Using anecdotes in English language classroom

Defining communicative competence. The value of communicative language teaching. On the value of audio-lingual approach. Using of humor in teaching foreign language. On the structure of an anecdotes. Using anecdotes for intermediate and advanced learners.

14.01.2013

"Thanks, but where do the copies come out?"

A newsboy was standing on the corner with a stack of papers, yelling, "Read all about it. Fifty people swindled! Fifty people swindled!" Curious, a man walked over, bought a paper, and checked the front page. What he saw was yesterday's paper. The man said, "Hey, this is an old paper, where's the story about the big swindle?" The newsboy ignored him and went on calling out, "Read all about it. Fifty-one people swindled!"

Mother: "Why are you home from school so early?"

Son: "I was the only one who could answer a question."

Mother: "Oh, really? What was the question?"

Son: "Who threw the eraser at the principal?" [48]

On a dessert: Do not turn upside down.

*printed on bottom of the box* (Too late! You lose!)

On a Pudding packet: Product will be hot after heating. (Are you sure? Let's experiment. ) [49]

A man near the forest of Gunar in Gujarat was boasting to the villagers that there was no need to be scared of Lions. In the past he had talked to Lions and asked them to leave whenever they came to their village. One day, a Lion came to the village and everyone remembered the old man who was boasting all the time. The old man was now scared but gathered his courage and went with the villagers to the Lion. He saw the lion from 100 feet and slowly and carefully walked a few steps towards the Lion. He yelled at the Lion, "O stupid Lion, don't you know this is Human Society and you are not allowed here? Go Away". The Lion simply ignored. The man took a few more steps towards Lion and again told the lion to leave. The whole village was watching this ordeal. As the man took a step forward, the Lion roared. The man suddenly yelled to the villagers, "RUN RUN, this is a Deaf Lion." [50]

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."

The United Kingdom has some of the most absurd laws in the world. Most of these date back to centuries ago and yet have never been repealed. Here's a sample:

-It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament

-It is illegal to eat mince pies- on Christmas Day

-It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour

-It is illegal to fire a cannon close to a dwelling house

-It is illegal to drive cattle through the streets of London

-It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the King or Queen's image upside-down

-The head of any dead whale- found on the British coast is the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen

-It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him anything you do not mind him knowing

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson. "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. But what does it tell you, Holmes?" Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, someone has stolen our tent!" [51]

TEACHER: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects?

JOSE : Don't bite any.

TEACHER: What is the chemical formula for water?

SARAH : "HIJKLMNO"!!

TEACHER: What are you talking about?

SARAH : Yesterday you said it's H to O!

CONCLUSION

It's already proved and experienced that the more students laugh, the more they enjoy. And the more they enjoy, the more they will learn. When used in the correct manner, humor can help to reduce the 'distance' between teachers and students, who would remember more if they are enjoying themselves; however, inappropriate humor can also increase this distance. Therefore, it is vital that the lesson is well prepared and that only positive humor is adopted in the English classroom and this will help achieve the intended - to help the children learn English!

In this research paper was defined the communicative competence and communicative language teaching in the class and the main provisions of the concept anecdote.

This work aimed:

1) To determine the communicative competence: The term was coined by Dell Hymes in 1966, reacting against the perceived inadequacy of Noam Chomsky's (1965). Hymes's theory of communicative competence was a definition of what a speaker needs to know in order to be communicatively competent in a speech community. In Hymes's view, a person who acquires communicative competence acquires both knowledge and ability for language use.

2) To determine the Audio-lingual approach: The Audio-Lingual Method or Army Method or also the New Key is a style of teaching used in teaching foreign languages. It was developed due to the U.S.'s entry into World War II as a need of people who could carry on conversations fluently in a variety of languages such as German, French, Italian, Chinese, Malay, etc., and could work as interpreters, code-room assistants, and translators. Students interacted intensively with native speakers and a linguist in guided conversations designed to decode its basic grammar and learn the vocabulary.

3) Its connection with communicative language teaching: According to CLT history the communicative approach is also the product of educators and linguists who had grown dissatisfied with the audio-lingual and grammar-translation methods of foreign language instruction. Communicative language teaching makes use of real-life situations that necessitate communication. The teacher sets up a situation that students are likely to encounter in real life. Unlike the audio-lingual method of language teaching, which relies on repetition and drills, the communicative approach can leave students in suspense as to the outcome of a class exercise, which will vary according to their reactions and responses.

