BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – It’s a joke (with transcript video): Feifei and Neil have a programme to present but it hasn’t run smoothly because everybody wants to thank Neil. Listen to the programme to find out why. Listen to the programme to find out why.
Helen: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English, I’m Helen. With me today is quite a frustrated-looking Neil. Neil, what are you doing to that mobile phone?
Neil: Argh, I can’t get it to make a phone call. It does everything else: it takes photos, it connects to the internet, it even irons my shirts but it won’t make a call!
Helen: Your mobile phone irons your shirts?
Neil: No, not really, but honestly it does everything apart from the one thing I want it to do – make a phone call. It’s a joke!
Helen: A joke? But you’re not laughing. It can’t be a very funny joke.
Neil: Well if you say something is a joke in English it can also mean that it’s not very good or not worthy of respect.
Helen: Yes, ‘joke’ has a second meaning.
- The investigation into police corruption was a complete joke. Everyone knows the officers were taking money but they were let off.
- The weather forecast was a total joke. It said it would be warm and sunny but it’s freezing and raining.
Helen: As you heard there in the example, the person described an investigation into police corruption as a joke. This doesn’t mean it was funny. It means it wasn’t serious. Also the weather forecast was so bad it was described as a joke.
Neil: Notice that you can add words before ‘joke’ to make the meaning even stronger. It’s a complete joke.
Helen: A complete joke.
Neil: It’s a total joke.
Helen: A total joke.
Neil: It’s an absolute joke.
Helen: Anyway Neil, why don’t you just read the instructions for your new mobile phone? Then you’ll probably be able to work out how to make a call.
Neil: I looked at the instructions but they’re an absolute joke.
Helen: Oh really?
Neil: Well for a start they are in about 17 languages apart from English.
Helen: What a joke!
Neil: Yeah I know.
Helen: Well we’ve heard lots of jokes in today’s programme but there hasn’t been much laughing.
Neil: Argh, what a useless piece of …
Helen: Let’s hope Neil finally works out how to use his phone.
Neil: Argh, this is beyond a joke, it really is…
Helen: Join us again for The English We Speak.
Neil: Argh, mobiles…
The English We Speak – It’s a joke (Transcript Video)
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