Do Hungarian jokes translate to English?

Lost in translation? Do foreign jokes work in English?


What makes Generation Y laugh in Germany, India, Hungary, Mexico and Brazil? Do these jokes work in English or is the humour lost in translation?

Here is a selection of jokes submitted by Guardian readers across the globe, told by Guardian staff in the original language and then in English.

Enjoy.

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Test your Level of English for Free

What is your level of English? Which exam should you study for?

Check your level with these two level tests:

Grammar & vocabulary level test

Listening level test

At the end of each test your level will be assessed at a CEF level (A2 to C2). You can choose to have the results sent to your email address.

Questions get easier or harder according to how well you do. If your English is very good you will answer more difficult questions than someone whose English is not as good.

You will not be able to see the correct answers to the questions.

You should complete the grammar / vocabulary test in about 10 minutes.

You should complete the listening test in about 10 minutes.

What do the levels mean?
Click here to see a table matching the most important international English exams to the CEF levels.
Click for a full description of each level: A2, B1, B2, C1, C2

The Future Of Online Education And The Best Online Schools

Learning online can take many forms. From blended classrooms to entirely online degree programs to one off courses for fun or for credit, online learning is still in a huge expansion phase. The handy infographic below takes a look at this change in learning from in class to online from its beginning to taking a look at the future. Keep reading to learn more about this potentially revolutionary learning trend.

Read the rest of the article here.

the-education-revolution_52858e3e810c5

Does grammar matter? No, not really.

Inspired by an article I read recently in the Los Angeles Times I thought I might throw my tuppence worth into the seemingly neverending battle into the importance of good grammar.

Quite rightly the author of the piece – David L. Ulin – highlights, rather succinctly, that commas, punctuation, and good grammar are ‘precision tools, designed for clarity’ which is all very well but often the rules for these clarifiers are so deeply buried in myth that is can be hard to determine the correct usage.

Take the innocuous semicolon for example…you’ve a better chance discovering the lost city of Atlantis than fully understanding exactly when and where it should be used.

As an English language teacher I can not help read such articles from a student learner point of view. My current flock of students are, more or less all, Hungarians from Budapest. Now the Magyar are lovers of language, it is imperative to their cultural identity. To speak Hungarian is to be Hungarian.

Consequently most of my students are sticklers for accuracy and all too often beat themselves up at their lack of complexity and brevity when surmising the events of the day when dutifully ask ‘How’s tricks?’.

As a lad who grew up somewhere between Lincolnshire and Yorkshire I have a tendency to keep things simple and here is what I say to my language lamenting students…

‘Writing is for accuracy, speaking is for fluidity.’

When speaking in an informal setting it is unreasonable to expect an English learner to differentiate between the future simple and future perfect continuous and no-one really gives a damn if you say was when you really mean were.

Stumble over the grammar as best you can, focus on the message, use your hands, point at pictures or break into an impromptu dance routine for all I care just tell me what you want to say and I will figure out the rest.

Read on for more common grammar rules that you can completely and unashamedly ignore.

 

Walking With The Enemy

A new film set in war torn 1944 Budapest starring Ben Kingsley looks pretty harrowing the final few frames of the trailer really sent a shiver down my spine. Check it out.

185 Powerful Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome

Get one step closer to writing a kickass CV with this superb article from thedailymuse.com, an incredibly useful resource for any job hunters. There are nearly 200 verbs, neatly listed within the following categories:

  • You Led a Project
  • You Envisioned and Brought to Life a Project
  • You Saved the Company Time or Money
  • You Increased Efficiency, Sales, Revenue, or Customer Satisfaction
  • You Changed or Improved Something
  • You Managed a Team
  • You Brought in Partners, Funding, or Resources
  • You Supported Customers
  • You Were a Research Machine
  • You Wrote or Communicated
  • You Oversaw or Regulated

Get the list, follow this link and don’t forget to use a thesaurus to further improve your vocabulary.

Discourse Markers – although/even though

I recently used  the below tables as a reference when discussing discourse markers with some of my students in Budapest.

When we want to say something positive and something negative in the same sentence, we can use one of the following forms:

Although and even though have exactly the same meaning and have exactly the same grammatical construction.

although/ even though

subject

verb

subject + verb

Although

I

am poor,

I am happy.

Although

they

played well,

they lost.

Even though

she

was tired,

she went out.

Even though

he

eats a lot,

he is thin.

Though is more informal and we use it more in conversation than written English.

I’m poor. I’m happy though.

They lost. They played well though.

She was tired. She went out though.

He’s thin. He eats a lot though.

In spite of and despite have exactly the same meaning and have exactly the same grammatical construction.

despite/ in spite of

-ing form

subject + verb

Despite

being poor

I am happy.

Despite

playing well

they lost.

In spite of

being tired

she went out.

In spite of

eating a lot

he is thin.

despite/ in spite of

the fact (that)

subject

verb

subject + verb

Despite

the fact that

I

am poor,

I am happy.

Despite

the fact

they

played well,

they lost.

In spite of

the fact that

she

was tired,

she went out.

In spite of

the fact that

he

eats a lot,

he is thin.

This form is less common but possible:

despite/ in spite of

noun

subject + verb

Despite

my poverty,

I am happy.

Despite

their good play,

they lost.

In spite of

her tiredness,

she went out.

In spite of

his great appetite,

he is thin.

2,964 synonyms for the word ‘drunk’.

Here it is: from a Guinness World Records holder, the most English synonyms ever recorded for a single word—“drunk.”

giphy
Wise-guy lexicographer Paul Dickson, a consulting editor at Merriam-Webster, has long held the record for collecting the “Most Synonyms” for any term in the English language. He made the Guinness Book of World Records with 2,231 terms meaning “drunk”–beating out no less than Benjamin Franklin, who published his own list (The Drinker’s Dictionary) in 1736. But records are made to be broken . . . .

Enter Drunk, wherein Dickson breaks his own record with 2,964 terms for tipsy: blitzed, roasted, on the sauce, whazood, whiskey frisky, and Boris Yelstinned.

Your grammar sucks!

All too often my students fret about their grammar, and I know as an English teacher I ought to be telling them that, yes, good grammar is imperative. However, there are plenty of native English speakers who have little consideration for the rules and regularities of the English language as this video so aptly demonstrates.

Some of the language is a little crude at times, be warned.

https://twitter.com/jacksfilms

Avoid responsibility – Use the passive voice.

On January 27, 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan stated in his State of the Union Address;

‘And certainly it was not wrong to try to secure freedom for our citizens held in barbaric captivity. But we did not achieve what we wished, and serious mistakes were made in trying to do so. We will get to the bottom of this, and I will take whatever action is called for.’

He was referring to a scandal where the US was found to be selling weapon to Iran, its supposed enemy.

Since then ‘Mistakes were made’ has become and expression that is commonly used to avoid personal responsibility when something goes wrong. Governments, politicians and businesses all use do it and I have probably done the same without even realising.

In the phrase “mistakes” is framed in an abstract sense, with no direct reference to who made the mistakes.  If we wanted to use the active voice we would say ‘I made a mistake’ or ‘John made a mistake’

To form a passive sentence we need to follow this basic formula: Subject + to be (am/is/are) + Past Participle

Below are some more examples.

Tense

Subject

Verb

Object

Simple Present

Active:

Rita

writes

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

is written

by Rita.

Simple Past

Active:

Rita

wrote

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

was written

by Rita.

Present Perfect

Active:

Rita

has written

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

has been written

by Rita.

Future I

Active:

Rita

will write

a letter.

Passive:

A letter

will be written

by Rita.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of how to form the passive voice and then take a look at these exercises.