and American English
Today, British English and American English are two major varieties of English. Bernard Shaw once said that America and England were two great nations separated by the same language.
The differences between English and American English have long served as the basis of jokes.
Speakers of a particular regional variety of the English language usually take a humorous stand towards forms of speech differing from their own. Thus, speakers of American English can perceive with a smile the peculiar phonetics of a speaker of British English.
Now we come to the jokes based on peculiarities of British English and American English. Read and enjoy!
"I speak four languages," proudly boasted the door man of a hotel in Rome to an American guest. "Yes, four - Italian, French, English, and American."
"But English and American are the same," protested the guest.
"Not at all," replied the man. "If an Englishman should come up now, I should talk like this: 'Oh, I say, what extraordinarily shocking weather we're having! I dare say there'll be a bit of it ahead.' But when you came up I was just getting ready to say: 'For the love o' Mike! Some day, ain't it? Guess this is the second flood, all right.' "
When Gypsy Rose Lee (an American burlesque entertainer, actress and playwright) heard that her detective novel G-String Murders
was going to be published in London, she wired her publishers, "Who is going to make the English translation?"
The British Ambassador walked briskly into the foyer of a Washington hotel, and stopped for a moment to speak with one of the bright-buttoned servitors in the lobby. After he walked on, an assistant manager who had noted the incident, went over to the boy and said, "What did the Ambassador want?"
"I don't know," answered the bell-hop. "He couldn't speak English."
" 'E's so keen on gardening that 'e bought a 'cyclopedia about it, an' I caught 'im lookin' all through the o's to see 'ow to grow 'ops."
On the morning of an important recital in London, a famous American violinist stopped in at a small Leicester Square shop and asked the girl for an E string.
"Yes, sir," she replied dubiously, and disappeared for several minutes. When she returned, she had in her hand a box full of assorted pieces of cord, string and old rubber hands.
" 'Ere, sir," she said, "you pick hit yourself. I can't tell the bloody 'e strings from the she strings."
An American in London was having a terrible time with his pronunciation. It was bad enough to learn that Worcester was pronounced "Wooster," and that Chumley was spelled out as Cholmondeley. Then he saw a marquee on a picture house. It read, "A REVIVAL OF CAVALCADE: PRONOUNCED SUCCESS."
"That settles it," said the American. "I'm going home."
The shopwalker in a large London store was asked by an American lady if he could supply "two starters and a catcher." Uncertain as to what they were but too proud to admit that his store might not know of them he said, "Certainly, madam - if you will leave your name and address we will send them round." She did so.
Enquiry by the shopwalker on all floors failed to trace these articles and the managing director himself could throw no light upon them. However, when at lunch he spotted a friend who had lived in America and immediately asked him.
"Oh yes," said the friend, "I know them. Starters are the pads of hair ladies, who have very little, use to pad out their own and a catcher is a hair net to keep it all in place."
Upon his return from lunch the managing director told the shopwalker what he had heard and the shopwalker was clearly staggered. "Good heavens," he exclaimed. "I thought the thing out for myself and I've already sent round two Seidlitz powders and a bed pan!"
The following conversation took place between a visiting American and an Eton schoolmaster.
"Do you allow your boys to smoke?" the American asked.
"I'm afraid not," was the reply.
"Can they drink?"
"Good gracious no."
"What about dates?"
"Oh, that's quite all right," said the master, "as long as they don't eat too many."
Professor Einstein was fascinated by American slang. He listened carefully three times to the story of the employer who told his secretary, "There are two words I must ask you never to use in my presence. One of them is 'lousy,' the other is 'swell.'
"That's all right by me," said the secretary. "What are the two words?"
When he finally comprehended, the professor threw back his head and roared with laughter.
Read more jokes about other Englishes.
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