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Last updated at 11:09 GMT, Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Man flu

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Li is worried when she learns that Neil has caught man flu. But how will she react when she finds out what the illness actually is...? Find out more with this programme.

A man blowing his nose on a tissue

Is man flu as serious as it sounds?

The script for this programme

Jen: Hello, I'm Jennifer. Welcome to The English We Speak. I'm joined today by Li. Hi Li!

Li: Hi Jen!

Jen: I thought that Neil was supposed to be joining me today - where is he?

Li: Oh Jen, haven't you heard? He's very, very sick. I heard the boss saying he has man flu!

Jen: Man flu! That's probably correct.

Li: Is man flu very contagious? Perhaps we had better clean all of our desks in case we get infected too?

Jen: No, I think we'll be OK, Li.

Li: No... I think that we should all go to the doctor's to see if we can get an immunisation.

Jen: I really wouldn't worry too much about it.

Li: But Jen, you should take it more seriously! All types of flu are very bad - it can leave you very sick for many weeks!

Jen: Well, proper flu can, yes. Flu is short for influenza, which is a very infectious virus. It can cause fever, headaches, coughing... And some strains, or types of flu, can cause death!

Li: Death! Oh, I don't want Neil to die. Should we send him some flowers?

Jen: Hold on a second. Neil won't die. Man flu is a bit different to normal flu. In fact, it's not even a real virus.

Li: So what is man flu, then?

Jen: In English, when a man gets a minor cold or perhaps a sore throat, many women refer to it as man flu.

Li: Why?

Jen: Well, lots of men tend to exaggerate their symptoms when they have a minor illness; in other words, they make it sound worse than it actually is.

Li: I see! So when the boss said that Neil had man flu, she meant that he had a small cold, but is exaggerating his symptoms.

Jen: That's right!

Li: Well, I want to talk to him. I'm going to phone him right now and get him to come into work.

Jen: Oh dear...

Phone rings

Li: Hello Neil, yes, I've heard you're very sick... Yes, yes, that's terrible. I just wanted to let you know that we're having a party in the office tonight, and I'm going to bring lots of lovely food and cakes for everyone. It's a shame you can't make it because you're too sick... Oh, oh really? OK then!

Li puts phone down

Li: He's coming into work now.

Jen: Why did you tell him we're having a party?

Li: I thought if I told him there was going to be food and cakes that he might decide to come into work, after all!

Jen: Wow, Li, I think you've just found a cure for man flu - cake!

Li: Just call me Doctor Li!

Jen: Join us again for another edition of The English We Speak from bbclearningenglish.com. Bye for now!

Li: Bye!

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