Language of Humor

Topics: Comedy, English language, Second language Pages: 2 (529 words) Published: November 5, 2013


The Language of Humour in the English-Speaking World

Course Overview

Understanding humour is perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of developing competence and confidence in a foreign language. In social contexts, appreciating and responding to the humour of others (and perhaps being humorous yourself) can be an important and satisfying part of foreign language development. Most of us can claim to have 'a sense of humour' and what we may find funny varies according to personal taste. The same is true across cultures: what is humorous in one culture may not appear to be in another. Aspects of language and culture strongly influence the type of humour enjoyed by native speakers and on this course we will explore (and also enjoy) some of the different traditions and genres of humour in English-speaking countries. What exactly is it that makes people laugh? And why? What is it about the English language that can be humorous? What is a 'knock-knock' joke? How important is social class and humour? What is the difference between satire and parody? What issues are considered taboo and how are they challenged by humour? How is American and British humour different?

These are some of the questions we will explore on this course. While on the one hand, this course is intended to extend your interest, appreciation and enjoyment of humour in English, on the other hand it is also intended to give you the opportunity to improve your knowledge of how we speak about humour in English. You will (re)consider aspects of vocabulary, grammatical structure and phonology. While increasing your understanding of humour and some of the comedy genres in English you will have chance to gain a deeper understanding of culture and society in English-speaking countries. You will be given the chance to develop your receptive skills, through watching and listening to authentic examples of comedy from TV and film, reading written examples of humour in texts, and the opportunity...
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