Our Greatest Protector: Our Skin!

2018-04-15

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[00:07.03]
  • Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
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  • On this program we explore common expressions in American English.
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  • Today we explore the human body.
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  • Specifically, we take a tour of our largest organ: the skin.
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  • Skin is not only large; it is important.
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  • One of its jobs is to protect us. It keeps bad things out.
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  • But sometimes it fails.
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  • Extremely small bugs, called mites, can get under our skin.
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  • And when they do, they cause itching and great discomfort.
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  • So, to get under someone's skin means to annoy them or, better still, to bug them.
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  • Get it? Mites are small bugs.
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  • Okay, moving on!
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  • That's just one definition of the expression “to get under someone's skin.”
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  • It can also mean that someone is very attractive to you.
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  • You can't stop thinking about them.
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  • You might even be obsessing about them.
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  • Cole Porter used the expression this way in his 1936 love song “I've Got You Under My Skin."
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  • I've got you under my skin.
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  • I've got you deep in the heart of me.
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  • So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me.
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  • Let's hear the same expression used different ways in two short examples.
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  • A: Can you stop popping your gum? I need to study and it's really annoying.
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  • B: Sure.
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  • A: And can you stop whistling, please?!
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  • B: Anything you say.
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  • A: Please stop drumming your pencil on the table! Look, you're really getting under my skin today. Can you just ... be somewhere else?
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  • B: Mm-k. (Okay)
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  • That was an example of the annoying situation. Now, let's move to obsession!
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  • A: Hey, have you seen Jacob recently?
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  • B: He met this new woman at a party last month. So, no. I haven't seen him.
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  • A: What do you mean?
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  • B: I mean, he's fallen hard for her. He's either with her or at home waiting for her call.
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  • A: Wow, she's really gotten under his skin.
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  • B: That's one way to put it. I just tell him that he's obsessed with her.
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  • Now, let's get back to skin as a protector.
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  • Our skin fits tightly on our bodies.
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  • It holds in important things while keeping out harmful things.
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  • So, we can use a “skin” expression to describe very tight clothing.
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  • We can say that the outfit fits like a second skin.
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  • There are many ways to describe people using the word "skin."
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  • If someone is thick-skinned they are not easily hurt emotionally.
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  • You can criticize them or be unkind to them and it simply rolls off their back.
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  • Thin-skinned people, however, are easily hurt by criticism, even if it is not too severe.
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  • You have to be careful what you say to thin-skinned people so as not to hurt their feelings.
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  • If someone is suddenly very scared, you can say they nearly jumped out of their skin!
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  • For example, one day I saw my friend Sierra waiting at a bus stop.
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  • She was wearing headphones and did not hear me come up behind her.
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  • So, when I touched her shoulder, she nearly jumped out of her skin!
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  • If someone is too thin and looks sickly, you can say they are all skin and bones.
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  • It appears they have no meat or muscle on their bodies.
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  • For example, let’s imagine that two hikers get lost in the woods.
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  • When rescuers find them weeks later, they are all skin and bones.
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  • Now, let's say you meet someone who is very strange and creepy.
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  • You get a very bad feeling around them.
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  • You can say they make your skin crawl.
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  • But if you meet someone who is very confident, you can say they are comfortable in their own skin.
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  • These people have accepted themselves as is – flaws and all!
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  • And if you meet someone who is beautiful on the outside but is not very nice on the inside, you can say, “Well, beauty is only skin deep."
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  • And that's the end of this Words and Their Stories!
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  • Let us know what you thought of today’s program.
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  • And don’t worry if you have more criticism than praise.
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  • We have thick skin and can take it!
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  • I'm Anna Matteo.
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  • When you were here before
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  • Couldn't look you in the eye
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  • You're just like an angel
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  • Your skin makes me cry ...
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