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Anecdote: Tapping into British humour

Type: Anecdote

Terry Ridgley shares a winning anecdote about the problems of translating British humour.

British humour should never be introduced into the classroom. I know. I've heard this dozens of times before - it just doesn't translate. But we all like a good pun or witty comment don't we? Sometimes you just can't help yourself.

One of my regular students, Maggie, came into the adult conversation class I used to hold on Thursday mornings. Noticing that she looked quite crestfallen, I asked her what was wrong. "I had to take my three-year-old to the doctor," she replied. "He's got water on the ear."

"Just give him a tap on the knee," I replied, and immediately regretted it.

My attempts at explaining the joke were met with blank stares. Realizing I was getting nowhere, I started the lesson, hoping they would forget about it.

Fifteen minutes into the lesson a head popped up from behind an electronic dictionary and piped up, "What is tap on the knee?"

"I'll give a prize to the person who can tell us next lesson," I replied.

It's still up for grabs!

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