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Last updated at 12:30 GMT, Tuesday, 14 January 2014



Rob has taken Feifei to a cricket match but she's not too keen, especially as some of the words associated with the game have her stumped! It's time for Rob to explain what being stumped really means.

Cricket stumps

What do you say when you're stumped?

The script for this programme

Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. I'm here with Rob today. Hello Rob.

Rob: Hi everyone. Now Feifei, I hope you appreciate me bringing you to this typical English cricket match.

Feifei: (aside) Cricket is not really my sport but… (pretending to be interested) yes Rob, it's wonderful. Such an exciting game! I love cricket, especially when a goal is scored.

Rob: Err… that's in football Feifei.

Feifei: Oh yes, of course, I knew that. I am really quite an expert on cricket, you know.

Rob: Really? So what do we call that man over there who's throwing the ball?

Feifei: That's easy... it's the... errr... hmmm...

Rob: That's stumped you!

Feifei: Stumped! That's a word they use in cricket... isn't it?

Rob: Well, it is - when the ball hits the stumps - that's the three sticks that the batsman stands in front of - the batsman is stumped. But the word stumped has another meaning: It means you can't answer a question or you don't know how to solve a problem.

Feifei: I see. So it means you're stuck and don't know what to say or do. Well, it's true Rob, your question has 'stumped' me!

Well, have a think about the answer while we listen to some examples of the word 'stumped' in action...

  • This extremely strange weather has stumped all the experts.
  • Oh dear, I was stumped by the final question on the exam paper. I'm going to fail now!
  • The rest of the team tried to work out why Sally lost the race, but they were totally stumped.

Feifei: Rob, I'm not stumped by your earlier question.

Rob: What was that?

Feifei: What do you call the man who throws the ball? It's the... ballman!

Rob: Oh, I give up!

Feifei: What's wrong with that? Anyway, I bet you don't know what they're selling in the snack bar downstairs!

Rob: Errr...

Feifei: Ah, that's stumped you! They're selling hot dogs, with mustard. Yum!

Rob: Oh great, could you get me one?

Feifei: You'll have to 'stump up' first!

Rob: (confused) Are we talking cricket again?

Feifei: No Rob. Keep up. 'To stump up' is a phrasal verb meaning to pay for something, usually without wanting to. So come on Rob, £3 please.

Rob: But I paid for the tickets. Oh, this just isn't cricket!

Both: Bye.


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