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Humour as part of the British national culture
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Written by: Yana Yegorova Supervisor: O.D.Polikarpova Humour as part of the British national culture
Humour and its influence on the lives of people Plato “Joking means trying to give yourself a sense of superiority by making fun of other people, and only people of lesser worth do this. “ Sigmund Freud “Laughter is a safely discharging nervous energy. It provides relief and self-gratification and makes potentially damaging conflicts harmless.”
Laughter is the best medicine Nowadays laughter is considered to be the best medicine. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring our mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Without laughter life on our planet would be intolerable. (Steve Allen)
Humour as part of national culture Humour differs depending on : geographical location culture maturity level of education intelligence the history of the nation social values traditions and ideology
British Humour Of all the characteristics, good and bad, for which the British are known in the outside world, their sense of humour is one of the best-known and most positively regarded. Laughter is the closest distance between two people. (Victor Borge)
word-play & verbal nonsense subversion of the rules of logic conflict between two ideas displacement gentle melancholy the surreal the whimsical Traditional British Humour
- Do you have any grandchildren? - No, all my children are just ordinary. Word-play and verbal nonsense The Goon Show a British radio comedy programme, originally produced and broadcast by BBC from 1951 to 1960. - Why did the bus stop? Because it saw the zebra crossing. Many elements of the show satirised contemporary life in Britain, parodying aspects of show business, commerce, industry, art, politics, diplomacy, the police, the military, education, class structure, literature and film.
Linguistic humour Tourist: Can you tell me the way to Bath please? Policeman: Well, first you turn on the hot and cold taps then ... Round the Horne a British radio comedy programme, which influenced the British taste for linguistic humour
Subversion of the rules of logic Monty Python a British surreal comedy group - Why did the bees go on strike? - Because they wanted more honey and shorter working flowers. Henry: The cat wants to go out. Min: How can you tell? Henry: He’s put his hat on.
Subversion of the rules of logic In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass the author creates a parallel universe governed by rules which appear ridiculous to the reader, but are entirely logical within their own dimension. A joke's a very serious thing. (Charles Churchill)
Conflict between two ideas & Displacement - What is at the back of a bee? It`s bee-hind. - Doctor, I keep thinking that there are two of me. OK, but don`t both speak at once. - My dog has no nose. - Then how does it smell? - Terrible!
Gentle melancholy & Sympathy for the character Charles Dickens Mr Micawber Nonsense seems to be especially appealing to the English when it is allied to a gentle melancholy.
Gentle melancholy & Sympathy for the character “Bridget Jones`s Diary” by Helen Fielding is a chronicle of the life of Bridget Jones as a single woman in London as she tries to make sense of life and love.
The surreal Roald Dahl a British novelist, short story writer, fighter pilot and screenwriter, “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century”
Irony E. M. Delafield a prolific English author, best-known for her autobiographical Diary of a Provincial Lady. Jane Austen an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature.
W. S. Gilbert an English dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator best known for his fourteen comic operas . Parody
Paradox Oscar Wilde an Irish writer and poet, one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a comedy in which the major themes are the triviality with which society treats marriage.
The main feature of British humour It is extremely important that the British are sure that no other nation is allowed to laugh at them except themselves. This probably comes from the British pride, self-respect and a high self-esteem.
Their sense of humour has been one of their most enduring characteristics, precisely because they have found it so adaptive and helpful in hard times. British Humour Humour is one of the British national peculiarities. Humour is like a drug to many of the British; they can’t get enough of it, and they are endlessly inventive in creating more of it.
1. Denis Delaney, Ciaran Ward, Carla Rho Fiorina, “Fields of vision”, Pearson Education Limited, 2009 2. Peter Legon, Martyn Ford, “How to be British”, Lee Gone Publications, 2010 3. David McDowall, “Britain in close-up”, Pearson Education Limited, 2006 4. Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners, Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2007 5. Thejokes.co.uk 6. www.learnenglish.de 7. Wikipedia.org 8. www.guardian.co.uk 9. Alan Stanton, Susan Morris, “Fast Track to CAE”, Pearson Education Limited, 1999 10. David McDowall, “An illustrated history of Britain”, Longman Group UK limited, 2009 Bibliography