Barry Pennock-Speck's Blog

Stuff on linguistics and lots of other things

Start Listening … so funny!

Posted by pennock on 28 November 2013

This little gem is from a book and its accompanying cassette Start Listening. The book is designed to teach foreign learners how to understand spoken English, while at the same time building up in them a healthy feeling of disrespect for the Boro. I suppose the whole idea of the exercise is to show the way English place names are pronounced although I am pretty sure that the punch line and the hysterical laughter at the end of the dialogue at the Boro’s expense would baffle most Bulgarians, Greeks, Mongolians or whoever happens to be listening, unless, that is, the Boro’s fame has spread to every corner of the terrestrial globe.

Part 1. Exercise 2. Listen Bournemouth, Peterborough, Oxford, Leicester, Buckingham, Norwich.

Example. First, just listen to Jane. Which are her favourite towns?

  • Jane: Oh, I like Peterborough and Oxford best.

Now do the exercise in your workbook. After each bleep, draw two lines. Draw the lines from the speaker to his favourite towns.

  • Alan: What? Peterborough! I like Norwich and Bournemouth.

  • Mary: Yeah, they’re nice but my favourite towns are Gloucester and Buckingham.

  • Mark: Oh, but they are very quiet. I like big towns. I like Birmingham and Leicester best.

  • Linda: Ugh! Big and dirty. My favourite towns are Portsmouth and Harwich.

  • Peter: Yeah, not bad. But I like Middlesbrough and Bedford.

  • (All together laughing hysterically) Whaaat!!!

Oh yes, so funny!