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BBC 6 minute English-What’s in a name

BBC 6 minute English-What's in a name

BBC 6 minute English-What’s in a name

   

Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word for word transcript

Dan: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Dan and joining me today is Neil. Hi Neil

Neil: Hi there, Dan

Dan: You’re a married man, Neil. When you were wed, did your wife change her family name

Neil: Yes she did

Dan: Was that her choice

Neil: Oh yes. She didn’t like her old name, so for her it was a win-win. How about you

Dan: Well, my wife wanted to keep her surname, but was forced to adopt mine because that was the law where we got married

Neil: Would you have thought about taking her name

Dan: That’s what we’re talking about in this 6 Minute English. A husband taking a wife’s name after marriage. All that, six related words and our quiz question

Neil: OK. Let’s have the question

Dan: In which country has it been forbidden since 1789 for a citizen to change their name legally, even after marriage

a) Japan

b) France

c) Turkey

Neil: I’m going to go for b) France

Dan: And we’ll see if you’re right later. Now, traditionally in the UK, when a man and a woman get married, the woman takes the man’s family name. And this replaces her maiden name

Neil: A maiden name is the surname a woman had before she was married. This all dates back to the Norman invasion of England, back in 1066. They introduced the idea that when a woman married a man, she became his property. As a result of this, she took his name

Dan: These days, many women elect to keep their maiden name upon marriage or combine it with their new husband’s in some way, sometimes by making the name double-barrelled

Neil: A double-barrelled name is two names that are connected by a hyphen, such as Jones-Smith

Dan: However, a growing number of couples in western culture are doing it differently . When they get married, the husband elects to take the wife’s surname

Neil: In a BBC article about surnames and marriage, Rory Dearlove, formerly Rory Cook, talks about why he decided to take his wife’s surname. He said that he wasn’t really attached to his name anyway. To him it didn’t make any difference

Dan: Well, he’s not alone. A recent study of 2000 UK adults by Opinium, a strategic insight agency, suggested that one in ten millennial men, currently between 18 and 34 years old, fall into this category

Neil: Charlie Shaw, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation instructor, who took his wife’s name when they married last year, said that it was an opportunity to acknowledge the unseen patriarchal bias and sexism in our society

Dan: Patriarchal means ‘controlled by men’ and a bias is the unfair support or opposition to a person, thing or idea

Neil: Many traditional societies were patriarchal. But modern UK society is less like that. Everyone is meant to be equal

Dan: Ah yes, but that’s the unseen part. And there’s the social view of things too. Rachel Robnett, a researcher at the University of Nevada surveyed a number of people in the US and UK, and found that the husbands of women who keep their maiden names are viewed as ‘feminine’, while the women are believed to wear the trousers

Neil: If you ‘wear the trousers’ in a relationship, it means you have the control and make the decisions for both people

Dan: I wondered about that, so I went out into London and asked people what they thought about a man who took his wife’s name when they got married. Here’s what they said

Woman

I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all. My dad’s 55 and he took my mother’s surname. If people want to do it, then all the power to them

Man

It’s each to their own really. It doesn’t hurt anybody. And it’s no different from a woman taking a man’s name

Woman

The only reason I think that anybody should take someone else’s surname if just for the creation of a family unit. But if it’s just out of principle, I don’t agree

Dan: It seems that the people I talked to are comfortable with the idea

Neil: Yes. Most said that people are free to do what they want. One woman even mentioned the creation of a family unit

Dan: A unit is a group of people living or working together. A typical family unit would be two parents and some children. Well, that answers that question. People don’t seem to mind who takes who’s name

Neil: Speaking of questions. How about our quiz question

Dan: Oh yes, I asked you in which country it’s been forbidden since 1789 for a citizen to change their name legally, even after marriage

a) Japan

b) France

c) Turkey

Neil: And I said b)France

Dan: And you were spot on as usual, Neil

Neil: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary, shall we

Dan: First we had maiden name. This is a woman’s family name before she is married. My mother refused to give up her maiden name to my father when she got married

Neil: Then we had double-barrelled. A double-barrelled name is two names that are joined by a hyphen. Can you think of any famous examples

Dan: Well, there’s the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker-Bowles for one. She’s married to Prince Charles – next in line to the English throne. Then we had patriarchal. If something is patriarchal, it is controlled by men. The feminine equivalent is matriarchal, controlled by women

Neil: Then we had bias. A bias is unfair support or opposition to a person, thing or idea

Dan: Many fans are biased in favour of their football team. Then we had wear the trousers. If you wear the trousers, you have the control and make the decisions for both people. Do you wear the trousers in your marriage, Neil

Neil: Oh, we both wear the trousers in my marriage, thank you Dan. Then we had unit. A unit is a group of people living or working together. Like the BBC Learning English team… or unit

Dan: And that’s the end of this 6 Minute English. Don’t forget to checkout our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages. And we’ll see you next time. Bye

Neil: Bye

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