We ALL have communication problems whether we're using our mother tongue, a second language, if we have hearing problems...
If we are studying a language we need to learn the rules, grammar, vocabulary, etc. in the best way but in the end what we need is communication.
So...never feel shy or embarrased, feel free to speak, many people will smile when we speak, some will help us, some will correct us and finally we will learn, we will know more.
We could have done it better, why did we say this or that in the wrong way, we did not pronounce that properly...that's the way we learn!!!
This post is for Paloma, one of our students who is doing a great personal effort everytime she speaks, as she finds it hard to do it as perfectly as she'd like. She is a fighter, so keep on improving Paloma!! (let me include your mates, too: KEEP ON WORKING!)

Well, this is for Paloma and her mates, to have a real good laugh.

For those of you who have not heard about Fawlty Towers (no? and Monty Phyton? ;-) ) please have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fawlty_Towers

Now, you can check we all have communication problems (the plot around Mrs. Richardson) . If it is a bit long you can use fast forward but try to watch it little by little, once and again, and you will understand a bit more every time. Enjoy it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5frHEREsYPM&feature=related 1st part

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ez4x6IYfMo&feature=related 2nd "

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=225SOyk1fzg&feature=related 3rd "

Please send us your comments on Fawlty's episode or your anecdotes on communication problems!!


  1. I have already seen the three parts of the chapter. Its quite funny.I like specially Manuel´s character and I find Mrs. Richardson quite unbereable. The mayor is very funny as well. The thing is probably they are a bit stereotyped but these sort of characters really exist, the one who doesnt understand a word, the other who is very mean and always complaints for everything etc.I didnt know this sit-com but of course I have seem the Monty Phyton's work.
    Have a nice day
    Paloma Blanco

  2. Paloma!!!
    Great comment!! I think you are going to be a great partner in this blog!!
    I love the dialogue between Manuel and Mrs. Richardson...qué si What Watt, what a mess!!
    What about the rest? You were included in Paloma's post...ha, ha...

  3. As promised, here is my anecdote for you all:
    my family was in Switzerland, on holidays, in the 70's. They wanted to have an ice-cream so they went to buy one in a big kind of bar-restaurant near a lake. My uncle asked for some ice-creams in German but the lady in the bar did not understand him, so he tried in Italian unsuccessfully; my father did the same in French and English, my aunt tried in Portuguese. No way. Impossible. My mother, the one who says she has not been gifted when it comes to languages, got into the place and said "¿qué pasa, no tienen helados?" and the lady anwered "vaya, qué querían? Helados? Menos mal, es que soy de Cadiz y llegué ayer!!"
    Enjoy your weekend and practice some English too!!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Just a trivia fact: In the Spanish dubbed version of Fawlty Towers, Manuel was Italian!!
    I'm a great Monty Python fan, I strongly recommend their motion pictures like 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' and their masterpiece: 'Life of Brian'. Right now you can enjoy a musical in Madrid and Barcelona based on both movies called 'Spamalot'.

  6. Sorry, here I am again, but I just can't help to post this link to a Monty Python TV show sketch. My all-time favourite!!

  7. Some years ago I was in Dublin on holiday with an Spanish group and we were in a pub. So suddenly it come to us one of them completely scared saying: please, help me, do you speak English? I have asked the bartender for cash to the tobacco machine and she has given me a shandy (a sort of beer with lemon). Well, the thing is he was pronouncing: "chanchi" so the lady understood that the most likely sound she knew was a Shandy. It costs us a bit to convince of the mistake but we laughted a lot!
    Paloma Blanco

  8. Communication problems is something that happens to me every year I visit Glasgow (Scotland) in August. I'm the only Spanish guy learning to play a music instrument called Great Highland Bagpipe so I'm used to travel to Glasgow for taking exams at the music academy. The communication problem doesn't occur at the academy but in the streets of that big city. The townfolks commonly speak a dialect called Glaswegian and I can ensure you all that it is that a thick soup of english, slang, irish and gaelic that it is impossible to understand a word. For those that may thing this is unbelievable, click on the following link that is a parody in glaswegian of the famous Star Trek and there you'll watch a perfect exemplification of what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLxLmFhROqY also take a look at the commentaries below the video clip.

    Finally I'd like to share with you all an hilarious anecdote that once happened to me again in Glasgow. I was waiting at the main gate of the Royal Concert Hall and suddenly a nice guy begun talking to me about the weather, music, etc, you know those trivial things. After ten minutes chatting in english we both burst of laugthing because we realized that we were spaniards.
    What to say... this is a crazy world. Isn't it?

  9. Hi Salvi,
    Thanks a lot for your funny and interesting post!!Why don't you give us more info about that special bagpipe? The only Spanish student there, you must be good! can we hear you and see you in you tube, for instance? :-)
    I'm eager to listen to your link, I'll try now!!!

  10. Mercedes Prats2/26/10, 6:49 PM

    I already knew Fawlty Towers and I must say that I love it!

    There was another very funny British sitcom called 'Allo 'Allo!, maybe you know it. It was set during the World War II, while the Germans had occupied France. There's a character called Crabtree who pretends to be a French police officer when he, in fact, is a British spy. The funny thing about this character is that he speaks a horrible French (all the actors of course speak in English
    but they use different accents while speaking "French" or "German") and he's always mixing words or pronouncing them badly. For example, he says things like "good moaning!", instead
    of "good morning", or "I was pissing by the door", instead of "I was passing at the door".

    Here you have a video about this character and another with some general gags of the sitcom. I hope you enjoy them!



    Mercedes Prats Amador

  11. I watched yesterday the first episode of "Fawlty Towers", I didn't know about it but now I think is a great discovery. It's very funny and the spanish character is stereotyped but is funny too.

    Thank you for the recomendation!

  12. L. Borreguero2/28/10, 6:29 PM

    Hello Mercedes and welcome,
    You are right Allo! Allo! is also a very funny British sitcom, I'm sure your mates will thank you when they have a look at the links you have enclosed!
    Welocme as well, I'm glad yo are enjoying Fawlty Towers as much as I did when watched it for the first time. Of course in these sitcoms there are clichés and stereotypes abd here we have another question to answer:
    will these sitcoms be that funny without them?
    What is humour deep inside?

    Any clues?

  13. Maria Covadonga Glez. Bernardo3/3/10, 9:01 PM

    Thanks!!! I love Fawlty Towers. It had been long since I last watched an episode. This one, I loved. It is hilarious!!! I adore John Cleese.
    Maria Covadonga Glez. Bernardo

  14. I imagine that this sort of situations must be very funny. However, people tell me that British are very proud and often very little polite when they don't understand you.

    Jorge from Zaragoza

  15. Jorge is right, this happens all over the world, poeple tend to be polite and helpful when you are a foreigner, dependign on the country, more or less the same.
    Here we are just talking from a humorous view regarding communication problems.

  16. I loved this post, I'm so shy and it's so difficult to me to practice with my husband Y_Y

  17. Sandra,
    Try here!! you are more than welcome!!

  18. I find quite funny the Fawlty Towers section, even thought I don't understand completely...
    it's easier when the joke is a short one.
    (I'm sending the comment as anonymous, because I don't know exactly what the other options are about)
    Lucía Sanz

  19. Thanks, Lucía Sanz.
    About the post, in anonymous you can choose the option to write a name, but you are welcome anyway!