This Berlitz advert is possibly the funniest English language learning commercial ever. A young German coastguard trainee has a real problem with the  digraph th⟩ IPA phonetic symbol /θ/.

The German language simply does not have a th or /θ/ sound. So it is common for German speaking people to replace the sound with a /s/.

As with a lot of comedy there is a simple misunderstanding which has hilarious consequences. The word “sinking” in a very serious distress call is heard by the young man as a “thinking”.

It is a simple yet effective humorous situation which tickled me when I first saw it and quite frankly still does.

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