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De Beers English Olympiad Mainstream Paper :

Name of the Organization : De Beers English Olympiad /
Examination Name : De Beers English Olympiad
Announcement : English Olympiad Mainstream Paper Section A/Section B
Year : 2014
Type : Past English Olympiad Exam Papers
Website :

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De Beers English Olympiad Mainstream Paper

Time: 2 – 3 Hours
Text: Life’S A Laugh?
Total Marks: 100

Related : De Beers English Olympiad First Additional Language Paper :


Answer :
1. one question from SECTION A1, AND Answer in the Examination Booklet
2. one question from SECTION A2
3. and all the questions from SECTION B Answer on the Answer Sheet that is stapled into the Examination Booklet

4. Regarding SECTION A :
4.1 We invite you to express your own ideas in response to the questions, using your own voice – there are no “right” answers. However, the better responses tend to refer to, and quote from, the anthology often.
4.2 Answer these questions in the Examination Booklet provided.
4.3 Write the section and number of the question above each answer, and start each question at the top of a new page.

4.4 On the cover of the examination book, please clearly indicate:
a) your School’s Olympiad Number (e.g. 317)
b) your personal Examination Number (e.g. 317 / 3)
c) the Questions Answered: each section and the number of the question that you have answered from that section (e.g. A1- 3 and A2 – 4).

5. Regarding SECTION B :
5.1 Answer these questions on the Answer Sheet that is stapled into the centre of your Examination Booklet. Do not remove it.
5.2 Write your School Number and your Examination Number in the spaces provided (e.g. 317 / 3).
5.3 The shaded sections are for the examiner’s use only.

Download Question Paper :
Section – A :
Section – B :

Humour In Literature

Section A1 :
Answer ONE of the following questions in an essay of about 300-350 words.
1. The “mechanicals’” play of Pyramus and Thisby has kept audiences laughing for more than four hundred years. Write an essay in which you discuss why it remains humorous.

2. Discuss how movement, timing, puns and wit might contribute to why the Nurse scenes in your anthology are funny.

3. In both the “mechanicals’” play Pyramus and Thisby, and the Lemmer play Playing in the Park, the players are sensitive to the audience’s reactions. Discuss why we laugh at the mechanicals’s concerns about the audience’s possible reactions, yet we cry with Zamisa when she sobs in the dressing room because of her audience’s reaction to her role of Juliet.

4. For Barry, who is “The King of Laughter”, life is not a laugh, yet he teaches Jerome to laugh. What might we, as South Africans, learn from Barry?

Section A2 : (10 MARKS)
The length of the body of the e-mail/ review/ blog/ letter/ monologue should be roughly 80–100 words.

Answer ONE of the following questions:
1. Write an e-mail (using the correct format) to a friend who usually does not enjoy comedy, recommending that s/he attend a performance of The King of Laughter.

2. Post an account on your Facebook Wall declaring your admiration for Shakespeare’s ability to defy the effects of time and continue to make us laugh.

3. Write the dialogue that happened between you, who happened to be a member of the audience, and the hooligan who disrupted the play after the production of Romeo and Juliet as it is described in Playing in the Park.

4. During the past couple of months while you have been preparing for the 2014 English Olympiad, you have kept a blog. Write a blog post entitled “Lessons in Life’s Laughter” in which you share the insights you have gained from the texts about the importance of laughter in life.

5. Write a letter to the press (using the correct format) in which you comment on the relevance of this year’s English Olympiad theme and choice of texts.

6. You are auditioning for a role in one of the plays contained in your anthology. As an audition requirement, you need to deliver an original comic monologue. Write your comic monologue (using the correct format). Ensure that your monologue contains at least two of the comic devices covered in the Study Guide at the back of your anthology.

Language Of Humour

Section B :
1. Read the following items and answer the questions below. The first one has been done for you as an example.
A Theseus: The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
B Newspaper headline: PUPIL SUSPENDED BY HEAD
C Old teachers never die, they just grade away.
D Dear Teacher
I know Jacqueline has had some time off with a runny tummy and I think this is because she was worried about her music exam. She is now better and you will be pleased to know that she passed the piano.

Each of the above items contains either a pun or a straight ambiguity. For each
tick whether it is a pun or an example of ambiguity;
quote the word or phrase which contains the pun or ambiguity; and
each time indicate what the intended meaning is and
what the unintended meaning is.

2. The following are extracts from excuse notes written to school. Write down the malapropism in each, along with the word which should have been used:
A Ayanda couldn’t come to school because of her loose vowels.
B Milton was absent because he had an abbess on his knee.

3. In each of the following, humour is created by the fact that a figurative saying has been drawn in a literal way. Below the pictures is a list of key words (in scrambled order) for the figurative sayings. Write down the appropriate saying for each picture each time using the relevant key word. (4 x 2 = 8)

4.1 Each of the following contains irony:
A Report from Time magazine :
In a Tanzanian village, an anti US parade was said to have been led by a brass band which, having been trained by American missionaries, could play only one tune: ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
B Line from The King of Laughter:
JEROME: (hinting at himself) What if someone has no sense of humour?

5. Read the quotations below from The King of Laughter and then tick the box that most aptly names the kind of humour captured in the underlined phrases in each.

6. The following lines are from the Prologue to the Mechanicals’ play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Our true intent is. All for your delight
We are not here. That you should here repent you,
Theseus comments as follows on Quince’s rendering of these lines:
This fellow doth not stand on points.
Rewrite the two lines with correct punctuation. This will entail removing or deleting the three punctuation marks in the original which provide the unintended humour on the part of Quince.

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