4) To describe what is an anecdote: 'Anecdote' from Greek anekdota "things unpublished". The word comes from Procopius of Caesarea, who produced a work entitled , gave the word a sense of "revelation of secrets," which decayed in English to "brief, amusing stories". Nowadays the anecdotes are defined as stories, usually from personal experience, that people tell to make a point or to entertain others during a conversation

5) To describe the types of anecdotes: anecdotes can be divided into three groups: planned anecdotes, semi-planned anecdotes, and unplanned anecdotes.

6) To explain why anecdotes are useful in language teaching: using anecdotes is a good technique to arouse student interest and establish a meaningful and memorable context for learning. I summarized some benefits of using anecdotes in language classes. These are:

- Classroom management is an important aspect in teaching any course, and an anecdote may wake up sleepy students, engage unmotivated ones with the task, and reinforce a context so it is not easily forgotten.

- Sharing anecdotes gives students the chance to reflect on their own and on others' concerns, perceptions, and values.

- When an anecdote is told by a native speaker English teacher or when it is about an experience in an English speaking country, the anecdote provides cultural information.

- While students learn more about each other and their teacher, the teacher learns more about the students. Anecdotes therefore reinforce the friendly relationship between teachers and students and among the students themselves.

7) To explain how to use them in language teaching: Here are some strategies, which can be helpful to make students tell and use anecdotes: 1. Choose global topics that everybody can relate to; 2. Allow sufficient preparation time; 3. Monitor students and give feedback; 4. Provide a `model anecdote'; 5. Repeat the same anecdote with a new partner at regular intervals.

8) To analyze some anecdotes in order to show their potential value for the lesson: for this reason I constructed some divisions of the anecdotes according to some criteria.

a) Stage usage during the lesson:

1. Planned anecdotes

Pilot to tower . . . pilot to tower . . . I am 300 miles from land . . . 600 feet over water . . . and running out of fuel . . . please instruct! Tower to pilot . . . tower to pilot . . . repeat after me: "Our Father, which art in heaven . . ."

2. Semi-planned

Doctor! I have a serious problem, I can never remember what I just said. When did you first notice this problem? What problem?

3. Unplanned anecdotes come up naturally in the flow of classroom activities and are spontaneously activated by a response, a question, or a discussion that suddenly reminds the teacher of a story that is worthwhile to share with the students.

William Phelps, marking exam papers shortly before Christmas one year, came across a curious answer to one of his more perplexing questions: "God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas." Phelps returned the paper with the following annotation: "God gets an `A', you get an `F' - Happy New Year!"

b) The theme they reveal;

*Children

A son comes to his dad and says: - Dad, i gotta tell you something - Ok, Quick and clear! - 100 bucks.

*Drunks

An ancient Irishman. Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Shamus, were stumbling home from the pub late one night and found themselves on the road which led past the old graveyard. "Come have a look over here," says Paddy, "it's Michael O'Grady's grave, God, bless his soul. He lived to the ripe old age of 87." "That's nothing", says Sean, "here's one named Patrick O'Tool, it says here, that he was 95 when he died." Just then, Shamus yells out, "Good God, here's a fella that got to be 145 years old!" "What was his name?" asks Paddy. Shamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims, "Miles, from Dublin."

*Medicine

Patient: (to cosmetic-surgeon) 'Will it hurt, doctor? Surgeon: 'Only when you get my bill, Mrs Brown'.

c) Language level. I subdivided it according to the skills that the anecdote develops:

1. Young learners:

*Teaching grammar: These anecdotes can be good for a warm-up activity before checking up the homework for the singular and plural form of the noun.

Teacher: What is the plural of mouse?

Pupil: Mice.

Teacher: Good, now what's the plural of baby?

Pupil: Twins.

*Teaching speaking. This picture is very colorful and contains many objects and people. Students have a great possibility to check their basic knowledge in speaking, for example the construction There is/ There are; the colors, etc. The absence of a title or any written dialogue allows the students to use their imagination and express themselves orally or in written form. The teacher asks some questions to avoid simple answers.

2. Advanced and Intermediate learners:

* Teaching pronunciation. There are a lot of mistakes in this anecdote, so the students need to find them and tell the correct variant.

A young man comes before a customs agent.

A: "State your citizenship."

B:"American" (pronounced with a Spanish accent).

A: "Hold on there, buddy. Say that again."

B: "I sed American."

A: "I'm going to give you a test."

B: "No, no senor, no need for test, I tell you I"m American."

A: "Yeah, sure buddy. OK, let's see, ... I've got it. Make a sentence with the following colors: green, pink and yellow."

B: "Oh senor, I tell you I'm American. But OK, let's see... I was at my bruder-in-laws house and the phone went 'green, green, I pinked it up and sed yellow!"

