English humor, how is it?
Harry, what do you think about English humor? Everything is very clear and simple, isn’t it? – Yes, that’s it, Will.
True Englishmen would have started a conversation about our current topic exactly in this way. English humor – many of us have come across this more than once, fought, stumbled over it and fell down. However, today we will tell you how to stay right on your feet and, of corse, with a straight face. And remember about sarcasm (oh, yes). Well, let’s go.
As a part of the culture
Why does it seem that humor with a touch of oatmeal and tea and cat hair mixed in here is strange? We can recall several reasons:
1. The funeral, serious injuries and illnesses, shipwrecks – events that are far from humor by definition, may turn out to be jokes.
2. The paradox of English humor introduces you to a complete stupor. This stunned state is comparable to the fact as if a bucket of cold water was tipped over you without warning. By the way, it is the clash of opposites that gives rise to this very bucket.
3. The absurdity. Nonsense, grotesque, almost insanity – these are the features that you can easily find in English classical literature, in English fairy tales and folklore, in movies and TV shows. Hi Alice, how did you chat with a cat on a tree?
4. Seriousness. Even one muscle will not flinch on the face of your English interlocutor, while he will describe you all the delights of going on a picnic in rainy weather.
5. Vulgarity, but veiled. It never comes to the surface, as is often the case with American humor. Euphemisms are our best friends.
However, few people think about why most British do just like that, and not otherwise. Everything is quite simple – it is part of their culture, moreover, the foundation of their national character. And most importantly, they have no desire to offend you with their oddities. Oh no…
Their goal is to make friends with you (and at the same time remain perfectly polite, of course). This happens according to a certain pattern. Let’s take a look.
What to look for?
Following the rules of the game, your interlocutor continues joking. Then he pauses, and here you should definitely react correctly. If you played along a bit, remaining calm – you play on equal terms, and you have made a new good acquaintance.
To develop the ability to use irony, sarcasm or absurdity, observe the pros in these areas. Be attentive to the intonation, the pause already mentioned, and, of course, the English culture, because without the context of a joke you will be helpless. A play on words, often remained
without translation into other languages, can also become a problem point on the way to mastering this skill.
As you probably know, this is a separate, rather caustic kind of humor, exposing the flaws of the interlocutor. We hasten to remind you – not to offend you, and then to laugh together. For example, in a situation where you affect the pride of another person in a way that is not pleasant for him, why can’t you say:
– Oh, have I touched that tiny ego of yours?
Oops, that was sarcasm.
For you to practice
Try to watch the TV shows below at your leisure time and, probably, you will soon be the best of all connoisseurs of English humorists. Thank you, see you soon!
• The thick of it – a British satirical series about the work of the government and officials. The series was shot in the popular pseudo-documentary genre in England – the mockumentary (mockumentary; from English to mock “to mock” and documentary “documentary”).
• The Office (Office) – another series of the genre of mokeymentari, made in the style of reporting from a typical English office.
• Jeeves and Wooster (Jeeves and Worcester) – a comedy television series based on the books of the famous Pelam Grenville Wodehouse, with a classic storyline for English literature that tells the story of the adventures of a young rich hangman and his faithful companion.