May 19, 2007

Handy jokes to have in your repertoire


  1. Are these a riot with particularly intoxicated native English speakers? Ha ha ha ha. I grinned a couple of times, sure. Fair enough.

    I wonder if it's the type of humor, rather than the translation, though. Sarcasm is hard to get across to some cultures. (Both the obvious silly type and the subtle zinging type, let alone their brethren.) I am watching with interest as the comments pour in on my Deep Thoughts post. It seems like translation is only one problem - the idea that a joke is funny because of how unfunny it really is doesn't seem to go very well. Neither does the idea that the subject of the joke is less important than the person telling the joke and the manner in which they tell it. It's really fascinating.

    By the way, I'm not gonna lie, I'd totally watch you do these jokes in a second and even third installation. :-)

  2. After watching those 'hand gesture' jokes, I have to say I got them, and even managed a grin at a couple of them. ;P

    However, I also tested them on my parents (one is Swedish, the other American) and neither of them got the umpire one - the rest my mother managed to grin at (she's the American) but they went completely over the head of my dad. I have to say I've never been exposed to hand jokes as such, but have faced much worse gesture jokes with various other body parts. These seem particularly popular in Australia among the drunker males. (Admittedly they would be impossible for women to do, but that's irrelevant.)

    So I couldn't say anything about cultural understanding... but I do have some advice: never mention the word 'elephant' in a crowded, drunken pub down under - you'll be in for a show that will be forever burned into your retinas.

  3. I remembered I know one (not the lewd one) but the sound of one hand clapping- too bad I can't show it on this post.

  4. Well, I think it has to do with the culture thing more than the language thing (though it might have to do with the fact that english can be more casual without exactly pointing it out in the speech)

    I'm chinese, and I've only lived in America for ...3 years? (I think) I got most of the jokes...but I seriously didn't get the umpire one. Sorry.

    Oh, I observed the one-hand clapping, too, I just have no memory of what it really was xD.


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