* Teaching vocabulary. The new words are colored with red color, which simplifies the task of remembering the new words. The meaning of the words is found from the context. Later, the teacher gives more detailed information about the new vocabulary (transcription, pronunciation, translation). In this case this anecdote can be used for presenting the business vocabulary.

A businessman walked into a bank in San Francisco and asked for the loan officer. He told the officer that he is going to Europe on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000. The bank officer explained that the bank needed some kind of security for such a loan. So the businessman handed over the keys to a Rolls Royce parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checked out, and the bank agreed to accept the car as collateral for the loan. A bank employee drove the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parked it there. Two weeks later, the businessman returned, repaid the $5,000 with interest, which came to $15.41. The loan officer said, "We are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you bother to borrow $5,000?" The businessman replied, "Where else in San Francisco can I park my car for two weeks for only 15 bucks?"

As with all language activities care must be taken to prepare students before the activity and guide them along the way. Although the teachers may perceive the exercise as a lighthearted moment in the course of their lesson plan, humor should be an integral part of a positive learning classroom environment. Specific goals and objectives must be pre-established and clear in the mind of the teacher. Humour, along with encouragement and praise should be one of the many useful tools used by language teachers to make their classrooms more inviting and conducive to learning.

From my analysis and observation, I can tell that most of the anecdotes are good for using as a warm-up activity and for teaching reading and listening. But taking into consideration the content, the context, the mode of narration the following diagram shows the percentage of the profit that the anecdotes provide for teaching skills.

Once again I agree with Deniz Salli-Coper that anecdotes are one of the most economical, easy, and enjoyable ways to introduce meaningful language and content, to practice language skills, and to help manage classes of various ages and proficiency levels. This is because of the very specific 'grammar', i.e. key features, the brevity of the 'tale', its immediacy and personal perspective, and the requirement of the punch line, many teachers have found anecdotes to be an interesting and inviting way of reconsidering practice. The use of narratives such anecdotes can provide an entry into pupils' lives and their understanding of those events which have shaped or are shaping their understandings of their life. Since teaching is a never-ending presentation, using anecdotes can be a useful and rewarding technique that should be integrated into classroom language teaching.

BIBLIOGRAPHIE

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APPENDIX

Native English

? Pilot to tower . . . pilot to tower . . . I am 300 miles from land . . . 600 feet over water . . . and running out of fuel . . . please instruct! Tower to pilot . . . tower to pilot . . . repeat after me: "Our Father, which art in heaven . . ."

? A duck walks into a general store and asks the manager,"Got any fresh fruit?" "No." "Got any fresh vegetables?" "No. We have only canned and dry goods." The next day, the duck returns. "Got any fresh fruit?" "No." "Got any fresh vegetables?" "No. I told you yesterday, we have only canned and dry goods. If you come back tomorrow and ask me the same question, I'll nail your flippers to the floor." On the 3rd day, the duck walks in and asks, "Got any nails?" "No." "Got any fresh fruit?"

? Doctor! I have a serious problem, I can never remember what i just said. When did you first notice this problem? What problem?

? A dog thinks: Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good care of me... They must be gods! A cat thinks: Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good care of me... I must be a god!

? A son comes to his dad and says: - Dad, i gotta tell you something - Ok, Quick and clear! - 100 bucks

? One day Mongo is in his back yard digging a hole. His neighbor, seeing him there, decides to investigate. "Whatcha doin?" he asked. Mongo replies, "My goldfish died and I'm burying him." "That's an awful big hole for a goldfish, ain't it?" asked the neighbor. Mongo shot back, "That's because he's inside your cat!'

? An ancient Irishman. Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Shamus, were stumbling home from the pub late one night and found themselves on the road which led past the old graveyard. "Come have a look over here," says Paddy, "it's Michael O'Grady's grave, God, bless his soul. He lived to the ripe old age of 87." "That's nothing", says Sean, "here's one named Patrick O'Tool, it says here, that he was 95 when he died." Just then, Shamus yells out, "Good God, here's a fella that got to be 145 years old!" "What was his name?" asks Paddy. Shamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims, "Miles, from Dublin."

? Donald MacDonald from the Isle of Skye (or maybe it was Neil McNell from Barra, but anyway..) went to study at an English university and was living in the hall of residence with all the other students there. After he had been there a month, his mother came to visit him (no doubt carrying reinforcements of tatties, salt herring, oatmeal and whisky). "And how do you find the English students, Donald?" she asked. "Mother," he replied, "they're such terrible, noisy people. The one on that side keeps banging his head on the wall and won't stop. The one on the other side screams and screams all night." "Oh Donald! How do you manage to put up with these awful noisy English neighbours?" "Mother, I do nothing. I just ignore them. I just stay here quietly, playing my bagpipes."

