Learning Languages With Jokes

I recently told a friend of mine a joke about statisticians. I had read that joke in “Un matemático lee el periódico”, a Spanish translation of “A mathematician reads the newspaper”, months before. Today, while I was writing my diary, I asked myself “Why did I remember that joke?” Almost at the speed of light, it occurred to me jokes can be great for language learning, for the following reasons:

  1. They are funny, of course!

  2. Most of us, upon reading/listening to a joke, immediately want to tell it to another friend. So there is a social compulsion to memorize a joke, and thus all its words and general meaning.

  3. That social compulsion surpasses any language barrier. The joke about statisticians I told my friend had been translated into Spanish by the book’s translator, and I translated it into Italian on the fly, when needed. Might not jokes force us to use bilateral or trilateral connections (good workout!) in our brain to recount them?

  4. Jokes are generally short but not too much, easily remembered, sometimes use idiomatic expressions that can be easily explained, and surely have other great advantages, that I don’t feel like enumerating here :slight_smile:

What do you think?

PS: At any rate, the joke about statisticians was the following:

Three statisticians go hunting. One of them sees a partridge flying, shoots at it, but misses it by two meters above. The second statistician misses it by two meters below. The third statistician exclaims: ‘We got it!’

I guess the third one didn’t fire 'cos he was in the busy in the bushes with Ruby Rompicazzo…!?


Erm, but let me be serious…

I think jokes are okay up to a point, but they are just a few lines. In my opinion one really needs to read whole books in a target langauge in order to make really big progress.

Not at all. I’m certain that Berlusconi and Putin also have “no life of their own”.

Viva bunga-bunga! ;-D

JayB “In my opinion one really needs to read whole books in a target language…”

I agree, after all, I read that joke in a book (along with one on how a physician looks for a girlfriend…). But I’m also a huge fan Joker’s “Why so serious?”. Sometimes a good joke is necessary to keep your morale up.

adalbertolito: “Sometimes a good joke is necessary to keep your morale up.”

I couldn’t agree more. I’m all in favour of using humour to lighten the tone. Yet I have to point out that, when I make jokes at this forum about Berlusconi’s antics, you come right back and tell me that I haven’t got a life - which may not be the most jovial thigh-slapping reaction to a chestnut! :-0

(BTW I genuinely have a certain admiration for Silvio. Most continental politicians are just grey and completely boring a**holes - but he really makes me laugh!)