Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Humour around the world

by : 

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? 


MALINE's picture
MALINE 21 August, 2014 - 16:55

talking about jokes...
How do you get an elephant into a fridge?
Just by opening the door and closing it.
And how do you get a giraffe into a fridge?
First,you have to take out the elephant and then get the giraffe in.

0 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
MALINE 21 August, 2014 - 16:52

I think that here in México the most common humour is the one called "black humour",this is when you laugh at difficult situations or people´s problems.
Personally, I think that being able to laugh over your problems is releasing,after all problems come and go.
Another type of humuor (well kind of) is the "doble sentido",it is used to give words another meaning,this type of humuor can be rude sometimes.

0 users have voted.
alicj's picture
alicj 20 August, 2014 - 12:42

yes i think i am funny person because all around me my family,friends and classmate say that i always tell them funny joke but recently i did not put in funniest situation i have a question what the meaning of Knee slapper i search of it meaning on google translate and dont find any thing

0 users have voted.
Tina - Coordinator's picture
Tina - Coordinator 21 August, 2014 - 07:41

Hi alicj
Some people slap their knees when they laugh at a very funny joke. A 'knee slapper' is a very funny joke. 
Hope this helps, Tina (LearnEnglish Teen Team)

0 users have voted.
Harabeli Supersweet's picture
Harabeli Supersweet 18 August, 2014 - 17:02

The others say that I have a great sense of humour and my parents and best friends laugh at my jokes. I use humour to make the others feel better. It's not that I try to be cool or funny, but things that come naturally sound better. I have a friend that laughs so much when I say any joke. I can see tears in her eyes. She says that my humour is one of the things that she appreciates the most about me.

0 users have voted.
Bosnianchild's picture
Bosnianchild 17 May, 2014 - 16:56

Are you a funny person? How do you use humour? What's the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Hm, this is very difficult question, but I think that I am. When I say something everyone is laughing. My friends know me like very happy and positive person. Usually I tell some funny stories about my family or I'm singing. I don't remember, my life for me is simply funny.

0 users have voted.
SherlockHolmes_13's picture
SherlockHolmes_13 1 May, 2014 - 11:06

I think I have got a sense of humour but my schoolmates don't think so. :)

0 users have voted.
cklj's picture
cklj 20 April, 2014 - 11:17

Yes, I think I'm a funny person. Usually I'm serious until something hilarious happens. People that don't know me may think that I don't laugh very often. But when they get to know me everyone laughs with me, because they say that my laugh makes them laugh too. Other people say that I laugh too loud, but I can't control that, so I don't care.
I use humour when I'm talking to my friends, usually when I speak I tell some funny phrase and I also use my facial expression to "tell" something which makes people smile.
I don't remember what was the funniest thing that happened to me recently but I remember that I was laughing a lot with my classmates and my teacher in the Thursday on my English course. :D

0 users have voted.
Andreea's picture
Andreea 12 April, 2014 - 20:02

Yes, I think I am a funny person. I like to be surrounted by happy and funny people. Also all mermers of my family use homour.Even I am sad , my father is the only that made me happy with his jokes.
In my opinion a day without humour is like a day without sun.
The funniest thing that has happended to me recentlywas when I took the wrong bus.And it was awful.I was is an unknown city visiting my cousins.At beginning I was very scared but then I called them.

0 users have voted.
Crystallized's picture
Crystallized 10 April, 2014 - 20:08

Well, It depends. Some jokes are funny to certain people, some are not.
When I do use humour, It's not that funny. I'm terrible at telling jokes. If I do tell a joke, I turn into that awkward, embarrassed kid and make some bad and overused excuses. However, when I'm sarcastic or ironic (You know that "I don't care" attitude), people tend to laugh (Even too much, for my taste).
The funniest thing that has happened to me? I can't remember that. It must've been ages. (Or just my goldfish memory span.)

0 users have voted.
Lorriee's picture
Lorriee 7 April, 2014 - 22:22

I have grown up in a joke-maker family. I live with my mother and brother and we absolutely have sense of humour. I wouldn't live without it. When I see someone's crying I have to make something funny to make that person happier. It procuses endorphin and it will help for she/he. :) In my opinion, if somebody wants to be humorous, needs to be intelligent too. I don't say that a stupid person cannot make a joke or cannot break the ice in an unpleasant moment, but needs to be improved and practised. :)

0 users have voted.