? When a car skidded on wet pavement and struck a telephone pole, several bystanders ran over to help the driver. A women was the first to reach the victim, but a man rushed in and pushed her aside. 'Step aside, lady,' he barked. 'I've taken a course in first-aid!' The women watched for a few minutes, then tapped him on the shoulder. 'Pardon me,' she said. 'But when you get to the part about calling a doctor, I'm right here.'

? A famous surgeon went on a safari in Africa. When he came back, his colleagues asked him how it had been. "Oh, it was very disappointing," he said. "I didn't kill a thing. I'd have been better off staying here in the hospital."

? Patient: (to cosmetic-surgeon) 'Will it hurt, doctor? Surgeon: 'Only when you get my bill, Mrs Brown'.

? A woman was terribly overweight, so her doctor put her on a diet. "I want you to eat regularly for 2 days, then skip a day, and repeat this procedure for 2 weeks. The next time I see you, you'll have lost at least 5 pounds." When the woman returned, she shocked the doctor by losing nearly 20 pounds. "Why, that's amazing!" the doctor said, "Did you follow my instructions?" The woman nodded. "I'll tell you though, I thought I was going to drop dead that third day." "From hunger, you mean?" "No, from skipping."

? HEGS. The Doctor tells his patient that he has H-E-G-S "What's that?", the patient asks. "It's a combination of Herpes, Encephalitis, Gonorrhea and Syphyllis." The patient wants to know if there's a cure, to which the Doctor responds, "We have to keep you in a hospital room and feed you nothing but pancackes." "Why only pancackes?", asks the patient. The Doctor answers, "They're the only thing that will fit under the door."

? Late one night at the insane asylum one inmate shouted, "I am Napoleon!" Another one said, "How do you know?" The first inmate said, "God told me!" Just then, a voice from another room shouted, "I did not!"

? A Short History of Medicine

I have an earache...

2000 B.C. - Here, eat this root.

1000 A.D. - That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.

1850 A.D. - That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.

1940 A.D. - That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.

1985 A.D. - That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.

2000 A.D. - That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

? For all of you out there who've had to deal with an irate customer, this one is for you. It's a classic! In tribute to those 'special' customers we all love! An award should go to the United Airlines gate agent in Denver for being smart and funny, and making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo. A crowded United flight was canceled. A single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travelers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, "I HAVE to be on this flight and it has to be FIRST CLASS." The agent replied, "I'm sorry sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these folks first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out." The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, "Do you have any idea who I am?" Without hesitating, the gate agent smiled and grabbed her public address microphone. "May I have your attention please?" she began, her voice bellowing throughout the terminal. "We have a passenger here at the gate WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to the gate." With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the United agent, gritted his teeth and swore." Without flinching, she smiled and said, "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to stand in line for that, too."

? An airline captain was breaking in a very pretty new blonde stewardess; the route they were flying had a stay-over in another city. Upon their arrival the captain showed the stewardess the best place for airline personnel to eat, shop and stay overnight. The next morning as the pilot was preparing the crew for the day's route, he noticed the new stewardess was missing. He knew which room she was in at the hotel and called her up, wondering what happened to her. She answered the phone, crying, and said she couldn't get out of her room. "You can't get out of your room?" the captain asked, "Why not?" The stewardess replied: "There are only three doors in here," she sobbed, "one is the bathroom, one is the closet, and one has a sign on it that says 'Do Not Disturb'!"

? A middle-aged Jewish guy is out to dinner with his wife to celebrate her fortieth birthday. He says, "So what would you like, Julie? A Jaguar? A sable coat? A diamond necklace?" She says, "Bernie, I want a divorce." He says, "I wasn't planning on spending that much."

? Who introduced you to your wife? We just met. I can't blame anyone.

? What do you and your wife fight about all the time? I don't know.She won't tell me.

? What makes you think your husband is getting tired of you? He hasn't been home for seven years.

? A priest is walking down the street one day when he notices a very small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach. After watching the boys efforts for some time, the priest moves closer to the boys position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child's shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a sold ring. Crouching down to the child's level, the priest smiles benevolently and asks, "And now what, my little man?" To which the boy replies, "Now we run!"

? God, I was wondering...how long is a million years to you?" God answered, "Son, a million years to me is like a second to you." So the man asks, "God how much is a million dollars to you?" And God answered, "Son a million dollars to me is like one penny to you." So the man asks, "God, can I have one of your pennies?" And God answers, "Just a second son."

