NB: This is not an accurate（精确的，准确的） word-for-word transcript
Dan: Hello and welcome to this week’s 6 minute English. I’m Dan Walker Smith
and today I’m joined by Kate.
Kate: Hi Dan.
Dan: Now Kate, you’re from Scotland. Does that mean you’ll be celebrating Burns
Night this week?
Kate: Well as a matter of fact I will be. I’ll be going to a friend’s house where we’re
going to be eating some haggis, drinking some whisky（威士忌酒） and reciting some
Dan: OK, well to explain, Burns Night is the annual celebration of the Scottish poet
Robert Burns, who was born just over 250 years ago. Each year on Burns
birthday, the 25th January, Scottish people across the world gather for a
traditional Scottish meal with poetry and sometimes dancing.
Kate: In fact, although it’s a particularly Scottish event, it is celebrated by people of
Scottish ancestry all over the world. These are people whose family originally
came from Scotland, but who now live in other countries, such as Australia or
Dan: So Kate, this week’s question for you is:
How many people worldwide claim Scotland as their ancestral home? Is it:
a) 5 to 10 millionb) 10 to 20 million
c) 30 to 40 million
Kate: Well I have to say I have absolutely（绝对地） no idea. But I reckon the numbers are
going to be quite high, so I’m going to go for c, 30 to 40 million.
Dan: OK, we’ll see if you’re right at the end of the programme.
Kate: Well, Robert Burns is one of the most recognised figures in Scottish literature,
even appearing on some Scottish money and stamps. So now we’re going to
hear from a director from Scotland’s tourist board summing up Burns’
influence on Scotland. She mentions that he’s an iconic person. Can you
explain what she means by this Dan?
Dan: Well an icon is a symbol that represents a cultural group, so in this context
iconic means that Burns has become a symbol of Scotland.
Let’s have a listen. How does she describe Burns’ influence on the perception
He’s obviously an iconic figure. He’s recognised（承认,认出） across the world, and he’s part of what
we think visitors think of when we say ‘well what does Scotland mean to you?’ So he’s an
absolutely essential part of the ‘what is Scotland, the brand?’
Kate: Well, brand usually means a company’s or business’s image, so here she’s
saying that Robert Burns has become an essential part of Scotland’s image
overseas. And you can certainly see this if you ever go to Scotland; there are
pictures of Burns just about everywhere.
Dan: And Burns Night, of course, has become an important tradition for Scottish
communities across the world, and there are certain ceremonies associated with
Here’s Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay talking about the origins of Burns
Night. He mentions drinking a toast. This means to raise your glass and drink
in honour to someone.
Kate: And a dram is a Scottish word meaning a small drink, usually of whisky or
another strong spirit. So have a listen to the next extract. Can you tell me when
the first Burns Supper was held?
One event which is exported internationally and which undoubtedly contributes to our
economy is the aforementioned Burns Supper, the first of which was held in 1801 on the
fifth anniversary of Burns’ death. A toast was made to the memory of Burns, which was
followed by a dram, followed by more toasts, and more drams, and more drams, and the
traditions of Burns Suppers began.
Kate: Well lots of drinking going on there. So the custom of Burns Supper is over
200 years old, and is a vital part of Scottish tradition.
Dan: As well as toasts and drams, another central part of the Burns Supper is the
haggis, the traditional Scottish dish made from sheep intestines, spices and
Kate: Now that may not sound terribly appetising to people around the world, but
believe me, it’s a real Scottish delicacy. So here’s Edinburgh haggis maker
James McSween guiding us through the process of making a Burns Night
haggis. Have a listen; how long does it take to cook the haggis?
This is the first cook area. This is where we take the raw lamb lungs and the raw beef fat
and we cook them in these boilers, and then they get lifted into the mixer-grinder. We
add the seasoning, the oatmeal, and the gravy, which we then fill into the casing. And
then they go through the cooker, which then steams them for about an hour. And then
they come out warm-reekin’, rich.
Kate: So he said that once the haggises have cooked for an hour, they come out
‘warm-reekin’, rich’, which is a quote from Burns’ poem ‘Ode to a Haggis’,
written in the local Scots dialect. It means that the haggis is warm, steaming
and rich – just the thing for a cold January night.
Dan: You also heard the words seasoning, oatmeal, and gravy. Seasoning is the
term for flavourings such as herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
Kate: And oatmeal is ground oats, the same ingredient used to make the Scottish
Dan: And gravy is a thick sauce made from meat stock and vegetables.
OK we’re almost out of time, so let’s go over some of the vocabulary we’ve
come across today:
icon and iconic
Dan: And there’s just time for today’s question. I asked you Kate how many people
worldwide claim Scotland as their ancestral home? Is it:
a) 5 to 10 million
b) 10 to 20 million
c) 30 to 40 million
Kate: And I said c, 30 to 40 million.
Dan: And you’re spot on; that’s exactly right. There are 30 to 40 million who claim
Scotland as their ancestral home, so plenty of people I imagine who’ll be
enjoying a Burns Supper this week.
Kate: Absolutely. It’s incredible to think how many Scottish people there are around
the world. But they’re all very proud of their ancestry, I’m sure, and will be
eating lots of haggis.
Dan: So from all of us here at BBC Learning English, thank you so much indeed for
listening, have a very Happy Burns Night, and goodbye!