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Cross Cultural Humor…

31 October, 2007 (00:32) | China, Daily Life

Apparently not everything what we find funny/slightly amusing in the west is

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entertaining in China…

To make the class more interesting for the 3rd lesson, I thought I would do stories (handouts), with discussions & vocabulary of the less common words….

As for discussion topics, when asked what is the “funny” part of the story, everyone I called up for each story to tell me their opinion, said they didn not find the story interesting at all ;-) … They did however like my discussion about “Do you know a joke or a true story about beggars?”, I guess I should rephrase that…they liked my story (they didn’t have anything to say about this topic) about a 20/20 report on some people acting like Homeless folk (you know the ones, with a “Will Work for Food Sign” walking around intersections, only taking “donations”, no work offers) and some making upwards of $ 50

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K a year doing this “job”…

Anyway here were the stories….

Story # 1 – Poor Cat

As a student I ate my meals at a seaside boarding-house. The landlady was a good cook and, as her husband was a fisherman, we always ate fish for dinner. Eventually I got tired of it, and took to slipping it under the sofa, where the family cat would find and devour it.

This worked very successfully until one day the landlady tiptoed up behind me and said, “Young man it’s high time I told you that our cat was run over by a truck three weeks ago.”

Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

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1. A ‘boarding-house’ is a ………..
1. building which is near the sea

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kind of very expensive hotel
3. house giving room(s) and food

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kind of school with a pool
2. A ‘landlady’ is a woman who ……..
1. is old and weak
2. keeps a boarding-house
3. has a lot of money
4. only looks after her family
3. ‘Eventually’ means …..
1. naturally
2. in the end

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4. happily
4. To ‘take to’ here means to….
1. carry something to somewhere
2. ask someone to do something

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begin to do something as a habit
4. go away to some place to hide
5. To ‘devour’ here means to …..
1. look at something angrily
2. play with something

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throw something away
4. eat something hungrily
6. To ‘tiptoe’ means to ……
1. walk quietly on the toes
2. say something softly
3. hit something by foot
4. run towards something
7. To ‘run over’ means to…..
1. hit something while running
2. drive over something
3. take something away
4. steal something from a pl

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  1. What po int is funny
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    in the story?

  2. What would you do if you were the student?
  3. What can probably be found under the sofa now?

Story #2 – The Best Accountant

An accountant answered an advertisement for a job with a large firm. At the end of the interview the chairman said, “One last question– what is three times seven?” The accountant thought for a minute and replied, “Twenty-two”.
Outside he took his calculator and realized that

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he should have said twenty-one. He concluded that he had lost t

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he job. A fortnight later, however, he was offered the post.

After a few weeks, he asked the chairman why he had been when he had given the wrong answer.

“You were the closest,” the chairman replied.

Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

1. An ‘accountant’ is a ……
1. person who wants a job
2. machine which adds, deletes, etc.
3. person who keeps money records
4. company manager
2. ‘Firm’ here means ….
1. strong person
2. business company
3. shop manager
4. important decision
3. A ‘chairman’ is a person who …..
1. sells or buys chairs
2. controls a meeting
3. answers phone calls
4. says the latest news
4. A fortnight is ……
1. one month
2. one year

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twenty days
4. two weeks
5. ‘Appoint’ here means to ……
1. interview someone
2. choose a person for a job
3. call a person to come
4. let a person visit a place

Questions for Discussion

1. What did the chairman mean by the last sentence?
2. How true can such a story be?
3. Why do you think should an accountant make such a mistake?

Story #3 – Beggar Replacement

The doorbell rang, and the housewife answered it. She found two beggars outside. “So, you’re begging in twos now?!” she exclaimed.

” No, only for today,” one of them replied. “I’m showing my replacement the ropes before going on holiday.”

Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

1. A ‘beggar’ is a person who…….
1. sells food and clothes
2. has no money
3. asks for money
4. does the housework

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To ‘exclaim’ means to……….
1. say something kindly
2. say suddenly and loudly
3. walk quickly
4. look angrily
3. A ….. is a person that you put in place of yourself or another.
1. beggar
2. rope
3. housewife
4. replacement
4. ‘Ropes’ here means …….
1. the rules and customs in a place or activity
2. pieces of strong thick cord
3. people you probably meet in a special place
4. houses which are expensive

Questions for Discussion

1. This joke is telling us something about beggars’ life. What is it?
2. Do you know a joke or a true story about beggars?

Story #4 – In Pajamas

Staying at a hotel in Kentucky, I couldn’t sleep because the television in the residents’ lounge was so loud. As I could see from the top of the stairs, the lounge was in total darkness, so I crept downstairs in my pajamas. I went to the TV and after some fumbling with the knobs I managed to switch it off.

As I turned to leave, I suddenly became aware of a semi-circle of people sitting in the dark who, up until that moment, had been enjoying a television program.

Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

1. ‘Lounge’ is ……….
1. kind of taxi in the airport etc.
2. small room for workers
3. public sitting room in a hotel
4. special case for television
2. To ‘creep’ means to ………
1. run quickly

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jump off
3. shout out
4. move quietly
3. To ‘…….’ means to move the hands awkwardly to do something or to find something.
1. fumble
2. manage
3. switch
4. reside
4. A ‘knob’ is a…..
1. hotel room
2. small TV
3. round handle
4. special table

Questions for Discussion

1. What is the main funny point in the story?
2. Why did the man go downstairs in pajamas?
3. What do you think will happen next?

Story #5 – A Soldier’s Lie

Once a soldier asked his commanding officer for a day’s leave to attend his sister’s wedding.

The officer asked him to wait outside the door for a few minutes while he considered the request.

The officer then called the soldier back in and said, “You are a liar. I’ve just phoned your sister and she told me she’s already married.”

“Well, sir, you’re an even bigger liar,” the soldier replied, “because I don’t even have a sister.”

Vocabulary Practice
Mark the best choice.

1. ‘Leave’ here means ……
1. going out from a place


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one part of a tree
3. permission to be absent from work
4. asking a person for some money
2. To ‘attend’ here means to …
1. take care of
2. pay for
3. be present at
4. look at

Questions for Discussion

1. Why did the soldier tell the officer a lie?
2. Why did the officer tell the soldier a lie?
3. Can you remember telling such lies?

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Comment from Scott
Time: November 17, 2007, 7:22 am

I like your stories and the questions you asked were really good.
A chairman is someone who buys and sells chairs. Ha!

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