Sunday, September 19, 2010

Video lesson - Mr Mann's disappointed horse

I sometimes use short comedy videos in class and I find that students usually really like this particular one, a clip from the BBC series Little Britain. I've gone off the show a bit now, but I still think this one of the classic sketches of British comedy.

The vocabulary in this clip is not easy, but I've found that when students do these exercises first, they can 'get' most of the jokes.


Do these exercises before you watch the video.

Vocabulary. Look at how these words are used in context.

  1. rummage - She rummaged in/through all the drawers, looking for a pen.
  2. unfulfilled - an unfulfilled ambition/dream
  3. flicker - There was a flicker of hope in his eyes.
  4. shrug - 'Where's Dad?' 'How should I know?' replied my brother, shrugging.
  5. ponder - She sat back for a minute to ponder her next move in the game.
  6. strangle - She had been strangled with her own scarf.

Now select the correct definition below.

  1. a brief feeling or expression of an emotion or quality -
  2. to think carefully about something, especially for a noticeable length of time -
  3. to search for something by moving things around carelessly and looking into, under and behind them -
  4. has not happened or been achieved, unhappy because you think you should be achieving more in your life -
  5. to kill someone by pressing their throat so that they cannot breathe -
  6. to raise your shoulders and then lower them in order to express a lack of knowledge or interest -

Annoyance etc.

Much of the humour of this video comes from Mr Mann's excessive formality and his use of several words with very similar meanings, some of which aren't used very often. See if you can work these out:

Look at how these words are used in context

  1. disappoint - I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm afraid I can't come after all
  2. perturb - News of the arrest perturbed her greatly.
  3. vex - The financial crisis looks likely to continue to vex the government.
  4. irk - The negative reply to my complaint really irked me.
  5. displease - I wouldn't want to do anything to displease him.
  6. inconvenience - The transport strike is inconveniencing many people.
  7. disillusion - I hate to disillusion you, but pregnancy is not always wonderful - I was sick every day for six months.

Now select the correct definition below.

  1. to worry someone -
  2. to cause someone to be annoyed or unhappy -
  3. to fail to satisfy someone or their hopes, desires, etc -
  4. to cause problems or trouble, which often results in a delay or loss of comfort -
  5. to cause difficulty to someone, or to cause someone to feel angry, annoyed or upset -
  6. to tell somebody the unpleasant truth about something or someone that they had a good opinion of, or respected -
  7. to annoy someone -

Before you watch the video, make sure you know what the following are:

kitten       owl       badger

Now enjoy the video, listening out in particular for Margaret's first answer.




Do this exercise after watching the video

The following sentences are from the script and in the order you heard them. Fill in the gaps to make the boxes disappear. Try first from memory and/or logic. Then watch and/or listen to the video again. Try not to look back at the first exercise. The words must be exactly right (BrE spelling!).
  1. 'Have you been here long?' 'No not long. Just about or so'
  2. That horse looks more than disappointed
  3. The horse looks disappointed, but not because it received bad news. It looks more like it was disappointed because it had high in life that have remained .
  4. I can see the disappointment; I can see the but I can also sense a of hope that things may get better for this horse and that really isn't what I’m looking for.
  5. I'm not sure that would make a nice painting. An kitten perhaps but not .
  6. Do you have any paintings featuring owls?"
  7. I have a painting of an badger at home. I can put it next to that.
  8. I can't help thinking this owl looks more than displeased.
  9. Get out or I will you.
To do the exercise again, just refresh the page

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