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The Education of Hyman Kaplan

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  633 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Leo Rosten wrote his first tale of Hyman Kaplan when he was 24 and it was published to great applause by the New Yorker. Over the next two years the magazine ran all 15 of the original stories that were eventually published in 1937 as The Education of Hyman Kaplan.
Hardcover, Prion Humour Classics, 192 pages
Published April 20th 2000 by Prion (first published 1937)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,182)
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Kressel Housman
Jul 14, 2008 Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jews or anyone who loves word humor
Shelves: fiction, jewish, humor
For Jews who love word play, this is an absolute hoot! Non-Jews who love word play might also like it, but as it takes place in an English class for a bunch of Jewish immigrants, mit Yiddisheh eksents yet, it'll fill Jews with nostalgia, even Jews who don't speak Yiddish. After all, it's a comedy about bubby and zaidy! Hyman Kaplan's mistakes are guaranteed to give you the giggles. They certainly did for me!
Jan 08, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, Goodreads, now I've finished it. This book is light and funny. Hyman Kaplan is an immigrant living in the United States and taking a beginners English class at a night school for adults. The book focuses on Kaplan's strange use of the English language: his odd spelling, bizarre pronunciation, and his logical (but incorrect) understanding of word meanings. Kaplan's teacher, Mr. Parkhill, does his best to be patient with Kaplan and to correct his errors, but Kaplan is incorrigible. The other ...more
Sep 30, 2012 Eva rated it it was amazing
A must for every ESL/EFL teacher (or any foreign language teacher for that matter). I must admit I enjoyed the ingenious Czech translation more than the English original. If you like this book watch Mind your language series (or vice versa)!
Sep 24, 2008 Ann rated it liked it
Cute fun read. Rather dated since it was first published in 1937, but it was a nice view of my father's generation. And, probably very true of current ESL classes.
Jul 18, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
My daughter checked out this book from the library over and over through her high school years, and I think she was probably the only one who ever read it in those years. The book may have influenced her to major in applied linquistics in college! I just read The Education of Hyman Kaplan for the first time and it is hilarious! The book was published in 1937 and the setting is a classroom of immigrant students struggling to learn the English language. Hyman Kaplan is the star as he always has so ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Barbora rated it it was amazing
Besfádná kníga o ednem dobromyšném ale hradným páně Kaplanovi... Dobře to bylo po Kaplanovsku, teď normálně. Skvělá kniha. Kdo někdy zažil nějaké školní útrapy, představte si bandu dospělých cizinců ze všech koutů světa a jejich útrapy z učení se anglického jazyka. Mezi nimi jednoznačně vyčnívá Hyman Kaplan, který dokáže každé slovo totálně pomotat, až se někdy opravdu smějete nahlas! :) Občas jsem měla trošku problémy s porozuměním některých slovíček, přeci jen i když jsem četla česky, je to ně ...more
Feb 07, 2014 Jami rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Mr. Kaplan made me laugh; at some times I felt sorry for him and others I cheered him on! I also did feel some empathy to Mr. Parkhill as well! What an interesting story about Mr. Kaplan and his class at the Night Preparatory School for Adults. As I was reading it, I could hear his accent and his pronounciation - it certainly makes you stop and think how difficult (and illogical) the English language can be, particularly for non-native speakers.
Aug 08, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Hyman Kaplan was a great character. I loved his confidence and the way he tried to logically explain his many hilarious ways of speaking English. The humor was a little tainted for me by the condescending, unlikeable teacher and it was hard at first to get used to reading the phonetic version of the heavily accented dialogue, but it was still a fun, light read overall.
May 15, 2016 Josh rated it it was amazing
Hyman Kaplan is a witty character who is a 'problem case' in the english language. He faces in-class wars with two of the smartest girls in his class and usually wins with a smart comment. In his class, Mr Parkhill (Hyman's teacher) has no problem with the other kids in his class who are progressing nice and smoothly, Mr Kaplan on the other hand, is using his 'dep ideas' and staying on the English progression line like a rock. My personal favourite parts fall in the chapter of 'Mr Kaplan the com ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Jun 08, 2008 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it liked it
Recommended to Jeanette by: Book Lust by Nancy Pearl
A little outdated, having first been published in 1937, but cute nonetheless. I suppose the humor would have been more immediate at the time it was written. It does show many of the reasons why it's difficult for foreigners to learn English! There are so many ways the language can trip you up if you didn't grow up with it.
Jonathan Lipman
Apr 18, 2014 Jonathan Lipman rated it liked it
Charming, observant and at times very funny account of (mostly Jewish) immigrants into NY. The use of spelling to capture immigrant accents and lexicon is terrific. But monothematic, and now a tad dated.
Anna Szabo
Feb 25, 2012 Anna Szabo rated it liked it
Essential reading for an ESL teacher. It did become a little redundant after about page 70. But otherwise, an amusing read!
Markéta Š.
Přečtena cca třetina, musela jsem to odložit, z pana Kaplana lezu po zdi.
Candi Ditzler
Nov 13, 2014 Candi Ditzler rated it it was amazing
As a Middle School Librarian I use this book with my 5th grade classes to show that just because a book is old doesn't mean it is a boring book - my students LOVE Hyman. They also enjoy making a new book cover for my poor old copy, complete with review on the back. How students embrace the plight of Hyman and his classmates struggling to learn proper English in their night class is amazing. They see their own struggles with grammar,vocabulary, and spelling acted out by adults in this adorably fu ...more
May 12, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humour, read-2012
This book is about a (fictional) adult education class for foreigners wanting to learn English, set in the US in 1937. The long-suffering Mr Parkhill has a passion for teaching, and loves seeing his students (such as the shy Miss Mitnick) picking up the language well. He worries about the sighs and troubles of Mrs Moskowitz... but most of all is by turns bewildered and amused by the larger-than-life Mr Kaplan, who sits in the front row with a beaming smile, and never misses a class.

