice today!

  • Wait, what did you say?

  • But that is actually a distortion of the

  • truth. A changing or bending of the truth.

  • Mmmm. This makes me think of the

  • next expression,

  • 'malicious intent'. Intent is the reason or

  • purpose for doing something, and doing

  • something with a malicious intent is

  • doing it deliberately to be cruel or to hurt

  • someone. I think you have a malicious

  • intent, telling me that when

  • you say I look nice, it's just a lie!

  • I'm just kidding!

  • That's the norm for you, isn't it, just

  • kidding. A 'norm' is the standard or

  • 'normal' way that something is. In the clip

  • we heard 'societal norm' which is the

  • or 'normal' way something is done in

  • society.

  • For example, telling children about

  • Father Christmas.

  • Sssh!

  • Well, sadly this isn't a lie but that's

  • all for this programme. For more, find us

  • on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our

  • YouTube pages, and of course our

  • website bbclearningenglish.com

  • where you can find all kinds of other

  • audio programmes, videos, and quizzes,

  • to help you improve your English. Thanks

  • for joining us and goodbye!

  • Bye.

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

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B1 US malicious intent white lie norm distortion societal

Talk about should you lie to children in 6 minutes

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    Evangeline posted on 2018/04/20
Video vocabulary