Where is Brian? / Le singe est sur la branche.
I’ve taught both English and French to secondary school children (not as a proper teacher, but in similar roles). In so doing, I’ve often been reminded of a couple of stand-up acts about learning foreign languages.
First, Gad Elmaleh on learning English by locating Brian in the house.
“Where is Brian?”
(Or, “Wairr eez Bry-yan?”)
is now a cult question for anyone under the age of 25 in France. Of course, everyone knows that
“Bry-yan eez een zuh key-chain.”
Second, Eddie Izzard on learning French, with several references to previous jokes within the same show:
Fundamentally, these comedians both point towards the same fallacy in learning languages: rote memorisation of ready-made phrases.