These English Activities are built around English jokes. The jokes may be old or new; they may be very funny or just amusing. The language of the joke is explored, and you will begin to understand a very important aspect of the English language - humour. Many students of English, be they students of English as a second language or of English as a foreign language, find it very difficult to "get" English jokes. British humour has a strong satirical element aimed at showing the absurdity of everyday life. A lot of English humour depends on cultural knowledge and the themes commonly include the British class system, wit, innuendo, to boost subjects and puns, self-deprecation, sarcasm, and insults. As well as this, English humour is often delivered in a deadpan way or is considered by many to be insensitive. A particular aspect of British English humour is the humour of the macabre, were topics that are usually treated seriously are treated in a very humorous or satirical way.
The Activities categorised as English in Use look at the way we use English in everyday life. The Activities cover the actual use of English and examine grammar, punctuation, and functionality of the language. For any student studying English as a second language or English as a foreign language, English in Use Activities are particularly useful for improving speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. These Activities will help you to develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers and magazines, as well as learning to speak and write about things such as the weather and travel, as well as preparing you for typical situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket.
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.
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.
Watch some short and amusing video clips and answer some simple questions to help with your English listening skills. These stop motion clay animation comedy animated short films match animated zoo animals with a soundtrack of people talking about their homes, making it appear as if the animals are being interviewed about their living conditions. Once you have watched each of the short video clips, try to answer the questions about what you have heard. Because the speakers you will hear are normal, everyday folk, this exercise will help you to develop your English listening skills while also providing a bit of light relief.
This English Activation Pack is based on clips from the Creature Comforts animations from Aardman. The clips are used for educational purposes only and we encourage you to visit the Creature Comforts’ YouTube channel to find out more. “This animated British TV series is based on the original Oscar-winning film by Nick Park and draws on early 'lip-synch' work by Aardman's founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton. Using 'man on the street' interviews with people from all walks of life, Aardman pair the voices with animals who appear to be talking about their own situations.”
George Formby, OBE, was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian who became known to a worldwide audience through his films of the 1930s and 1940s. On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songs, usually playing the ukulele or banjolele, and became the UK's highest-paid entertainer. With his catchphrase “Turned out nice again” he became Britain’s biggest entertainer in the 1930s and 1940s by portraying himself as a lovable working-class hero.
Every year when summer comes round, off to the sea I go.
I don't care if I do spend a pound, I'm rather rash I know.
See me dressed like all the sports, in my blazer and a pair of shorts.
With my little stick of Blackpool Rock…
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