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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Learn to talk about broken hearts in 6 minutes!

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Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute

English. I'm Neil.

Rob: And hello, I'm Rob.

Neil: Todays topic is about our health

and in particular our hearts. Hows your

heart, Rob?

Rob: Er, fine, I hope, as far as I know.

Neil: Do you take care of it?

Rob : Well, not my heart specifically, but

my health in general, yes. I like to exercise

regularly and I try to eat healthy foods.

Neil: So that cheese burger I saw you eating

just now was a healthy cheese burger?

Rob: Fake news! Youre making that up, Neil!

Dont believe him, listeners. It would break

my heart if people thought I ate junk food.

Neil: Now thats an interesting expression.

It would break my heart.’ We say that

when we talk about things that upset us.

Of course, we dont really mean that our heart

is actually breaking.

Rob: However, you do sometimes hear stories

about people who they saydied from a broken


Neil: That is todays topic - Can you die

from a broken heart? First though, the quiz

question. The first human-to-human heart transplant

took place in 1967. But what country was it

in? Was it a) South Africa, b) USA or c) China

What do you think, Rob?

Rob: Well, I think it is definitely

a) South Africa.

Neil: OK, well give you the answer at the

end of the programme.

Now back to the subject of broken hearts and

if you can die from one. Dr Nikki Stamp is

an Australian heart surgeon. Shes written

a book, helpfully calledCan You Die From

A Broken Heart?’ She was a guest on the

BBC Radio 4 programme Womans Hour and was

asked that very question. Does she think it

is possible?

Dr Nikki Stamp: Yes, short answer is yes.

Its a little bit more nuanced than that.

For most of us when we have a broken heart

whether its bereavement or a relationship

coming to an end we will be fine. Well

muddle our way through it, well take not

so good care of ourselves but well get

there. However the physical effects still

happen and it is a big stress on your emotions

obviously but also on your body.

Neil: So she says, yes, it is possible to

die from a broken heart. But, Rob, is it as

clear and simple as that?

Rob: Well, no. She said it was a bit more

nuanced. This means its not a simple relationship.

A situation that is nuanced has small but

possibly important differences.

Neil: She mentioned a couple of situations

where we say that people could have a broken

heart, didnt she?

Rob: Yes, she talked about times of great

unhappiness and emotional stress. One of the

ones she mentioned was bereavement. Bereavement

is the intense feeling of sadness we get when

someone close to us dies.

Neil: The other situation where we say people

are broken-hearted is, as Dr Stamp said, when

a relationship comes to an end. So if your

boyfriend, girlfriend, husband wife or lover

decides they no longer want to be with you.

Rob: So these are times when we use the expression

to be broken-hearted. But, thankfully, they

dont usually lead to death. She said that

usually we muddle through. This expression

means that we get through our sadness. Maybe

slowly and maybe we dont think clearly

and dont make the right decisionsbut

in the end, we mend our broken hearts.

Neil: For some people, a few people though,

the emotional stress does have an effect on

the body, it does lead to physical symptoms

and sometimes, sadly, death. Heres Dr Stamp

again. Which expression does she use instead

of the worddied’?

Dr Nikki Stamp: And then for some people,

you will die of a broken heart. We do tend

to see that in people who you know, a few

weeks after grandma passed away,

grandad passed away not long after.

Rob: She says that dying of a broken heart

can happen with older people and she used

the expression passed away rather than

the worddied’.

Neil: Dying from a broken heart may be quite

rare, but heart problems still exist for many,

particularly those who are very overweight.

This is a problem in many parts of the world.

But why is that?

Rob: Dr Stamp says that we are increasingly

time-poor. We have less and less free time,

as we are spending more working.

Neil: This leads to our not doing as much

exercise and eating more convenience foods

rather than making our own food from

healthy ingredients.

Rob: The doctor says that we are not prioritising

our health as we should be. Prioritising means

deciding how important different things are.

So we are not thinking of our health as being

as important as we should.

Neil: Right, well were quite time-poor

in this programme, so its time for the

answer to our quiz. In which country was the

first human-to-human heart transplant carried

out? The choices were South Africa, USA or

China. And what did you say, Rob?

Rob: Yeah, I was sure it was South Africa.

Neil: Well, you were right to be sure because

the answer is South Africa. Congratulations

if you got that right. Now just time to

recap todays vocabulary.

Rob: We started off with nuanced. This adjective

means something is not as simple as it might

seem. There may be small but important things

that need to be considered.

Neil: Then there was bereavement. The sadness

we feel when someone close to us has passed away.

Rob: 'Passed away' was one of our other words,

and its a more gentle way of sayingdied’.

Neil: We also had the phrasal verb muddle

through. This expression means to get to the

end of a difficult situation somehow. Not

always by making the right decisions but in

the end, getting there.

Rob: Being time-poor was the expression for

not having enough free time.

Neil: And finally prioritising was the noun

for deciding how important different things

are. Well thats all from 6 Minute English

today. Dont break our hearts, do join us

again, but in the meantime you can find us

in all the usual places: Facebook, Twitter,

Instagram, YouTube, and of course our website, where you can find

all kinds of audio programmes, videos, activities

and quizzes to help you improve your English!

Thanks for joining us and goodbye.

Rob: Bye!

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