Learn English Laughing

We use language to communicate, but we can also use language to have fun.  One of the most important functions of language is telling jokes and making other people laugh.  Movies, the TV, the internet are all full of examples of this. English has a rich history of humor, and learning jokes is an excellent way for students to learn to speak colloquial English.  Here are some funny jokes that will make you laugh and also help you to learn to speak English more normally.

For example:

  • Teacher: «Paul. Give me a sentence beginning with ‘I’ «
  • Paul: «I is the…»
  • Teacher: «No, Paul . You must say ‘I am’ not ‘I is.’ «
  • John: «All right. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.»

Even though this joke cannot be translated directly into Spanish or Catalan, it is easily understood, and it teaches the student two things.  “I” (jo/yo) is pronounced and spelled the same as the letter “i.”  Also, the student will learn that the conjugation of a verb following I is different from the conjugation of a verb following “i.”

Here is a famous joke that can be translated.

  • Man: «Does your dog bite?»
  • Woman: «No.»
  • Man leans over to pet the dog.  It bites him.
  • Man:  «I thought you said that your dog doesn’t bite.»
  • Woman:  «It doesn’t.»
  • Man:  «What are you saying?  It just bit me.»
  • Woman: «That’s not my dog

 

  • Home: «El teu gos mossega?»
  • Dona: «No.»
  • L’home s’inclina per acariciar el gos. El mossega.
  • Home: «He pensat que has dit que el teu gos no mossega.»
  • Dona: «No ho fa.»
  • Home: «Què dius? Acaba de mossegar-me
  • Dona: «Aquest no és el meu gos

 

  • Hombre: «¿Tu perro muerde?»
  • Mujer: «No.»
  • El hombre se inclina para acariciar el perro. El muerde.
  • Hombre: «He pensado que has dicho que tu perro no muerde.»
  • Mujer: «No lo hace.»
  • Hombre: «¿Qué dices? Acaba de morderme.»
  • Mujer: «Este no es mi perro

In this case the student learns very important vocabulary.

  • To bite…mossegar/morder
  • To lean over…inclinar-se
  • To pet…acariciar
  • Have just…acabar de

Jokes often use plays on words (jocs de paraules/juegos de palabras). For example:

  • Boy: «Knock knock.»
  • Girl: «Who’s there?»
  • Boy: «Havana.»
  • Girl: «Havana who?»
  • Boy: «Havana a good time. Wish you were here!»

Here again the joke cannot be translate directly. It works on the concept of a very common English expression, “Have a good time.» (Passa-ho bé! Que lo pases bien).  The expression sounds similar to the name of the Cuban capital;  Have a … Havanah. In addition to “Have a good time” the student learns two other important English expressions.

  • Who’s there? / Qui és? / ¿Quién es?
  • Wish you were here / Tant de bo fossis aquí / Ojalá estuvieras aquí

There expressions are very common in English, and by memorizing them, the student is not only increasing his vocabulary, he or she is learning important points of grammar that are difficult to translate.

Written by Mike Dean Alger for Aston School

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