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Session 20

Have you ever experienced the need to yawn when someone around you yawns? Listen to today’s episode to find out why we do this.
समोर कोणी जांभई देत असलं तर आपल्यालाही जांभई येते ... यामागचं कारण माहितीये? आजच्या भागात जाणून घेऊ.

Session 20 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Why is yawning contagious?

We all know that some illnesses can be contagious, but why are some behaviours contagious? Listen Here to find out why!
काही रोग संसर्गजन्य असतात, पण काही सवयीही संसर्गजन्य असतात? का ते या भागात ऐका. 

Before you listen/Pre-listening

Consider the following questions:
-Why do we yawn?
-Have you ever yawned because someone else yawned?
-What do you think causes this to happen?

Listen to the audio and take the quiz.

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello ऐकलत का? Listen Here! मध्ये तुमचं स्वागत मी तेजाली.

*yawn* I’m James, hi everyone.

And I’m *yawn* Dan.

You both sound quite tired today!

No not really, I feel quite awake to be honest! But I know why you think that – I yawned.

म्हणजे जांभई. एकाने जांभई दिली की दुसऱ्यालापण लगेच जांभई येते, जांभई अशी contagious का असते - संसर्गासारखी का पसरते बरं, असं नेमकं का होतं याबद्दल संशोधन झालंय. चला ऐकू.

is actually a difficult case when it comes to these contagious behaviours. It is the most contagious behaviour – it’s meant to be automatic, it’s something that you can’t stop. Dogs yawn when their owners yawn, animals yawn to each other. It happens whether you want to or not.

These kinds of effects have been found for other kinds of behaviour, so really, we were trying to push it as far as we could and see if there is a cognitive element to this influence.

The professor said that yawning is not just a human behaviour, but also a habit among animals too. He also said that yawning is ‘a difficult case’.

‘A difficult case’ म्हणजे समजण्यास कठीण गोष्ट. जांभयांचा अभ्यास करणं एक कठीण वर्तन अभ्यास आहे असं त्यांना का वाटतं? पुन्हा एकदा ऐकू या.

It is meant to be automatic, it’s something that you can’t stop.

He said it is difficult to study as it is ‘meant to be’ automatic.

‘Meant to’
has the same meaning as ‘supposed to’ in this context.

एखादी गोष्ट कशी आहे यापेक्षा एखादी गोष्ट कशी असायला हवी ते सांगण्यासाठी ‘supposed to’ हा वाक्प्रचार वापरला जातो.

So, the professor thinks that yawning is supposed to be automatic, but from his studies, he also believes there is a ‘cognitive element’ to it as well.

That’s right, ‘a cognitive element’ – this means that it requires you to think about it, and therefore isn’t just automatic.

म्हणजे आकलनविषयक. ‘Automatic’ म्हणजे आपोआप होणे. प्राध्यापकांचं म्हणणं पुन्हा ऐकूया. जांभया पसरण्याचं महत्त्वाचं कारण काय आहे, याबद्दल ते सांगतायत.

So, the more that you identify with the in-group target, the more likely you are to copy their behaviour. What we do when we see a behaviour is that at some level, we are making a judgement about whether the person exhibiting that behaviour is relevant. Does their behaviour  

‘An in-group’ म्हणजे एखादा गट, जो प्रसिद्ध किंवा लोकप्रिय आहे. त्यामुळे जरी तुम्ही त्या गटामध्ये नसलात तरी दुसर कोणीतरी, तुम्ही त्या गटासारखं वागाल की नाही हे ठरवतच.    

That’s right! If you are ‘in with a group’, it means you are accepted by them. So when Dan yawned at the beginning of the episode, he did it because he must identify with me!

Yes, I suppose that’s true!

प्राध्यापक काय म्हणतात ते ऐकू या – तुम्हाला यात तुलनात्मक रचना दिसली का?

So, the more you identify with the in-group target, the more likely you are to copy their behaviour.

He used a special comparative structure – he said ‘the more you identify, the more likely you are to copy’.

So, in this example the speaker uses ‘the more’ plus a verb phrase, and then ‘the more’ plus another verb phrase to compare the two actions. For example, ‘The more you study with BBC Learning English, the more you understand’. 
Let’s listen to the professor one final time – this time, I want you to listen to how he pronounces ‘see a’. 

What we do when we see a behaviour is that at some level, we are making a judgement.

He said ‘see a’.

When a word ending with a vowel sound is followed by ‘a’, there is often a /j/ sound that appears between them. Let’s practise – repeat after me.

see a

Well done everybody! *yawn* Well, this episode is supposed to be five minutes, so we should finish now I suppose.

*yawn* Yawning really is contagious! आजच्या भागात आपण प्रामुख्यानं कोणते प्रमुख शब्द शिकलो ते पाहू. Yawn म्हणजेच जांभई. Contagious म्हणजेच संसर्गजन्य. A difficult case म्हणजे समजण्यासाठी कठीण गोष्ट. Meant to म्हणजे अर्थाने, हेतूने वागणे. Supposed to म्हणजे एखादी गोष्ट अमुक प्रकारे हवी असे सांगणे. In-group म्हणजे ठरावीक प्रकारचे. आज इथेच थांबूया पुन्हा भेटू Listen here च्या पुढच्या भागात. Bye!

Listen to today’s clip in full here
Source: Why is Yawning Contagious?

Language features

‘The + comparative, the + comparative’

A special comparative structure we use in English is formed by using the with a comparative, followed by another the with another comparative phrase. Take a look at this example from the programme.

  • The more you identify with the in-group target, the more likely you are to copy their behaviour.

There are two different ways to complete these types of comparatives.

1) Verb phrases
After the, write more and a typical verb phrase.

  • The more I study English, the more I understand.

2)Adjective phrases
After the, use a comparative adjective.

  • The longer I spend on my homework, the better it is.

We can use both types in one sentence.

The more I study English, the better I become.

Meant to

Meant to can be used in two different ways.
1) It can mean ‘supposed to’ – this means something should or is expected to happen.

  • It’s going to rain all week, but it’s meant to brighten up over the weekend.

2) We can also use meant to to talk about our intentions.

  • I meant to go to the bank today, but I forgot.

Why is yawning contagious?

4 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
योग्य उत्तर निवडा.

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Join us for our next episode of Listen Here! when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.

Session Vocabulary

  • yawn


    a difficult case

    कठीण बाब 

    आकलन विषयक 


    an in-group
    विशिष्ट गट