Some students like to sit back and listen to some interesting English. It doesn't get much more interesting than some of the old classics from English literature. These Activities have been created to help you get the best from the vocabulary found in some of the old classics. As you listen and read your way through these Activities, you will also broaden your understanding of English culture.
Reading is the easiest way to take in English. Listening is a much harder skill and one that has to be developed as you study the language. There are lots of speech features that arise when native English speakers speak English. These speech features, such as elision, simplification, intonation, stress, and rhythm, and the way in which speakers may miss out sounds or whole words, are important to understand if you are to be able to listen to and fully understand spoken English. These Britlish Library Activities will help you to develop you listening skills.
Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.
No matter how good your English grammar and vocabulary may be, if your pronunciation is so bad that nobody can understand a word you say, then your English won't be much good as a means of communication. You might be good at grammar, have a broad vocabulary, and be able to explain all the aspects and tenses of English, but it's not much good if you can't be understood when you speak. I have designed these Activities to help you to improve your pronunciation, as well as other areas of your English.
Sit back and listen to this very British look at how an Englishman deals with an unfortunate change of appearance. Simple Stories were written by Arthur Hammond Marshall (1866-1934) who wrote under the pen name of Archibald Marshall. His humorous stories were written for Punch, a satirical magazine published in Britain between 1841 and 1992. The Simple Stories make fun of stereotypical British characteristics such as our stiff upper lip, our sense of duty, our deference to royalty, and our pride in our country to name but a few. Because Simple Stories are short stories intended for an adult audience and are written in a simple style and vocabulary, they are ideal stories for learners of English. There are few words that will confuse even lower-level students.
Simple Stories were written by Arthur Hammond Marshall (1866-1934) who wrote under the pen name of Archibald Marshall. His humorous stories were written for Punch, a satirical magazine published in Britain between 1841 and 1992. The Simple Stories make fun of stereotypical British characteristics such as our stiff upper lip, our sense of duty, our deference to royalty, and our pride in our country to name but a few. Because Simple Stories are short stories intended for an adult audience and are written in a simple style and vocabulary, they are ideal stories for learners of English. There are few words that will confuse even lower-level students.
The Strawberry Nose
Once there was a married couple called Mr. and Mrs. Bundaby, and Mr. Bundaby was quite nice-looking when they were first married but after about ten years he began to grow a strawberry nose.
Well Mrs. Bundaby didn't think much of it at first and thought he had only been bitten by some gnats or fleas or something like that, but when it got worse she said you had better go and see a doctor about it.
So Mr. Bundaby did that, and the doctor said oh yes it is a strawberry nose all right there is no getting over that, you must have eaten something that disagreed with you and I don't think it will get any better, in fact I should think it would get worse if anything.
Well Mr. Bundaby didn't like that much and he said can't you do anything for it?
And the doctor said well I might cut it off and make you another nose of wax or plaster of Paris, but I couldn't promise that you would smell as well with it because doctors haven't learnt to do that yet. Still they are so clever that I dare say it will come in time.
And Mr. Bundaby said well when do you think it will come, next week?
And the doctor said oh no, I should think not for fifty years about, and then you will be so old that you won't mind whether you have a strawberry nose or not, if I were you I shouldn't bother about it, nobody will notice it after a time.
So Mr. Bundaby went home and told his wife what the doctor had said and she cried, and Mr. Bundaby felt rather inclined to cry too but he couldn't do that because he was a man. And he said to his wife I suppose you can't possibly go on loving me when my strawberry nose gets worse can you? I should think the best thing I can do is to go and live by myself on a desert island.
And Mrs. Bundaby cried some more at that and kissed him, and she said of course I shall go on loving you as much as ever and if you go and live on a desert island I shall come with you, but I would much rather go on living at Ealing because of the shops and all our friends.
Well then Mr. Bundaby didn't mind so much and he said oh well we can try it for a bit anyhow, and I don't suppose anybody will be really rude about it because people are very kind-hearted at Ealing and they wouldn't want to hurt our feelings.
