A2 Basic UK 200 Folder Collection
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Rob: Hello. This is 6 Minute English and I'm Rob.
Neil: And I'm Neil.
Rob: Today we're talking about buttons.
Neil: Yes, buttons. Buttons are what we
have on our clothes to fasten them but
the word is also used for things that we
push to make things happen.
Rob: Things like your bedside alarm, radio,
toaster, kettle. We press hundreds of
buttons every week without thinking
about it. Not everyone likes buttons
though, particularly the ones we have on
our clothes. It's a recognised phobia.
What is this fear called? Is it
A: buttonophobia, B: koumpounophobia,
or C: coulrophobia. Any ideas Neil?
Neil: Er – I think I've got a fear of pronouncing
these words! No idea what the answer is, I think
buttonophobia is much too obvious – so
it's one of the others – or is it? It's
a hard one.
Rob: Well, I'll have the answer later in the
programme. Thinking Allowed is a BBC
Radio 4 programme which covers a range
of interesting topics. Recently, they
featured a discussion about buttons and
how important they are to everyday
life. Steven Connor, Professor of English
at the University of Cambridge, was on
the programme and he talked about the
appeal of buttons. What does say about
children and buttons?
We do love buttons and I think the
pleasure and the temptation of buttons…
this temptation and everyone feels it,
which is why buttons have to be very
convenient. On the other hand they have
to be kept away from children, so they've
got to be put high up on the wall, and
buttons that really matter have to be
made quite hard to push – like put behind
glass or something.
Rob: OK. What does he say about children
and buttons?
Neil: That they have to be kept away from
them! As I said before, I loved pressing
buttons as a child. I would press any that I
saw, so important ones did have to be out
of my reach.
Rob: Yes, he said buttons are a
temptation. A temptation is something
that makes you want to do something
and it's often used when it's something
you shouldn't really do. So buttons that
lead to potentially dangerous or serious
consequences, like a fire alarm, need to
be protected, maybe behind glass, so
temptation doesn't get the better of us.
Neil: But many buttons have a useful,
practical purpose in everyday life, like
calling a lift - so these buttons have to be
easy to use without difficulty. The adjective
for this is convenient. These everyday
buttons have to be convenient.
Rob: Professor Connor goes on to say a
bit more about why buttons are so
appealing. What's his opinion?
You know what I think? I think it's down to
the fidgeting instinct of very digital or
manual creatures. I think we want to fidget
with things and adjust them, we want to
make them slightly better… I guess it's the
grooming instinct in apes.
Rob: So then, why can't we resist buttons?
Neil: Because as humans we have a
fidgeting instinct. We can't stay still for
very long, we need to move around a lot
because we are very digital creatures.
Rob: The use of digital though, is nothing
to do with modern online technology, is it?
Neil: No, a digit is a finger or toe. So we
are digital creatures – we have fingers
and we like to use them.
Rob: And one thing other digital creatures
do, creatures like apes, is grooming. That
is they use their hands to clean the body
hair of other apes. They look through the
hair for insects and bugs and pull them
out and eat them. But we can also use the
word grooming for humans, someone
who is well-groomed for example is neat
and tidy, clean and well presented.
Here's Professor Connor again.
You know what I think? I think it's down to
the fidgeting instinct of very digital or
manual creatures. I think we want to
fidget with things and adjust them, we
want to make them slightly better…
I guess it's the grooming instinct in apes.
Rob: Before we wrap up, time to get the
answer to this week's question. Some
people have a fear of buttons, it's a
recognised phobia, but what's it called? Is it...
A: buttonophobia, B: koumpounophobia,
or C: coulrophobia. And Neil, you said?
Neil: I didn't, but I don't think it can be
'buttonophobia', that'd be too easy.
And I think coulrophobia is a fear of
clowns, so I'm going for the other one -
koumpounophobia.
Rob: That it right.
Buttonophobia is a made up word, and as
you said, coulrophobia is a fear of clowns.
Right, now let's review today's vocabulary.
Neil: We've been talking about buttons.
These can be small round things we use
to fasten our clothes, or the things that
we push to make something happen.
Rob: Buttons can be a temptation. We see
one, we want to push it. So a temptation
is something that makes us want to do
something we know we shouldn't.
Neil: And then we had the adjective
convenient. Something that is convenient
is easy to use without difficulty. For
example the buttons to call a lift are at a
very convenient height, they can be
reached easily.
Rob: Professor Connor went on to talk
about our fidgeting instinct. As humans
we love to fidget, we like to keep moving
around, we can't stay still for very long
and we love to do stuff with our hands.
Neil: The professor talked about us being
digital creatures, which means creatures
with fingers – a digit is another word for a
finger or toe.
Rob: And finally we had grooming.
Neil: This is the habit of making ourselves
look nice by cleaning, washing and doing
our hair. It's something some animals,
such as apes, do for each other.
Rob: Well the button here in the studio is
flashing, which tells me it's time to wrap
up for today. Do join us next time and if
you can't wait, you can always find us on
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
our App and of course on our website
bbclearningenglish.com. Bye for now.
Neil: Bye! Can I just press that button?
Rob: Oh go on then, if you like!
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Why we press buttons: 6 Minute English

200 Folder Collection
odo1025q published on January 13, 2019
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