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Remember ITV’s lamentable Mind your language sitcom (http://www.phill.co.uk/comedy/language/index.html). Over 25 excruciating episodes, viewers were subjected to every racial gag known to man. No foreigner was left unoffended as a classroom of stereotypes tried to get to grips with the English language.
But the sad truth for us Brits is that most Europeans, Africans and Asians we meet speak better English than we can. We’re lucky they all speak our language, because we simply cannot be bothered to learn theirs. Shouting English loudly in a Belgian bar will get you a beer. Imagine a Belgian yelling Flemish down your local boozer – he’d be on the floor faster than Jurgen Klinsman.
Now there’s an entertaining Mac package that could help hone their English to real Oxford standards.
What’s more British than racist jokes? Inspector Morse, of course. And this EuroTalk Advanced English DVD features a whole episode of our favourite white-haired gruff detective. All the dialogue is subtitled below the action, so that students can learn the subtleties of our language.
Of course, a potential problem is that all the dialogue is spoken by cops and villains. Monsieur Beret could greet us all with “Not now, Lewis!” as he steps off the Eurostar.
Once the students have watched the Morse episode, they’re encouraged to enter a virtual gameshow against computer-controlled Morse expert Dave. You’ll be quizzed on dialogue from straight vocabulary to strange English colloquialisms.
Advanced English with Inspector Morse is a rounded, professional tutoring package that will make learning English a little more real than turgid traditional methods. But what we really need is Advanced French with Maigret, or even West Country with Shoestring.