? Should you have any questions during the exam, just raise your hand. This should cause enough blood to flow to your brain to answer it yourself.

? Examination to Qualify for Entrance to UNLV (basketball players only)

Time Limit: 3 weeks

1. What language is spoken in France?

2. Give a dissertation on the ancient Babylonian Empire with particular reference to architecture, literature, law and social conditions -OR- give the first name of Pierre Trudeau.

3. Would you ask William Shakespeare to (a) build a bridge (b) sail the ocean (c) lead an army or (d) WRITE A PLAY

4. What religion is the Pope? (a) Jewish (b) Catholic (c) Hindu (d) Polish (e) Agnostic (check only one)

5. Metric conversion. How many feet in 0.0 meters?

6. What time is it when the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 5?

7. How many commandments was Moses given? (approximately)

8. What are people in America's far north called? (a) Westerners (b) Southerners (c) Northerners (d) Easterners

9. Spell -- Bush, Carter and Clinton.

10. Six kings of England have been called George, the last one being George the Sixth. Name the previous five.

11. Where does rain come from? (a) Macy's (b) a 7-11 (c) Canada (d) the sky

12. Can you explain Einstein's Theory of Relativity? (a) yes (b) no

13. What are coat hangers used for?

14. The Star Spangled Banner is the National Anthem for what country?

15. Explain Le Chateliers Principle of Dynamic Equilibrium -OR- spell your name in BLOCK LETTERS.

16. Where is the basement in a three story building located?

17. Which part of America produces the most oranges? (a) New York (b) Florida (c) Canada (d) Wisconsin

18. Advanced math. If you have three apples how many apples do you have?

19. What does NBC (National Broadcasting Corp.) stand for?

20. The UNLV tradition for efficiency began when (approximately)? (a) B.C. (b) A.D. (c) still waiting

*You must answer three or more questions correctly to qualify

? Some of the most tactful people on Earth are English. One office supervisor called a secretary in to give her the bad news that she was being fired. He started the conversation with: "Miss Symthe, I really don't know how we're going to get along without you, but starting Monday, we're going to try.

? Three guys are in a plane, lost in fog, and they don't know where they are. The first guy says "I'll find out" and puts his arm out the plane, then brings it back in and says "We're just over Paris" "How do you know" ask the others "Well I've just felt the top of the Eiffel tower." Later on the second guy tries and says "We just flew over London" "How?" asks the others "Well I've just felt the top of Big Ben" Still later on the last guy tries it, puts his arm out the plane, and says to the others "We have just flown over Glasgow." "How do you know that?" comes the reply. "Because somebody has just stolen my watch"

Anecdotes

? The Lovely Rose. While a violet stood pitying herself for being short, a rose said to her. "I for my part think you are lovely, little sister. Be satisfied with being just the one you are. "That afternoon a man came to the garden to take a rest, attracted by the delicate beauty and lovely smell of the rose. He cut its long, graceful neck, and just a moment later, when he had sniffed the lovely fragrance to his satisfaction, he threw the rose away. "See?" gasped the rose to the violet.

? Plato tells of how spirits of the other world came back to find bodies and places to work. One took the body of a poet and did his work. Finally, Ulysses came and said, "All the fine bodies have been taken and all the grand work done. There is nothing for me." "Mind," said a voice, "the best has been left for you - the body of a common man, doing a common work for a common reward."

? EINSTEIN was asked by his hostess at a social gathering to explain his theory of relativity. Said the great mathematician, "Madam, I was once walking in the country on a hot day with a blind friend, and said that I would like a drink of milk." "Milk?" said my friend, "Drink I know; but what is milk?" "A white liquid," I replied. "Liquid I know; but what is white?" "The colour of a swan's feathers." "Feathers I know; what is a swan?" "A bird with a crooked neck." "Neck I know; but what is this crooked?" "Thereupon I lost patience. I seized his arm and straightened it. "That's straight," I said; and then I bent it at the elbow. "That's crooked." "Ah!" said the blind man, "Now I know what you mean by milk!"

Anecdotes about Gardeners

? All gardeners know better than other gardeners. - Chinese Proverb

? If I'm ever reborn, I want to be a gardener--there's too much to do for one lifetime! - Karl Foerster

? When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves. - Ken Druse

E. Fuller, 2500 Anecdotes; Daily Telegraph, July 22, 1987.

? William Phelps, marking exam papers shortly before Christmas one year, came across a curious answer to one of his more perplexing questions: "God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas." Phelps returned the paper with the following annotation: "God gets an A, you get an F - Happy New Year!"

Jonh Robert Schmitz, Humor as a pedagogical tool in foreign language and translation courses'

? - Are you fishing?

