Vocabulary - The Mystery of Happiness

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Video ©ABC News

Pre - Task

Comprehension: You are going to watch a clip about some surprising discoveries about Danish people on their own pursuit of happiness. Before watching, read the following questions once (this gives you an idea of what to pay attention to while watching). Then watch the clip and answer the questions by checking TRUE or FALSE.

Task One

Vocabulary: Watch the video clip again and select the most appropriate answers to the questions.

Task Two

Vocabulary: Refer to the context of the video clip and match the following words (in bold) with their definitions.

Task Three

Vocabulary: Select the best answers to complete the following sentences.

Post - Task
  1. Look in a dictionary and find example sentences of the words above. Try replacing a word with its synonym and decide if they are interchangeable in different circumstances.

  2. Construct your own sentences using the words above, this can help you memorize the words even better.

TRANSCRIPT [00:00 – 04:48]

BILL: And now search for the happiest place on earth. Disneyland claims that distinction of course. But with all due respect, we wanted some place where the mice don’t talk. Some place for where real people face the daily grind. But are somehow nudged by their surroundings, their values, their government, and becoming the most content society in the planet. Well, we found it. Where it is and how they live may just surprise you.
VO: When you imagine the happiest place on earth, you may pick a spot with warm sands, soft breezes, a sun-kissed vineyard, or a Mediterranean village. In fact, the happiest country on earth, you might choose this one: Land of the free; home of the brave. But when you let go of patriarchal pride and travel brochure fantasy, we use social science to rank 178 nations, a paradise like Fiji comes in more than 50 spots below Iceland. And for all the style and cuisine, France and Italy rank well below Canada. Well, we may be Number One in wealth and power. When it comes to happiness, the good ‘ole USA is Number 23. How do we know? Well, for the past decade, social sciences and pollsters have given elaborated questionnaires to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.
INTERVIEWEE: The answer you get is not only how they feel right now but it’s also about how they feel about their entire life.
VO: Dan Butner is the founder of Blue Zones, a project that studies happiness and longevity around the world. He says if you mind all the databases of universities and research centres, you will find that the happiest place on earth is: Denmark. Cold, dreary, unspectacular Denmark. Where stoic locals wear sensible shoes and snack on herring sandwiches. Sure they produce the occasional super models. But the most famous countryman is Victor Borgen. But are they really the happiest In the world?
Q: On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you?
[…] (8/7/9/9.5/10)
VO: It was like this most of the morning until finally a grouchy day…
INTERVIEWEE: I think it is the biggest lie in the world that the Danes should be happy because…
VO: But impressed...even Ms potty mouth slipped into gratitude.
INTERVIEWEE: I am content. Like as I said, most..We have no reasons to complain.
VO: Well, they do have one complaint. In fact, I heard it from a couple of people. Taxes. Yes, the happiest people in the world pay some of the highest taxes in the world, up to 63% of their income. In exchange, the government covers all healthcare, and education, and spends more on children and the elderly per capita than any other nation in the world. Well, just five and a half million people in the system is efficient. And people feel TOYKIT, a Danish word for tucked in, like a snugged child.
Q: You feel taken care of?
VO: Now the politically incorrect truth is that Denmark has very little diversity. 9 in 10 are full-blooded Danes; 8 in 10 are Lutherns. Of course, happiness can exist in melting parts like America. But social scientists point out that higher taxes are easier to pay. If you know that money is going to someone who looks and thinks like you. Those high taxes have another effect since a banker ends up taking home about as much as an artist. People don’t choose careers based on income or status.
INTERVIEWEE 1: We see people quit the job because “Now I want to do something that I really really like.
INTERVIEWEE 2: They have a thing called “Yanktalah” which essentially says that you know better than anybody else. A garbage man can live in a middle class neighbourhood and holds his head high.
VO: Well, let’s find the garbage man. His name is Jan. And he says he took this job because he only has to work five hours in the morning. And then spends the rest of the day with family or coaching his daughter’s handball team. Danes really love handball. But Jan also says he really loves being a garbage man and no one judges his choice of career.
JAN: When we come and they say hello. That makes all people happy… and smile. It’s a good thing. The old lady gives us a little cup of coffee. That’s happy.
BILL: You’re not just collecting garbage. You’re spreading happiness in this job.
JAN: Yes. If I am happy, the people are happy.
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