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

  • Sam: And I'm Sam.

  • Neil: Sam, do you know Stephen Fry?

  • Sam: Not personally, but I know of him.

  • Stephen Fry is an English writer and comedian

  • and is well known for being extremely intelligent

  • and very knowledgeable about many things

  • cultural, historical and linguistic.

  • Neil: To be knowledgeable

  • means 'to know a lot about something'.

  • I wish I was half as knowledgeable as he is!

  • Sam: I wish I were a quarter as knowledgeable!

  • Neil: There is still time, Sam!

  • And maybe this week's question will help you become

  • just a little bit more knowledgeable

  • on the topic of the telephone.

  • The first long distance telephone call

  • was made in 1876.

  • Approximately what was the distance of that call?

  • Was it: A: 10km?

  • B: 15 km?

  • Or C: 20 km?

  • What do you think Sam?

  • Sam: So when you say long distance ……?

  • Neil: For the time, yes.

  • Remember the telephone was only a baby in 1876.

  • Sam: In that case, I'll say approximately 15km.

  • But that's just a guess

  • - a long distance guess.

  • Neil: We'll find out if you're right

  • at the end of the programme.

  • Stephen Fry is also known as a technophile.

  • The suffix 'phile' means 'a lover of that thing'.

  • So a technophile is someone who loves technology.

  • Fry was a guest on the BBC podcast Word of Mouth

  • and was talking about the technology of

  • communication.

  • It seems he's not a fan of the telephone.

  • But why not?

  • Stephen Fry: I think the telephone was

  • a really annoying blip in our communications and that's

  • old technology. I mean that's 1880s, 90s.

  • When you're on the telephone to someone,

  • especially if you're Britishyou know, that

  • Bernard Shaw thing,

  • oh, you know - the moment one Englishman opens his

  • mouth another Englishman despises him

  • - when you're speaking to someone on the telephone

  • all the age, class, education, vocabulary

  • all come into play

  • because it's in real time

  • and it's embarrassing. I hate being on the

  • telephone to people

  • - especially strangers in shops and things like that

  • because it's embarrassing and awkward.

  • Neil: So, why doesn't he like the telephone?

  • Sam: Well, he uses a quote from the writer

  • George Bernard Shaw.

  • It's not the exact quote but the meaning is that

  • as soon as an English person speaks,

  • another English person despises them.

  • To despise someone is a very strong emotion

  • and it means 'to really hate someone'.

  • Neil: So, what is it about the English person's voice

  • that leads others to despise them?

  • Sam: Stephen Fry goes on to explain

  • that there is a lot of information about someone that

  • people get from their voice.

  • You can make a judgment about someone's age,

  • level of education and class

  • from the way that they speak

  • and the vocabulary they use.

  • Neil: 'Class' refers to your economic and social position

  • in a society.

  • In Britain, we talk about three classes:

  • upper class, middle class and working class.

  • The family into which you are born dictates your class.

  • These used to be a lot more important in British society

  • but there are still different prejudices and negative

  • feelings related to the relationship between the classes.

  • Sam: Exactly, so hearing someone's voice on the

  • telephone might make you think something negative

  • about someone based on very old-fashioned

  • ideas of class.

  • What makes it worse is that these conversations

  • happen in real time.

  • This means they are 'happening live', 'not recorded',

  • so you have no time to really think about it.

  • Neil: So he may be a technophile,

  • but he's not a fan of the phone!

  • Sam: Indeed. He called it a 'blip',

  • which is a word for when something is not quite right

  • - when there is a fault or a mistake which is usually

  • not long lasting.

  • Neil: So do you think he's right?

  • Sam: Well, actually,

  • I don't like to talk to strangers on the phone very much

  • myself, but that's just me.

  • But I do think that although

  • the class divisions in British society

  • are much less obvious and much less important

  • than in the past,

  • we still do make judgements about people based on

  • how they speak

  • and those judgements can often be completely false.

  • Neil: Right, nearly time to review our vocabulary,

  • but first,

  • let's have the answer to today's question.

  • The first long distance telephone

  • call was made in 1876.

  • Approximately what was the distance of that call?

  • Was it: A: 10km?

  • B: 15 km?

  • Or C: 20 km?

  • What did you think, Sam?

  • Sam: I guessed 15km. But it was just a guess.

  • Neil: Well, sadly, on this occasion

  • it was not a correct guess.

  • The correct answer is approximately 10km

  • or 6 miles.

  • Congratulations if you go that right.

  • Now on with vocabulary.

  • Sam: We started with the adjective 'knowledgeable',

  • which means 'knowing a lot about something'.

  • Neil: A technophile is someone who loves technology.

  • Sam: To despise someone is to hate someone strongly.

  • Neil: 'Class' refers to a group in society you are

  • said to belong to from your birth.

  • Certain stereotypes are often attached to different

  • classes to do with intelligence and education,

  • for example.

  • Sam: 'In real time' is an expression that means

  • 'happening live, without any pauses or breaks'.

  • So for example,

  • you aren't listening to this programme in real time,

  • Neil: Well, I am.

  • Sam: Well, of course, you are Neil,

  • because you are here with me as we are recording.

  • But if you're listening to the podcast,

  • it's no longer real time.

  • It's been recorded and edited.

  • Neil: And we had one other word, didn't we?

  • Sam: Yes, a 'blip',

  • which is a temporary fault, or mistake.

  • Neil: Well, that's all we've got 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 programmes

  • and videos and activities

  • to help you improve your English.

  • Thank you for joining us and goodbye!

  • Sam: Bye!

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

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A2 UK telephone km knowledgeable class fry stephen

Is talking on the phone embarrassing? - 6 Minute English

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    odo1025q posted on 2019/06/25
Video vocabulary