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Last updated at 12:13 GMT, Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Take the mickey

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Rob has to give his nephew, Dominic, a birthday present. They are in a toy shop. Li's there to help out. What item has caught Rob's attention? And what does Li think of his choice?

Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, Paris, France

Is he taking the mickey?

The script for this programme

(Rob and Li are in a toy shop with Rob's nephew)

Rob: Thanks for coming with me to this toy shop, Li. I have to find a gift for my nephew, Dominic. It's his birthday.

Dominic: I'm a big boy now!

Li: Ah, your nephew is so cute, Rob.

Rob: Children are difficult to please, Li.

Dominic: I want that on the shelf! With big ears! Mickey Mouse!

Rob: That one over there is ideal! It's great.

Li: A computer game, Rob?! He's not even four years old!

Rob: He will love it! Children know a lot about computers these days. And you can be an astronaut who chases aliens...

Li: Oh yes, and then you have a laser weapon pshum pshum... Come on, Rob, the computer game is for you!

Rob: Oh, alright, alright. I like it. Go on, take the mickey…

Li: Take the Mickey? OK. You heard your uncle; he wants me to take the Mickey Mouse from you. Give it to me.

(Li takes the Mickey Mouse toy from Dominic's hands)

Dominic: No! No! I like Mickey! Big ears! Nice big ears!

Rob: Hold on, there's no need to do that. Maybe a stuffed Mickey Mouse is all he wants.

Li: But Rob, you told me to take the Mickey from him.

Rob: No, no, no, I said you were taking the mickey out of me. In English, the expression 'taking the mickey', or 'taking the mickey out of somebody' means to laugh at them or make fun of them.

Li: So it has nothing to do with the Disney character.

Rob: That's right. It's a really old expression. Let's hear some examples.

  • When you asked me to lend you $2,000 I thought you were taking the mickey. You know I don't have much money.

  • My brother doesn't take anything seriously. He takes the mickey out of our parents and teachers all the time.

Rob: Now that is clear, where's Dominic?

Dominic: I want that! Big car! Brrrum brrrrum. It's like daddy's!

Rob: Yes, that is a big shiny car almost the size of mine! An adult could fit in that! It must be very expensive too! Come back here, Dominic!

Li: Ah, now he is taking the mickey out of you, Rob.

Rob: Come on, Dominic. How about... how about the Mickey Mouse... or this teddy bear here...

Dominic: No! I want the car! Brrrumm. Give me the car! It's my birthday! Brruuumm!

Li: Yes, indeed. Children are difficult to please. Bye.

Rob: Bye.

Dominic: I will go home in my big car! Bye bye! Brrruumm brummm!

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