- No, just drowning worms?

? - I don't like the flies in here.

-Well, come around to tomorrow. We'll have some new ones.

? - Last week I went fishing and all I got was a sunburn, poison ivy and mosquito bites.

? - Gee, Dad, that's a swell fish you caught. Can I use it as bait?

? - Are you fishing?

- No, just drowning worms.

? - Do fish grow fast?

- Sure. Every time my Dad mentions the one that got away, it grows another foot.

* The notorious cheapskate finally decided to have a party. Explaining to a friend how to find his apartment, he said, Come up to 5M and ring the doorbell with your elbow. When the door opens, push with your foot.

Why use my elbow and foot?

Well, gosh, was the reply, you're not coming empty-handed, are you?

The Lion/ Reader's Digest, (December), 1986.

* A young playwright gave a special invitation to a highly regarded critic to watch his new play. The critic came to the play, but slept through the entire performance. The playwright was indignant and said:

How could you sleep when you know how much I wanted your opinion?

Young man, the critic said, sleep is an opinion.

The Farmer's Almanac,

* What is more amazing than a talking dog?

A spelling bee.

* How does a dog stop a VCR?

He presses the paws button.

(Jokes sent by Kids to the Rosie O'Donnel Show. New York: Lucky Charms Entertainment, Inc. and Warner Books Inc., p. 12).

* When is a boat like a heap of snow?

When it's adrift.

* When does a cabbage beat a beet in growing?

When it gets ahead.

* Why is the attorney like a minister?

Because he studies the law and the profits.

* If there are two flies in the kitchen, which one is the cowboy?

The one on the range.

* What part of the fish weighs the most?

The scales. (Tidwell, ed., 1956: 110)

* Wife: Do you love me still?

Husband: I might if you'd stay still long enough."

(Lendvai, 1996: 91, apud Flier)

* What is the difference between stabbing a man and killing a hog? One is assaulting with intent to kill and the other is killing with intent to salt (Tidwell (1956)

* The stockbroker's secretary answered his phone one morning: "I'm sorry", she said, " Mr. Bradford's on another line."

"This is Mr. Ingram's office", the caller said. "We'd like to know if he's bullish or bearish right now".

"He's talking to his wife," the secretary replied." Right now I'd say he's sheepish". (John Pizzuto, The Great Wall Street Joke Book (Long Shadow Books). Reader's Digest, (December, 1986).

* The tailor had just measured the man's waistline. Harold, dear, the customer's wife said thoughtfully, It's amazing when you think about it. A Douglas fir with the same circumference would be seventy-five feet tall.

Kenneth Hall in the American Legion Magazine/ Reader's Digest (December, 1986)

* - Do you know what I got for Father's Day?

- No, what?

- The bill for Mother's Day.

* Father's day always worries me. I'm afraid I?ll get something I can't afford.

(Fechtner, 1983: 104)

Alaska Wellness, For Funny Bone

* A duck walks into a feed store and asks, "Got any duck feed?"

The clerk tells him, "No, we don't have a market for it so we don't carry it."

The duck says, "Okay," and leaves.

The next day, the duck again walks in to the feed store and asks, "Got any duck feed?" Again the clerk says no and the duck leaves.

Next day, the duck once again walks in, and asks, "Got any duck feed?"

The clerk says, "I've told you twice, we don't have duck feed, we've never had duck feed and we never will have duck feed. If you ask me again, I'll nail your feet to the floor." The duck leaves.

The next day, the duck walks in and asks, "Got any nails?"

"No."

"Got any duck feed?"

Foreign Students, Student Jokes and Anecdotes

* The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."

* The United Kingdom has some of the most absurd laws in the world. Most of these date back to centuries ago and yet have never been repealed. Here's a sample:

-It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament

-It is illegal to eat mince pies- on Christmas Day

-It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour

-It is illegal to fire a cannon close to a dwelling house

-It is illegal to drive cattle through the streets of London

-It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the King or Queen's image upside-down

-The head of any dead whale- found on the British coast is the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen

-It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him anything you do not mind him knowing

* Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner and a bottle of wine, they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and nudges his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." "I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes" replies Watson. "And what do you deduce from that?" Watson ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. But what does it tell you, Holmes?" Holmes is silent for a moment. "Watson, someone has stolen our tent!"

Teacher - Student Jokes

* TEACHER: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects?

JOSE : Don't bite any.

* TEACHER: Willy, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

WILLY : Me!

* TEACHER: What is the chemical formula for water?

SARAH : "HIJKLMNO"!!

TEACHER: What are you talking about?

