The English We Speak

Intermediate level

Donkey's years

Episode 170815 / 15 Aug 2017

Summary

Why has Rob got a donkey in the studio?! It's probably got something with today's authentic English phrase which is about not doing something for a long time. How long will it take for Feifei to work out what it means?

Transcript

Feifei
Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. I'm Feifei…

Rob
And I'm… Rob.

Feifei
Errr… sorry Rob. What did you say?

Rob
I said, I'm… Rob.

Feifei
Right, and why have you brought a donkey into the studio?

Rob
To help with today's authentic English phrase – which is… donkey's years.

Feifei
So is this about age and how I look like a donkey?

Rob
Not exactly Feifei. The phrase comes from rhyming slang – donkey's years rhymes with donkey's ears, yes?

Feifei
Yes. 'Donkey's years' does rhyme with 'donkey's ears' – so you're saying my ears are like a donkey's?

Rob
No. Unlike your ears, donkey's ears are long and when we say we haven't done something for 'donkey's years' we mean we haven't done something for a long time.

Feifei
Right. Good, so it's got nothing do with me looking like a donkey?

Rob
Absolutely not. Let's hear the phrase in action…

Examples
I'm so bored; I've been doing this job for donkey's years!

I haven't driven a car for donkey's years; I hope I can remember what to do.

We've got to go to Lily's party; I haven't seen her for donkey's years so it'll be great to catch up.

Feifei
That's 'donkey's years' – when we haven't done something for donkey's years, we haven't done it for a very long time. So Rob, I could say we haven't been to the cinema for donkey's years?

Rob
Yes and you'd be correct. We haven't. Shall we go now?

Feifei
OK. But does your donkey have to come too?

Rob
Oh look, he's very excited!

Feifei
Yuk! I can see…. What's that on the floor?

Rob
Ooooh yes! Perhaps we'll leave him shall we, clear that up later. Perhaps he could present some more programmes while we're away.

Feifei
Ha – that is donkey work! Bye

Rob
Bye.