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BBC 6 minute English-Living in a tiny space

BBC 6 minute English-Living in a tiny space

BBC 6 minute English-Living in a tiny space


Transcript of the podcast

NB: This is not a word for word transcript

Jennifer: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English from bbclearningenglish.com. My name is Jennifer and with me in the studio is Neil. Welcome, Neil

Neil: Hi there Jen. In this programme, we take a look at a topic in the news and learn some new vocabulary and phrases from it

Jennifer: In this programme, we’re talking about the growing number of people living in very tiny places. How big is your house, Neil? I bet you live in a castle

Neil: I wish! No, I live in a small, two-bedroom flat, which is not big enough because there are four of us in it! How about you, Jen

Jen: Well, my house is very small indeed, but I do feel grateful to have it, particularly as Britain is experiencing a housing crisis at the moment

Neil: There’s a shortage of houses in Britain and this has meant that the price of houses has become very expensive

Jennifer: The prices have become so expensive that people can’t afford to buy their own home. A popular way to describe buying your first home in English is to get a foot on the property ladder

Neil: Even if you can afford to buy your own home, you might find that your money doesn’t buy very much. Research out this week has revealed that the UK has some of the smallest properties in Europe

Jennifer: I’m glad you mentioned that, Neil, as it reminds me: I haven’t asked you the quiz question yet

One European country has new homes which are, on average, almost 80% bigger than the homes in Britain. Is it

a) Ireland

b) The Netherlands

c) Denmark

Neil: I don’t really know and I’m going to guess that it’s b) the Netherlands

Jennifer: Well, we will find out if you are right at the end of the programme. So, we know that there is a housing crisis in Britain, and we also know that many of the new houses which are on the market, or for sale, are very small. A typical one-bedroom home in Britain is just 46m²

Neil: That is tiny! You could say ‘you wouldn’t have room to swing a cat’: now don’t take that phrase literally; it simply means that a room is very small

Jennifer: The people building the houses are trying to meet the demand for properties, so they are building houses with two or three bedrooms, but those rooms are much smaller than anywhere else in Europe

Neil: And that’s an interesting difference between Britain and the rest Europe. Here in the UK, houses are sold according to the number of bedrooms they have. Elsewhere, people pay more attention to the measurement of the floor space

Jennifer: You’re right, Neil. The number of bedrooms you have in your house is very important to many people in Britain. Now, according to research from the Royal Institute of British Architects, lack of space is the most common cause of dissatisfaction that people have in relation to their homes and it can be really frustrating

Neil: Yes, especially if you have a lot of belongings and kids to squeeze into a small space! So what can you do to make a small space more habitable, or easy to live in

Jennifer: Well, the design of your house can make a difference. If you have a minimalist approach it can make your house feel bigger. Listen to this clip from BBC correspondent Jennifer Pak. She describes a man in Hong Kong who has transformed his small living space to make it multifunctional

BBC correspondent, Jennifer Pak

Architect Gary Chang lives alone. He has created a walk-in closet, with the help of sliding walls. This apartment is only 30m², but, using tracks on the ceiling and wheels, Mr Chang can transform it into a linen closet, a bathroom, and even a full-size kitchen behind the television set. But the renovation cost as much as the flat itself, so for other homes in the territory, it’s a constant battle against clutter

Jennifer: So Mr Chang has modified, or changed, his tiny apartment using sliding walls. That’s great if you’ve got the skills to do that, but lots of people won’t be able to

Neil: As we heard in the report, other people have a real battle against clutter. If you de-clutter your house, you get rid of lots of things that you don’t need, like ornaments, books or CDs

Jennifer: It’s not so bad nowadays – you can store all of your music and books digitally, which does save a lot of space

Neil: Many people who live in small places will buy gadgets which save space and make their lives easier. Here’s Jennifer Pak again, describing a multifunctional cooking gadget

BBC correspondent, Jennifer Pak

Maple Ma likes to make food. This pot can grill, bake, fry and steam using a halogen lamp to cook. It replaces her oven, microwave and stove. The Hong Kong company that makes this pot, German Pool, says its best sellers are gadgets that perform multiple functions

Neil: An oven, microwave and stove, all in one! That’s really handy for small spaces

Jennifer: Now, we’ve heard a lot about small homes in Britain, it’s time to go back to our quiz question from earlier. I asked you which European country’s homes are almost 80% bigger than those in the UK

a) Ireland

b) The Netherlands

c) Denmark

Neil: And I said b) the Netherlands

Jennifer: And you were wrong! It’s homes in Denmark which are, on average, 80% bigger than those in the UK. Homes in the Netherlands are 53% bigger and in Ireland they’re 15% bigger

Neil: So, all in all, living space is pretty small here in the UK

Jennifer: Yes, if you want more space, you’ll have to move abroad. We’re almost out of time now, so Neil, could you remind us of some of the words and phrases we’ve heard today

Neil: Yes. They were

housing crisis to get a foot on the property ladder on the market room to swing a cat to squeeze minimalist de-clutter

Jennifer: Do join us again for another edition of 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. Bye for now

Neil: Goodbye

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