SARAH : Yesterday you said it's H to O!

Studyflight Education, Best Collection of English Humor: anecdotes, jokes and funny stories

* At the 1998 World Women's Conference, the first speaker from England stood up: "At last year's conference we spoke about being more assertive with our husbands. Well after the conference I went home and told my husband that I would no longer cook for him and that he would have to do it himself. After the first day I saw nothing. After the second day I saw nothing. But after the third day I saw that he had cooked a wonderful roast lamb." The crowd cheered. The second speaker from America stood up: "After last year's conference I went home and told my husband that I would no longer do his laundry and that he would have to do it himself. After the first day I saw nothing. After the second day I saw nothing. But after the third day I saw that he had done not only his own washing but my washing as well." The crowd cheered. The third speaker from Ireland stood up: "After last year's conference I went home and told my husband that I would no longer do his shopping and that he would have to do it himself. After the first day I saw nothing. After the second day I saw nothing. But after the third day I could see a little bit out of my left eye."

* Upon arriving home in eager anticipation of a leisurely evening, the husband was met at the door by his sobbing wife. Tearfully she explained, "It's the druggist - he insulted me terribly this morning on the phone." Immediately the husband drove downtown to accost the druggist and demand an apology. Before he could say more than a word or two, the druggist told him, "Now, just a minute - listen to my side of it. This morning the alarm failed to go off, so I was late getting up. I went without breakfast and hurried out to the car, but I'll be damned if I didn't lock the house with both house and car keys inside. I had to break a window to get my keys. Driving a little too fast, I got a speeding ticket. Then, about three blocks from the store I had a flat tire. When I finally got to the store there was a bunch of people waiting for me to open up. I got the store opened and started waiting on these people, and all the time the darn phone was ringing its head off. Then I had to break a roll of nickels against the cash register drawer to make change, and they spilled all over the floor. I got down on my hands and knees to pick up the nickels - the phone is still ringing - when I came up I cracked my head on the open cash drawer, which made me stagger back against a showcase with a bunch of perfume bottles on it, and half of them hit the floor and broke. The phone is still ringing with no let up, and I finally got back to answer it. It was your wife - she wanted to know how to use a rectal thermometer. Well, Mister, I TOLD HER!"

* The new employee stood before the paper shredder looking confused.

"Need some help?" a secretary asked.

"Yes," he replied. "How does this thing work?"

"Simple," she said, taking the fat report from his hand and feeding it into the shredder.

"Thanks, but where do the copies come out?"

* A newsboy was standing on the corner with a stack of papers, yelling, "Read all about it. Fifty people swindled! Fifty people swindled!" Curious, a man walked over, bought a paper, and checked the front page. What he saw was yesterday's paper. The man said, "Hey, this is an old paper, where's the story about the big swindle?" The newsboy ignored him and went on calling out, "Read all about it. Fifty-one people swindled!"

* Mother: "Why are you home from school so early?"

Son: "I was the only one who could answer a question."

Mother: "Oh, really? What was the question?"

Son: "Who threw the eraser at the principal?"

MW, Anecdotes and Fables

Strolling along the beach, a woman catches sight of a young man who appears to be dancing at the water's edge. The young man bends down, straightens to his full height and then casts his arm out in an arc. Drawing closer, she sees that the sand is littered with starfish and he is throwing them, one by one, back into the sea. She says, `There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. What difference can saving a few of them possibly make?' Smiling, he stoops down and tosses another starfish out over the water, saying, `It made a difference to that one.'

Learn To Speak English Fluently

A businessman walked into a bank in San Francisco and asked for the loan officer. He told the officer that he is going to Europe on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000. The bank officer explained that the bank needed some kind of security for such a loan. So the businessman handed over the keys to a Rolls Royce parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checked out, and the bank agreed to accept the car as collateral for the loan. A bank employee drove the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parked it there.

* A six-year-old boy walked up to his father one day and announced, 'Daddy, I'd like to get married.' His father replied hesitantly, 'Sure, son, do you have anyone special in mind?' 'Yes,' answered the boy. 'I want to marry Grandma.' 'Now, wait a minute,' said his father. 'You don't think I'd let you get married with my mother, do you?' 'Why not?' the boy asked. 'You married mine.'

* A young man was walking through a supermarket to pick up a few things when he noticed an old lady following him around. Thinking nothing of it, he ignored her and continued on. Finally, he went to the checkout line, but she got in front of him. "Pardon me," she said, "I'm sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It's just that you look just like my son who just died recently." "I'm very sorry," replied the young man, "Is there anything I can do for you?" "Yes," she said. "As I'm leaving, can you say 'Goodbye mother'? It would make me feel much better." "Sure," answered the young man. As the old woman was leaving, he called out, "Goodbye mother!" As he stepped up to the checkout counter, he saw that his total was $127.50. "How can that be?" he asked, "I only purchased a few things!" "Your mother said that you would pay for her," said the clerk.

