BBC 6 minute English-Mermaids,Fact or fiction

BBC 6 minute English-Mermaids,Fact or fiction

BBC 6 minute English-Mermaids,Fact or fiction


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word for word transcript

Dan: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English– the show that brings you an interesting topic, authentic listening practice and vocabulary to help you improve your language skills. I’m Dan

Catherine: And I’m Catherine. In this programme we’ll be discussing mermaids, as well as teaching you 6 new items of vocabulary, of course

Dan: How would you like to be a mermaid

Catherine: A half-human and half-fish? Well, Dan, I think it’s all a myth

Dan: Well, then you’ll find this week’s question a bit of a difficult one to answer

Catherine: I suppose I will. Go on then

Dan: When did the most recent alleged mermaid sighting take place? Was it

a) the 1400s

b) 1800s or

c) 2000s

Catherine: Ok, and by alleged, you mean ‘said or believed to be true but not proven’. I don’t believe in mermaids, but I think there’s a lot of people who do, so I will say c) the 2000s

Dan: Well, we’ll find out if you’re right a bit later on. So, what do you know about mermaids, Catherine

Catherine: Well, a mermaid is a creature that’s similar in appearance to a woman but instead of legs, a mermaid has the tail of a fish. The males are called mermen, and they live in the ocean. I thought they were a myth

Dan: They certainly appear to be mythical. They feature in legends and stories from all over the world. The earliest known one in a story dates from ancient Assyria, around 1000 BC. Can you think of a more modern example

Catherine: Many people will be familiar with the Disney story, The Little Mermaid

Dan: Yes. Before it was an animated movie, it was a renowned fairy-tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, first published in 1837. Interestingly, a small bronze statue of the little mermaid has been sitting in Copenhagen in Denmark since 1913

Catherine: There you go! There’s no real evidence

Dan: What if I told you that over 200 mermaids have recently gathered in Greensboro, North Carolina in the USA

Catherine: You’re telling me fish tales, Dan

Dan: Ok. I’ll confess. They aren’t real mermaids. Each person is a normal human wearing a waist-high latex tail. They meet to share an interest in aquatic mythology, take underwater photos, and swim. For many of them, it’s a source of income too! Listen to Daniel Craig, five year merman, explain

INSERT Daniel Craig, merman

A lot of the mermaids we have attending here are professional mermaids. They will entertain at birthday parties, social events, company events. I stumbled across the mermaiding community merely by accident

Catherine: So it’s a job too! A professional merman. And Daniel said that he stumbled across it, or ‘found it by accident’. So, it doesn’t really count then though, does it Dan

Dan: A real, real mermaid? That’s a different kettle of fish, which is an idiomatic phrase that means ‘a completely different matter or issue’. Well, while we have no hard evidence, such as a photo of a real mermaid, there have been several sightings. One of the more recent ones was in 2009 in Haifa Bay

Catherine: Hang on now, that rings a bell! That’s in Israel, isn’t it? And it allegedly appeared at sunset. Apparently the mermaid was doing tricks

Dan: There you go then

Catherine: But there is no reason, Dan, to believe that it was anything other than a hoax, which means ‘a deception or lie – often done for humour or sometimes cruelty’. Well, real or not, it could be fun to be a mermaid. I wonder what it would be like

Dan: Well, that I can help with. Let Daniel Craig explain why he likes it so much

INSERT Daniel Craig, merman

It’s just serene. It’s the perfect place for a temporary getaway

Catherine: So he likes it because it’s serene, which means calm and peaceful

Dan: Yes and he says it’s the perfect getaway, which is a place you go in order to escape from normal life

Catherine: Well, I still don’t believe in mermaids, but I do believe, Dan, that you asked me a question

Dan: I definitely did. I asked, when did the most recent alleged mermaid sighting take place? Was it

a) the 1400s

b) 1800s or

c) 2000s

Catherine: And I said I think it was the 2000s

Dan: And you have hit the nail on the head. Well done

Catherine: Thank you

Dan: You’re right. It was the 2000s. It was in 2012 in Zimbabwe and it was reported by the water resource minister. Let’s take a look at the vocabulary from this programme. Our first word was alleged. If something is alleged it is ‘said or believed be true but not proven to be true’. Can you think of a recent example, Catherine

Catherine: US President Donald Trump has alleged that newspapers have been printing fake news, but apparently there’s no proof. And our next one was stumbled across. So, if you stumble across something you ‘encounter or find it by accident’. It’s a phrasal verb and you could also say come across. So, Dan, have you ever stumbled across anything unusual

Dan: Well, there was a time when I was going to a party in Holborn and I got completely lost. And there on the floor in front of me I stumbled across a map of London. It got me straight to the party

Catherine: Spooky

Dan: The next one after that was a different kettle of fish. A different kettle of fish is an idiomatic phrase which means ‘a completely different matter or issue’. You could also use the phrase a horse of a different colour

Catherine: Next up, we had hoax. And a hoax is ‘a deception or lie – which is often done for humour or cruelty’. What was the last hoax you did, Dan

Dan: One Christmas I wrapped a broken lightbulb in a box and gave it to mother as a present. I pretended to drop it and the broken lightbulb made a glass shattering noise and she thought that I had broken her present. After that we heard serene. Serene means ‘calm and peaceful’. The noun is serenity. What’s your idea of serene, Catherine

Catherine: Two weeks, lying on the beach, drinking lemonade, listening to the sound of the sea. Fabulous. And finally we had a getaway. A getaway is an informal word meaning ‘a place you go in order to escape from normal life’, such as a holiday. So, where’s your favourite getaway, Dan

Dan: My favourite getaway is my yoga class. I find it really, really refreshing. Well, that’s the end of today’s 6 Minute English. Please join us again soon

Catherine: And we are on social media too, so make sure to visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Both: Bye

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