I have defined some of the words (underlined) in the blog post, which you can add to your Personal Dictionary. Click on the Excel icon to download the word list to your PC or mobile device, which you can thereafter import into your Personal Dictionary. They are also listed below.
Scroll down to the bottom for links to a crossword and word search using words from this post.
Reportedly – According to what has been reported or said, typically in the media
Compensate – To make up for a loss or disadvantage by giving something else of equivalent value
Exported – Sent or taken goods or products to another country to be sold
Absurdity – Something that is extremely unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate
Macabre – Having or relating to a sinister or gruesome quality or atmosphere
Gallows humour – Humour that is dark or bleak, especially in the face of death or difficult circumstances
Self-deprecation – The act of making fun of oneself or speaking critically about oneself
Satire – The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticise people’s vices, follies, and pretensions
Sarcasm – A form of irony in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is stated, often used to criticise or mock someone or something
Ironic – Something that is opposite of what is expected or intended
Impatient – Feeling or showing a strong desire for something to happen or for a situation to change
Wit – The ability to use language with humour and intelligence, especially in a clever and creative way
Pun – A form of word play that exploits multiple meanings of a term, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect
You could say that when you have live in a country, where reportedly the weather and food are so bad, you would need to have a good sense of humour to compensate, and I would say that the people in the UK do. I also think most foreign people would agree with us, because for many years, people from all over the world have laughed at our exported TV shows, for example; Monty Python, Benny Hill, Fawlty Towers, Mr Bean, Little Britain, The Office and our biggest export, Keeping up Appearances, which highlights, among other things, the absurdity of the UK class system, is an often used theme in our comedy shows.
Of course, Monty Python, probably the most popular show over the past 50 years, did that too, but also so much more. One could say their TV shows, which ran from 1969 to 1974, as well as the 6 films they made, included all aspects of comedy, that I will explain to you.
Let’s start with the macabre, because we are well known for our dark humour. We can use a funny example from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. In a scene where Arthur battles with the Black Knight, who even after having his limbs cut off, will not be defeated, and tells Arthur to ‘Come back here and take what’s coming to you. I’ll bite your legs off’! We sometimes laugh about death too. This is known as gallows humour.
One aspect of our humour that I know a lot of foreigners are confused by, is self-deprecation, in other words when we make jokes about ourselves. This type of humour can often make ourselves more likeable. For example, we can joke about our weight, by saying we are on a sea food diet. When we see food, we have to eat it! This would lose it’s meaning when translated!
Naturally, we like to smile and laugh at everyday situations. All the TV shows I mentioned at the beginning, especially Mr Bean, are loved by UK audiences, years after they were made. Political satire is very popular too. Who doesn’t like laughing about the people running our countries? I know my German clients found Donald and Boris very amusing.
Sarcasm and irony also go down well with us too. The ironic thing though is a lot of readers might have stopped reading by now. I could be sarcastic about impatient people, and say, ‘I’m sorry I used up 3 minutes of your precious life, trying to explain life in the UK to you’. But they say sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, so I won’t.
Talking of words: have you heard of puns? Here’s an example which has to stay in English: An American duck walks into a bar and says he wants a beer. The bartender says, £5 please, and the duck says he doesn’t carry cash, just put it on my bill. For this joke to be funny, you must know that bill has two meanings. The first is, the thing at the front of the duck’s face and the second, the American word for a tab. If you like these types of jokes, be sure to check out the English comedian, Tim Vine, who tells very funny one-liners.
Watching English comedies is a great way to learn authentic English and make sure you get your daily puns of laughs. On average, the people in The UK laugh out loud 11 times a day. So, I hope I’ve been able to make you laugh, chuckle, giggle, or at the very least, smile.
To test your knowledge, why not do a crossword puzzle, using words from this text?
Click here for instructions on how to play.
To test your knowledge, why not do a word search puzzle, using words from this text?
Click here for instructions on how to play.
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