No one can deny that everybody likes to smile. It makes our life more pleasant and longer, adds zest to it. One could say that humor changes mere existence into real and exciting life. Can you imagine at least one day without laughter, even through short one? Neither can I. Some funny story or a joke, ready-witted phrase, delicate irony – some of these will cause your smile in any case and maybe even laugh.
Regardless of the widespread opinion, humor is not only a pleasant addition to our everyday life. It also has a great plenty of use variants. In skilful “hands” humor may be a powerful tool of self-expression and influence on people. One can offend and humble somebody by some rude joke or peppery words. A bad mood can be quickly improved by means of a good joke. In general, humor is a very different in its usage.
But what is humor in itself? What is the reason of our laughter? And is it really so simple as it can seem? Indeed, there are more than one way of humor expression and making comic effect.
To begin with, let us give a definition of the term “humor”. Humor is any art, any kind of activity which is directed to causing laughter and favorable emotions of the surrounding people. In a wider conception it is all life situations, occurrences, as well as any thoughts, ideas, fancies which are able to cause these emotions.
The main instrument of humor is a joke. A suitably invented joke can, for example, take away ones dejection and fear. However, if a joke is addressed to somebody, it also can be anact of aggression, as someone can see a malevolent affront. That is why laughter can be both evil and kind. The same can be mentioned about a joker.
The main and the most widespread humor kinds are a funny story and an anecdote. They are the easiest to understand, sometimes they are very funny, and not too difficult to memorize. But telling of anecdotes can not be called the higher degree of humor art possession.
There is the next stage of humor mastery. One’s language skills are increased incredibly when one starts to use something interesting and unusual. He plays upon words, he uses puns. So it makes him more conversable, more interesting and outstanding person.
But if humor is deeply intertwined with the culture of the country which language you study – it is a great advantage. The better your education is and the more you are experienced in the culture and history of this country the higher your level of humor understanding is and, consequently, in greater extent you possess a foreign language.
It is difficult to surmount the language barrier more than usual when we deal with foreign humor. The English humor seems something strange, unfunny and hard to understand to foreigners, especially to the Russian. Nevertheless, the English manner of joking is the long existing parlance which is absolutely natural for Englishmen.
Humor frequently is not universal and it is difficult to transfer it from culture to culture. The one reason is that details of the particular culture affect humor deeply. The other reason consists in difficulty of correct translation of comic phrases. Sometimes impossible to translate the pun with preservation of meaning and play on words:
To be, or not to be, – that is the fate…
Too beer, or not too beer – question of the time…
Two bee, or not two bee – don’t drink so much!
The distinguishingfeature of English anecdote is the imperturbability in the improbable situation and astonishment at little and usual details against a background of general absurdity.
There is also a great plenty of historical jokes and aphorisms. They are difficult for understanding by people who are ill-informed in the local history and culture.
All things concluded it is almost impossible to learn language using only a grammar book. Of course if you want to perceive the language in every detail. Read books, preferably in the original; watch good films, learn the history and, best of all, combine all of them with traveling!