Mr Kaplan is
Debra Hennessey
Jan 10, 2015 Debra Hennessey rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Sweet and funny. I had to read some of the dialog aloud to understand it which led to concerned looks from my husband. When I finished When Books Went to War I decided to go through the list of American Service Editions and check out some titles I haven't read and this is one of them. A charming book.
Tom Romig
Jun 21, 2016 Tom Romig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry to see this one end. The irrepressible, linguistically inventive Hyman Kaplan; his gentle, dedicated, and endlessly compassionate teacher, Mr. Parkhill; the bright, shy Miss Mitnick; the struggling Mrs. Moskowitz; and all the other regulars in the beginners' grade of the American Night Preparatory School for Adults. This wonderfully well written work is not only a boundless source of humor but also a timely reminder of who makes up this America.
Susan Dillon
Apr 20, 2015 Susan Dillon rated it liked it
Certainly dated and not politically correct in its condescending, satirical depiction of recent immigrants, but laugh out loud funny. It helps to be able to hear a Yiddish accent as you read Hyman Kaplan's English conversation and compositions. He is a loveable character, as are his classmates in beginning English.
Jul 24, 2015 cross rated it liked it
I read a copy which is being passed around the EFL community here. It's a bit like "mind your language" in print, but slightly more sensitive. I'd like to say times have changed significantly since then, but not in all EFL classrooms!
Feb 07, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
This is a fast read once you get the accent down. It is enjoyable, if not a little corny. I could relate as I am trying to learn Spanish and think that Spanish people listening to me would think I resemble Hyman Kaplan.
Sep 07, 2015 Margie rated it liked it
Hilarious look into a classroom of immigrants who are attempting to learn the English language. Hyman Kaplan is the focus with his unique take on our mother tongue. Sometimes this is a real head-scratcher as readers try to figure out what Hyman is trying to say based on Leo Rosten's spellings.
David Ward
Nov 16, 2015 David Ward rated it really liked it
The Education of Hyman Kaplan by Leo Rosten writing as Leonard Q. Ross (Harcourt 1937) ( Fiction – Humor).This is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and it remains one of my favorites almost forty years after I stumbled across it at the library. Our narrator, Mr. Parkhill, is an English teacher at the American Night Preparatory School for Adults. He teaches English to a room full of adult immigrants who desperately want to learn to speak and to write proper English. The irrepressible Hyma ...more
Yosef Shapiro
Jan 02, 2016 Yosef Shapiro rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
This book is a bit dated. But for anyone who grew up with relatives that did not speak English as a first language, you will be able to relate to these characters.
Ian Hamilton
Apr 21, 2015 Ian Hamilton rated it really liked it
Thoroughly entertaining little collection of vignettes; despite limited character development, Kaplan and the other players are unique - best read out loud.
Sep 09, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
What? This book is listed here as by "Leo Rosten." My copy, published in 1937 says it is by "Leonard Q Ross." Did the author use an assumed name and then later revealed himself?

This book has been on our bookshelf my whole life, and I think this is the first time I have read it. As I read other reviews of this charming little book, I think probably I am missing some of the Jewish humor because I'm not Jewish, but still I found the book delightful. Originally the chapters were published in The New
A product of its time (just before WWII). Some bits I was inclined to wonder "yo, is this racist?" Endearing, though.
Jan 25, 2016 Karen added it
This is one of the funniest books that I have ever read. Fantastic; keeps you laughing until you cry.
Nov 28, 2015 Kenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-taught, aaca
I used a letter in the book, and one of my students figured it out (via her daughter).
Mary Helene
Sep 07, 2013 Mary Helene rated it it was ok
Most books which originated as a series of columns do not hold up well when read as a book. This collection got tedious; I should have left it for the occasional read. A friend recommended it because of its ESL connection. Its appeal? It was a window on teaching methods of the 50s. Most of its humor plays off of mispronounced words, but there is at the core a respect for the learner of English.

As the crisis unfolds in Syria (to bomb or not to bomb) this insight (p.50) was timely: "A case of kno

Adorable and consistently laugh-out-loud funny. This book is an instant classic for me!!
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esl 2 11 May 20, 2014 07:48PM  
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Leo Calvin Rosten (April 11, 1908 - February 19, 1997) was born in Lodz, Russian Empire (now Poland) and died in New York City. He was a teacher and academic, but is best known as a humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism and Yiddish lexicography.
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“It was at this point, visualizing too vividly another Mr. Kaplan in the class, that anxious little lines had crept around Mr. Parkhill´s eyes.” 2 likes
“Mr. Kaplan smiled back and answered promptly, “Vell, I´ll tell you about Prazidents United States. Fife Prazidents United States is Abram Lincohen, he vas freeink de neegers; Hodding, Coolitch, Judge Vashington, an´ Banjamin Franklin.”
Futher encouragement revealed that Mr. Kaplan´s literary Valhalla the “most famous tree American wriders” were Jeck Laundon, Valt Viterman, and the author of “Hawk l. Barry-Feen,” one Mock- tvain. Mr. Kaplan took pains to point out that he did not mention Relfvaldo Amerson because “He is a poyet, an´I´m talkink about wriders.”
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