Life around the world

Wednesday, 2 April, 2014 - 04:54

Humour around the world

by DrewH

Funny. Hilarious. Amusing. Good-humoured. Hysterical. Comical. Knee slapper. Side-splitting. Witty.

The English language has so many ways to talk about something that is funny. These are just some of the examples. Humour, or the desire to laugh, is a basic human need. Physical humour, especially, can cross boundaries like nationality and language and bring people together from all different walks of life. Everyone needs to laugh once in a while and there is nothing better than laughing so hard that you feel like your sides are going to split!

Humour comes in many forms. The most obvious and traditional way we use humour is in jokes. There probably isn't a native English speaker alive who doesn't know the answer to this joke question: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Other forms of humour are word play and puns. This is when a person changes a word or uses it in a different context for comic effect. Physical comedy usually divides opinion. For some, seeing someone fall down, whether it was planned or not, is one of the funniest things they can see. For others, finding physical humour and non-serious accidents funny seems cruel. Some types of humour can also be offensive if someone is not in the mood for being made fun of! Another way people can use humour is through telling a funny story. Perhaps something bad happened to the person but they can laugh about it now. People also invent funny stories in order to make people laugh. The advantage of this is that if the characters aren't real, you don't have to feel bad for laughing at them!

Most people know how to use some form of humour in their native languages. The British, for instance, are famous for their sarcasm. This is when a person says a word or phrase in a certain tone that implies that they actually mean the opposite of what they are saying. For example, you could reply with a sarcastic "No!" to the statement: "The sky is blue." However, people learning a foreign language face a particular difficulty when it comes to being funny in a second language. People's senses of humour vary across the world, so what may be funny in your country might be incredibly offensive in another!

Language level

Are you a funny person? How do you use humour? What's the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? 

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