The peculiarities of English humour.
Humour is an important part of human communication. Humour is a part of our mentality. We are already born with it! Every nation has its own sense of humour.
It depends on our customs and traditions, culture, religion, political situation.
English humour is the most well-known in the world. It has already become a national feature of the English character.
We are learning English at school and we do believe that knowledge of English humour can help to get deeper into the culture of the Englishmen, to learn the language better. Thus the urgency of this research work can be explained.
Some people have really got a good sense of humour, how many times a day can they laugh? – We suppose – many times! Good laughter helps to fight with stress, raise one’s mood.
And did you know that there’s even a science about laughter. It’s called gelotology and was founded by Norman Kasins. He was badly ill but managed to cure himself with the help of laughter! Just imagine!
And did you know that 5 min of laughter equals 40 min of break during the working day!
When you laugh 80 groups of muscles work. 1 min of laughter prolongs your life for 5 min! So having a good sense of humour is useful for your health!
So what is humour? humor is a funny, sharp, witty mentality, it is the ability to present the events, faults, in a comic form.
This interpretation is rather modern but did you know that many centuries ago, in antiquity “humor” meant “moisture” or “liquid” and was used to denote “the body fluids”, so-called “humors” which caused human behavior.
English humour is famous all over the world. The British can laugh at everything: sacred things, God, the government and even the members of the royal family!
The most distinguishing feature of a typical English joke is that Englishmen are unruffled in improbable accidents and surprised at small details.
"Waiter! Waiter! There's a fly in my soup!"
"Please don't speak so loudly, sir," said the waiter, "or everyone will want one."
By the way when we say “a joke” we mean Russian “анекдот”. And it shouldn’t be confused the English “anecdote” which means a short story.
British humour has its own varieties. There are “elephant jokes”- especially stupid jokes; “dry sense of humour” (the irony); “banana skin sense of humour” - primitive jokes when someone slips on a banana peel and everybody is laughing;
There are different ways of expressing humor in a joke. In our research we considered some of them, such as puns, absurdity, the effect of dashed expectation and grammatical oddities.
So the pun or play on words is of the most common methods. But the most difficult for comprehension. You should know the language well to understand it.
Will you tell me your name?
Why not? Or another one
Why was computer late for work?
Because he had a hard drive.
When you see them written it’s easier to understand.
Lots of jokes are based on absurdity, for example: “Daddy, daddy! Can I have other glass of water?” “What's wrong with you, son, that's your eleventh glass of water in a row?” “I know, my bedroom is on fire”
Yes! To extinguish the fire by glasses of water is a possible but rather senseless.
The effect of dashed expectation is based on unpredictability of the answer, answer that we couldn’t expect.
Don't bother me. I'm writing a letter to my boy-friend.
But why are you writing so slowly?
He can't read very fast.
We all know that the speed of reading does not depend on the speed of writing.
Woman: Poor child! What a swollen cheek you have! Is it a tooth?
Child: No, it is a sweet!
We suppose that woman expected just another answer.
Most of English riddles are based on the effect of unexpectedness. The answers are often very surprising but true!
What can run all day without getting hot?
Have no idea
At whom do all people stare with an open mouth?
Is it a dentist?
You are right!
We carried out a survey among the students of the 9th and 10th grades. We wanted to find out if our students understand English humor. 12 jokes were considered. The results you can see on the screen. The most difficult for understanding were jokes based on a pun and the effect of dashed expectation(riddles especially).
Students confessed that they had difficulties because of the lack of vocabulary, they just couldn’t translate this or that word which led to misunderstanding. Grammar and absurd jokes were understood by a large number of pupils.
At the second step we analyzed and translated the jokes with our classmates. And asked if the jokes were funny.The results can be seen in a diagram (appendix 3). Not all the pupils considered them to be funny. Several students even said that the jokes were stupid. Here the lack of vocabulary is not the reason for misunderstanding. We don’t find some jokes funny as we are the representatives of other culture, we different customs, traditions, jokes.
But we do believe that English humour is funny and amusing. Let’s get acquainted with it! Let us laugh and smile! Because humour is life!
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