So they went on living at Ealing, but Mr. Bundaby's nose only grew worse till at last he was quite ashamed to go out of doors because of rude boys calling out things after him. But none of his friends ever said anything to him about it, and Mrs. Bundaby was so sorry for him because she knew how much he felt it that he loved her more than ever and was never cross to her as he had been sometimes before when he was worried about something in his business.
So he was beginning to get used to it and not to mind so much, and then one day his youngest child said something to him about his strawberry nose when he was building a house of cards for her, and he was so upset by this that he walked straight out of the house and went to Switzerland.
Well the reason why he went to Switzerland was because he had heard about a doctor there who knew more about strawberry noses than any other doctor and had cured some of them. So he went to him, and the doctor said well I wish you had come to see me before because strawberry noses are stubborn things and if they get a thorough hold over you you can't do much with them. But I will do what I can for you and if I cure you I suppose you won't mind it going in the newspapers so that I shall get more customers.
And Mr. Bundaby said oh no, anything to get cured.
Well the doctor did cure him, but it took a long time because it was a very stubborn case, and all the time Mr. Bundaby was in Switzerland he didn't write to his wife once but thought of his nose all the time. And she didn't know what had become of him and was upset about it and cried, and the children cried too because they missed him, and none of them had really minded about his strawberry nose because they had got quite used to it. And Mrs. Bundaby put advertisements in the newspapers, because she thought he might be drowned or run over or anything might have happened to him, and when he saw one of the advertisements he was annoyed and sent her a telegram telling her not to fuss.
Well at last Mr. Bundaby's nose was cured and he was just like he had been before. And by this time he was tired of living in Switzerland and was glad that he could go back home and look after his business and see his wife and children again.
So he sent a telegram to say he was coming, but he didn't say anything about his nose being cured because he wanted that to be a surprise for them.
Well the first thing Mrs. Bundaby did when she saw him was to burst out crying, and Mr. Bundaby was irritated at that and he said you are always crying, there was some reason for it when I had a strawberry nose but now I am cured there is no sense in it.
And Mrs. Bundaby said well I think you were much nicer when you had a strawberry nose, I didn't mind that at all, but I do mind it when you go away for six months and never write to me, still I am glad your nose is cured and I suppose you would like to go up and see the children now.
So they went up to see the children, but the youngest one didn't know him any more because she had got used to him with his strawberry nose, and she wouldn't even let him kiss her until Mrs. Bundaby said she was to.
Well the next morning there was a long piece in the newspapers about the doctor curing Mr. Bundaby's strawberry nose in Switzerland, and it had two photographs of him, one with a strawberry nose and one without, and it gave his name and address and said that anybody who didn't believe it could write and ask him.
Well Mr. Bundaby was perfectly furious about this, and what made it worse was that all his friends would keep on talking to him about his strawberry nose, because they weren't afraid of hurting his feelings now he had got rid of it, and presently he said well if you can't talk about anything but that I shan't talk to you at all. And he was so cross that most of them didn't want to have anything more to do with him, and Mrs. Bundaby said if she had known he was going to turn out like that she wouldn't have married him.
Well that went on for a long time, and then one evening Mr. Bundaby ate something that disagreed with him and the next day there was a strawberry mark on his nose, and soon after that it began to be covered with them. And then he was more furious than ever and he said I do believe my strawberry nose is growing again.
And Mrs. Bundaby clapped her hands and said I do believe it is, and this time I hope you won't have it cured.
Well that made Mr. Bundaby think, because he had really been quite happy with a strawberry nose before, except for the rude boys, but since he had been cured he seemed to have been cross all the time. So this time he didn't go to Switzerland, and he wrote and told the doctor that he was to stop putting his photographs in the newspapers. And as his nose grew worse all his friends at Ealing began to be nice to him again because they were sorry for him, and his wife and children loved him more than ever.
So presently he didn't mind a bit, and his nose didn't get so very much worse this time and he was quite happy
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