Neil: Welcome to 6 Minute English. In this
programme we bring you an expressive topic
and six items of vocabulary. I'm Neil.
Tim: And I'm Tim. So, we had an argument just before
we started the show.
Neil: We did, Tim. But no hard feelings?
Tim: None. No hard feelings is something you say
to somebody you have argued with to say you'd still like
to be friends. We often fall out
over silly things.
Neil: Like who's going to introduce the show.
Tim: Or who's going to choose the quiz question.
Neil: But we understand each other. That's the important
thing, isn't it? To fall out with somebody by the
way, is another way of saying to argue or disagree
with them. Did you know that you wave your arms
around a lot when you're arguing, Tim?
Tim: No, I didn't know I did that.
Neil: That isn't very British.
Tim: I know. Using gestures, or movements you make
with your hands or your head to express what you are
thinking of feeling is common in some
countries but not in others. Then there are
some movements, like shaking your head, which
mostly means 'no' but in some countries can mean the
opposite. Neil: That's right. In which country does
shaking your head mean 'yes', Tim? Is it?
b) Japan or c) Bulgaria?
Tim: No idea. I'll guess Greece. I do know that
in India people shake their heads to mean
lots of different things.
Neil: There are plenty of gestures you need to be
careful with when you're meeting and greeting people
from a culture that's different to
your own, to avoid offending people or making an
awkward faux pas.
Tim: If you make a faux pas it means you say or
do something embarrassing in a social situation.
For example, our every day use of the thumbs-up
signal might offend people from the Middle East.
Neil: And to offend means to make somebody angry
Tim: Let's hear now from Business Professor Erin
Meyer talking about how easy it is to misunderstand
why some people behave the way they do in everyday
situations when we don't belong to the same culture.
Professor Erin Meyer: A while ago I was in Dubai
and one of my Emirati
students was driving me home after a session and the
car stopped at a light and she rolled
down her window, and she started shouting at someone
outside of the window. This guy
was crossing the street with a big box of
cloth. And he started shouting back, and she
opened up the door, and they started gesticulating and
shouting at one another. And I thought,
wow, they're having a huge fight, I thought
maybe he was going to hit her. And she got
back in the car, and I said, well, what were you fighting
about? And she said, 'Oh no,
we weren't fighting, he was giving me directions to
your hotel. And I thought that was a great example of
how someone from another culture may misperceive or
misunderstand something as a fight when in fact they
were just being emotionally expressive. '
Neil: Gesticulating. What does that mean?
Tim: It means what I was doing earlier! Waving
your arms around to express what you're feeling.
Neil: Erin Meyer was worried because her student
and the man on the street were shouting and
gesticulating at each other. She thought they
were having a fight when in fact they were
just being emotionally expressive.
Tim: And expressive means showing what you think
Neil: You were nodding in agreement, there, Tim.
Which reminds me of our quiz question. In which
country does shaking your head mean
'yes'? Is it? a) Greece, b) Japan or c) Bulgaria?
Tim: I said Greece.
Neil: That's the wrong answer I'm afraid. The right
answer is Bulgaria. In some Southeastern European
areas such as Bulgaria and southern Albania,
shaking your head is used to indicate 'yes'.
In those regions, nodding in fact means 'no'
Tim: OK, I hope I remember that next time I meet
somebody from Southeastern Europe.
OK, shall we look back at the words we learned today?
Neil: No hard feelings is something you say to
somebody you have argued with or
beaten in a game or contest to say you'd still like
to be friends.
Tim: For example, I always get the quiz questions
right, unlike you Neil. But no hard feelings, OK?
Neil: That's not a very realistic example, Tim,
But I'll let it go. Number two... to fall out
with somebody means to argue or disagree
Tim: I fell out with my best friend at school.
We didn't talk to each other for a whole week!
Neil: That must've been a serious disagreement,
Tim! What were you arguing about?
Tim: I can't remember. It was a long time ago.
Number three, a 'gesture' is a movement you make with
your hands or head to express what
you are thinking of feeling.
Neil: She opened her arms wide in a gesture
Tim: Or the verb: 'I gestured to Neil that we only
had one minute left to finish the show!'
Neil: Is that true, Tim? You're nodding your head,
but we should also quickly mention 'gesticulate' which
means to make gestures with your hands
Tim: A 'faux pas' is saying or doing something
embarrassing in a social situation. For example, I
committed a serious faux pas at a party
last night that I'm too embarrassed to tell
Neil: Oh dear, Tim. I hope you didn't offend too
many people - 'offend' is our next word and it means to
make somebody angry or upset
Tim: Well, you've given us a good example already,
Neil, so let's move on to the final word - 'expressive',
which means showing what you think or feel.
Neil: Tim has a very expressive face.
Tim: Thanks! Another quick example - 'I waved my
hand expressively to signal to Neil that it
was time to finish the show.
Neil: Taking my cue from Tim, that's all for
today. But please remember to check out our Instagram,
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