Southerly by David Haywood

Learning English with the Browns

As part of the launch of Public Address System, we are proud to present a new educational series entitled 'Learning English with the Browns'.

This first part of the series contains five lessons. Take your time and read carefully through each English lesson. By the end of the series you should be able to hold a rudimentary conversation, or study simple subjects at a university.

So now... let's learn English!

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I. Introducing the Browns

The Brown family live together in England. Mr. Brown has a car, but it is not a German car. It is a British car.

Most Englishmen have roast beef for dinner. "What would you like for dinner, today?" asked Mrs. Brown.

"Roast beef, please," said Mr. Brown.

Some Englishmen eat sausage at breakfast. However, it is not like German sausage.

One morning Mr. Brown awoke before his wife. "Are you awake, Hildegard?" he asked. Hildegard was not awake. She had died during the night.

When someone dies in England, the body is displayed in the front garden for three days. At the funeral no-one was very upset. Englishmen do not cry.

"Tomorrow, if it is fine, I shall go to the grocer," said Mr. Brown.

Above: When someone dies in England, the body is displayed in the front garden for three days.

II. At the Grocer

In England they do not have supermarkets. They go to a 'grocer' instead. "Hello, I wish to buy some sausage," said Mr. Brown.

"Yes, you may buy some sausage," said the Grocer. "However we do not have Knockwurst, or Blutwurst, or even Wienerwurst. We only have English sausage."

"That is good," said Mr. Brown. "I am an Englishman, so I like English sausage."

In England they usually drink beer at breakfast. "I also wish to buy some Weissbier for breakfast," said Mr. Brown.

"But we are an English grocer," said the Grocer. "We do not sell Weissbier."

"Good," said Mr. Brown. "Then I would like two litres of English beer, please. I do not mind English beer, because I am an Englishman."

"You cannot take your groceries with you," said the Grocer, "an errand-boy will deliver them later."

"Yes, I know, this is the way we shop in England," said Mr. Brown.

Above: English sausage.

III. A Surprise Visitor

Most Englishmen do not die of natural causes. Usually, they are poisoned.

A policemen came to see Mr. Brown. "Hello, Bobby," said Mr. Brown. In England, all policemen are called Bobby. English policemen are famous for being the most honest in the world.

"Do you speak English?" asked Mr. Brown.

"Yes," said Bobby, "I am a typical Englishman. In England, the police do not carry sidearms."

"I am also a typical Englishman," said Mr. Brown, "I speak very good English."

"We have had a report on Mrs. Brown's death from the Gerichtsmediziner," said Bobby. "As per usual, she was poisoned."

"Will you take 100 Euros to forget all about it?" asked Mr. Brown quietly.

"No," said Bobby, "because I am the most honest policeman in the world."

Mr. Brown was joking. Bobby was joking, too. This is the famous English sense of humour.

"Would you accompany me to the police station now," said Bobby.

Above: In England, all policemen are called Bobby.

IV. The Brown Daughters

Mr. Brown has two daughters. In England, the eldest unmarried daughter is always called by the family name. Only younger daughters are called by their first names.

Mr. Brown's daughters are called Gretchen and Miss Brown. "What did you do at school today?" asked Mr. Brown.

"We do not have to study for the Abitur in England, so I did nothing at all!" said Gretchen. "This is because I am English. All Englishmen are very lazy at school."

"My school has a uniform," said Miss Brown. "We English girls do not have boys at our school. Boys go to a different place called Public School. All schools are like this in England."

"And we do not learn German at school," said Gretchen. "The Germans are very hard-working and can learn many languages, but we only learn English."

"In England," said Mr. Brown, "we do not have a judge. We use the jury system."

Above: A typical English jury.

V. At the Bibliothek

One day Miss Brown said: "Now I shall go to the bibliothek with my boyfriend, Klaus. Like me, he is a typical Englishman."

Gretchen stayed at home with the babysitter. All English children must have a babysitter. The babysitter was an Englishwoman called Hildegard. However, in England, all babysitters are called Nanny. "Would you like a cup of tea, Mr. Brown?" asked Nanny.

Miss Brown did not come home until dinner-time the next day. After they had eaten roast beef, Mr. Brown asked her where she had been.

"The car was broken," said Miss Brown. "It is a British car."

"But why did you not call us on your handy?" asked Nanny.

"My handy is also broken," said Miss Brown. "It is not a German handy. It is British."

"That is an extremely satisfactory answer," said Mr. Brown. "I shall now have some more roast beef."

Above: A modern British handy.

NEXT WEEK: The Brown family go to the cinema.