Other Funny English Language Bloopers

h2.jpgIf learners are advanced enough to see the “double meaning” in funny English signs on their own, they usually do find them amusing. It has, however, occurred to me that people who work very hard to learn English might not appreciate the mistakes of others being laughed at, especially when a native English speaker is pointing out those mistakes.

Usually this is not an issue, but it is perhaps worth pointing out to students that the mistake is not in the grammar or construction, but in the second or unintended meaning. There are also sometimes lists of English language headlines that fit this as well – so if you want to avoid feeling that you are poking fun at non-native speakers, track down some of those too to show that native English speakers make funny mistakes too. (“Two sisters reunite after eighteen years at checkout counter”; “Autos killing 110 a day, let’s resolve to do better.”) I would save these as well as the funny signs for strong groups; they aren’t funny if they all have to be explained.

With the activity I suggested here for the funny signs, it may also help to remove the country or city names to make it less pointed.

Finally, don’t think that one high profile native-speaking individual who makes frequent English language bloopers has escaped my attention. He has not, and this video (scroll down) shows one amusing blooper after another (as well as a baby laughing, the charm of which wears off quickly). I would proceed with caution though considering whether to bring this into an EFL class abroad; while I do think the bloopers themselves are funny, I suspect plenty of people have strong feelings about many serious political events and may not enjoy a giggle at the absent-mindedness (or more) of this guy, given his role in the wider and more serious context.