Humor in a second language!

01 Mar

Comedy shows and amusing friends are always great. Laughter can be an icebreaker and even medicinal to the sick, it is almost like a second language of conversation (apart from the body language of course).  As adults, we only laugh about 15 times a day. Given how many hours we spent watching television and working, the number is small.

On the other hand, a child exhibits laughing 300 times or more per day. Imagine a baby being tickled, it always follows their sounds of enjoyment and the joy a parent in the situation experiences. Over the course of years, humans have invested in ways to make sure they have something to laugh about. Jokes, memes, comedians, sitcoms, funny home videos and more get shared and viewed regularly.

Now imagine that you are in a foreign country and need to speak a second language. Can you be just as funny in the other language as you would be in your native tongue? I always have looked in awe at those people who have a great sense of humor or even with sarcasm they can make others laugh. It is imperative that among friends or groups in conversation, humor keeps things interesting. Story-telling and teasing or sharing experience can only go so far in a chat. I think funny people have more friends.

It could just be the figment of my imagination, but I was always little funny in my native tongue. Now when I am expressing thoughts in a second language (English) it all seems non-traditional. It comes as a surprise because I did all my schooling in the globally popular English language.

Recently I watched a documentary on BBC showing how the human brain has immense potential. A child was speaking and learning multiple languages and indeed, the brain always stayed in tune with the required skill to grasp and process all the data.This article also indicates how Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be kept away with some linguistic skills. The hippocampus region of the brain processes various language switches.

For all intensive purposes of this article, I would say humor and language don’t always get along. I might have to sit through some more comedy night shows and maybe read some ‘knock knock’ jokes to be agreeably funny. Also, more research will be needed to fully understand the human psyche and what triggers the funny bones.

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Posted by on March 1, 2017 in Writing


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