It’s obviously very hard to translate any wordplay-based humor into another language because it relies on a certain level of language fluency, but this is especially a challenge when the play involves idioms, figurative expressions that may or may not have an equivalent term. I had an experience that highlighted this challenge one day while a German roommate and I watched an episode of a comedy series that loves a bit of wordplay: “Arrested Development.”
I wonder if most Brits fully realize just how much of their daily language usage is French-inspired…
OK, so I laugh derisively whenever one of my coworkers, who’s basically an old Englishman trapped inside a young Englishman’s body, says “jolly good”… but secretly I find it a little endearing. British expressions are excellent day-to-day entertainment for this expat, and I’ve even adopted a few of them (with mixed results).
Here are just five of my favorites, with a more complete running list I’ll keep at the bottom of the page.
Britishisms sound about as natural coming out of my mouth as Princess Beatrice’s hat looks on her head… but I can’t stop.
the most bizarre and amazing brain trick of all is a feature of conversation with fellow Anglophone expats, in which French seamlessly infiltrates English.
One of the funniest things I do on an almost daily basis is pronounce English words with a French accent so that French people will understand me.
Springboard ESL ideas for various age groups
If you’ve already got a firm grasp on a second language, I have an enrichment activity for you.
The ability to imitate an accent without making mistakes is rare, even among people who are paid boatloads of money to do it.
How do you translate a personality?