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Maybe you’ve heard of Henning Wehn. Maybe not. Either way, you can hear the hilarious German comedian when he delves into the idiosyncrasies of British English in his new one-off program, This Is Me Totally Sausage.

Henning Wehn
© Henning Wehn

Frequenters of comedy clubs in the UK and Brit TV fans know the London-based Henning Wehn to be a funny guy, as “Germany’s Comedy Ambassador to Britain” has been appearing on the UK comedy circuit and popular panel shows on telly, such as QI

and 8 Out of 10 Cats

for more than a decade.

Wehn has also featured on or hosted a number of radio series, including The Unbelievable Truth and Henning Knows Best.

For his latest BBC radio show, This Is Me Totally Sausage, he explores ELF — English as a lingua franca — rather than the more familiar ESL (English as a second language).

Henning Wehn
© Henning Wehn

In speaking with expats based in the UK, including French web entrepreneurs, Japanese estate agents, and others from Germany, Brazil, and even the US, as well as academics and consultants, Henning discovers quite a bit about British English.

Namely “that just having the English vocabulary and grasping of grammar doesn’t really help foreigners [in the UK] understand the nuanced, elliptical way that the British speak their own language.”

And that “non-native English speakers are baffled by the way the [British] natives communicate using humour, obscure idioms based on cricket or rugby, and the understated codes of class and status.”

What Henning learns about ELF is that “it is rapidly developing a grammar and structure of its own – often not understood by those who have grown up speaking English.”

(This isn’t the first time Wehn has broached the subject of language. Listen to the “languages” clip from Henning Knows Best on his website.)

You can tune in to the 30-minute This Is Me Totally Sausage when it airs live this Saturday, 4 April 2015, at 10:30 AM GMT (5:30 AM ET), on BBC Radio 4. If you’re in the US and don’t fancy waking up before the sun comes up (and on the weekend at that), you can listen to the broadcast soon after it airs on the BBC’s iPlayer Radio.

(There are no geographic restrictions for shows that air on any of the BBC’s radio stations or iPlayer Radio, as there are for the Beeb’s TV programs.)


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Henning Wehn: German Comedian Explores British English
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