* A man died and went to heaven. An angel met him at the Gates of Heaven and said, 'Before you meet with God, I thought I should tell you - we've examined your whole life, and you really didn't do anything particularly good or bad. We're not sure whether we can admit you into heaven or not. Can you tell us anything exceptional you did that can help us make a decision?' The newly arrived soul thought for a moment and replied, 'Yeah, once I was driving along and came upon a woman who was being harassed by a group of goons. So I pulled over, got out my tire iron, and went up to the leader of the gang. He was a big, muscular, hairy guy with tattoos all over his body and a ring pierced through his nose. Well, I tore the nose ring out of his nose, and told him that he and his gang had better stop bothering the woman or they would have to deal with me!' 'I'm impressed,' The angel responded, 'When did this happen?' The man replied, 'About two minutes ago'.

* A cowboy rode into town and stopped at a saloon for a drink. Unfortunately, the locals always had a habit of picking on strangers. When he finished his drink, he found his horse had been stolen. He went back into the bar, handily flipped his gun into the air, caught it above his head without even looking and fired a shot into the ceiling. "Which one of you sidewinders stole my horse?!?!?" he yelled with surprising forcefulness. No one answered. "Alright, I'm gonna have another beer, and if my horse ain't back outside by the time I finish, I'm gonna do what I dun in Texas! And I don't like to have to do what I dun in Texas!" Some of the locals shifted restlessly. The man, true to his word, had another beer, walked outside, and his horse had been returned to the post. He saddled up and started to ride out of town. The bartender wandered out of the bar and asked, "Say partner, before you go... what happened in Texas?" The cowboy turned back and said, "I had to walk home."

* Two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?" "Outstanding," Fred replied. "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques - visualization,association - it has made a big difference for me." "That's great! What was the name of that clinic?" Fred went blank. He thought and thought but couldn't remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stemand thorns?" "You mean a rose?" "Yes, that's it!" Then he turned to his wife and asked, "Rose, what was the name of that clinic?"

* A famous scientist was on his way to a lecture in yet another university when his chauffeur offered an idea. "Hey, boss, I've heard your speech so many times I bet I could deliver it and give you the night off." "Sounds great," the scientist said. When they got to the auditorium, the scientist put on the chauffeur's hat and settled into the back row. The chauffeur walked to the lectern and delivered the speech. Afterward he asked if there were any questions. "Yes," said one professor. Then he launched into a highly technical question. The chauffeur was panic stricken for a moment but quickly recovered. "That's an easy one," he replied. "In fact, it's so easy, I'm going to let my chauffeur answer it!"

Laugh and Learn English, easy Joke One

* A new customer called Tech Support to ask about instructions from his computer's user's manual. "It says, hit any key and when I do that nothing happens'.

The Tech Support staff member replied, "Can you try again and tell me what happens?"

The customer explained, "I tried but nothing happened".

The Tech Support worker then asked, "What key did you hit?"

After a moment and some clinking sound the customer replied, "Well, first I tried my car key and just now my office key."

* "When I have enough money, I want to buy a big horse with three bedrooms and two bathrooms."

* "Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33."

* "On weekends, I enjoy playing in the piano."

Jokes and Anecdotes

* There was once a Hindu pundit who was wearing a dhoti. Seeking to ridicule the pundit, a British person pulled on the back of the dhoti and asked the pundit what it was. The pundit asked the suited - booted British, what was he wearing in the neck over his shirt. The British replied, it was a Neck Tie, upon which the Pundit showing the back of his dhoti said, "This is my back tie".

* A man near the forest of Gunar in Gujarat was boasting to the villagers that there was no need to be scared of Lions. In the past he had talked to Lions and asked them to leave whenever they came to their village. One day, a Lion came to the village and everyone remembered the old man who was boasting all the time. The old man was now scared but gathered his courage and went with the villagers to the Lion. He saw the lion from 100 feet and slowly and carefully walked a few steps towards the Lion. He yelled at the Lion, "O stupid Lion, don't you know this is Human Society and you are not allowed here? Go Away". The Lion simply ignored. The man took a few more steps towards Lion and again told the lion to leave. The whole village was watching this ordeal. As the man took a step forward, the Lion roared. The man suddenly yelled to the villagers, "RUN RUN, this is a Deaf Lion."




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