German sense of humour

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I was out for dinner with some work colleagues last week and we were telling some jokes and having a bit of banter, I noticed that when I cracked a joke (back at my manager) in my usual way, nobody at the table got it except for my managers boss who remarked to me only, that "Yes, you definitely have a different sense of humour". Now the joke was one that anyone else would have gotten if they were anyway clued in to what irony is or subtle humour. Is it then true that Germans or perhaps Bavarians don't possess this type of humour? It wasn't sarcasm... and I wasn't cheeky with my retort.

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Yes, they have a sense for irony. It has not been Mendeled away over generations. It just sometimes doesn't come over well, depending on the chemistry of the group. I have noticed this with other nationalties as well.

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You need to be very careful when using irony with non-native English speakers, with this being just some of the definitions available...

 

sarcasm: witty language used to convey insults or scorn; "he used sarcasm to upset his opponent"; "irony is wasted on the stupid"; "Satire is a ...

incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs; "the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated"

a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs

wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

 

Irony is a literary or rhetorical device, in which there is an incongruity or discordance between what a speaker or a writer says; and what he or she means, or is generally understood.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

 

A statement that, when taken in context, may actually mean the opposite of what is written literally; the use of words expressing something other than their literal intention; The quality or state of an event being both coincidental and contradictory in a humorous or poignant and extremely ...

en.wiktionary.org/wiki/irony

 

"A. . . perception of inconsistency, [usually but not always humorous], in which an apparently straightforward statement or event is undermined by its context so as to give it a very different significance. . . [V]erbal irony. ...

writing2.richmond.edu/jessid/eng216/216terms.html

 

The recognition of the difference between reality and appearance; includes situational irony in which there is a contrast between what is intended or expected and what actually occurs; verbal irony in which there is a contrast between what is said and what is actually meant; and dramatic irony ...

www.northwestern.k12.oh.us/curriculum/documents/glossary.doc

 

a contrast between what is stated and what is meant or between what is expected to happen and what actually occurs.

www.rockwood.k12.mo.us/RVALLEY/burla/vocabulary%20pages/vocabimagery.htm

 

Contrast between what is said or meant and what is expected. Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something the character does not.

www.strsd.southwick.ma.us/Schools/HighSchool/staff/jgrunwald/litterms.htm

 

Form of expression in which the true meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning.

www.geocities.com/Axiom43/literary.html

 

The contrast between expectation and reality. This incongruity has the effect of surprising

www.mu-regional.k12.ma.us/englishdept/AppendixFGlossaryofTerms.doc

 

strictly a sub-set of allegory: irony not only says one thing and means another, but says one thing and means its opposite. The word is used often of consciously inappropriate or understated utterances (so two walkers in the pouring rain greet each other with 'lovely day!', 'yes, isn't it'). ...

www.geocities.com/razifs_storage1/glossary.html

 

the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meeting

ww2.aps.edu/users/apsedumain/CurriculumInstruction/glossary.htm

 

A mode of expression, through words (verbal irony) or events (irony of situation), conveying a reality different from and usually opposite to appearance or expectation. ...

www.ritlist.is/english/study_keyterms.htm

 

The mythos (sense 2) of the literature concerned primarily with a "realistic" level of experience, usually taking the form of a parody or contrasting analogue to romance. Such irony may be tragic or comic in its main emphasis; when comic it is normally identical with the usual meaning of satire.

www.sil.org/~radneyr/humanities/litcrit/gloss.htm

 

a situation where something is said but the reader can see a different meaning.

www.oed.com/learning/ks4/notes.html

 

hiding what is actually reality in order to obtain a desired oratorical or artistic effect; a favorite technique for London's social commentary.

london.sonoma.edu/Essays/glossary.html

 

a statement or plot which has an implicit meaning intended by the speaker which differs from that which the speaker ostensibly asserts

www.indiana.edu/~bestsell/glossary.html

 

is a result different from the expected.

www.homepages.dsu.edu/jankej/writing/glossary.htm

 

originally a deceptive form of understatement (from the Greek eiron, a stock comic character who typically equivocated, misled his listeners, or concealed complex meanings behind seemingly simple words); hence an attribute of statements in which the meaning is different--or more complicated ...

www.depaul.edu/~dsimpson/awtech/lexicon.html

 

Shakespeare used two types of irony:verbal and dramatic. Verbal irony is saying one things but meaning another. In Julius Caesar, when Mark Antony refers in his funeral oration to Brutus as "an honorable man" repeatedly, he really means the opposite. ...

www.shakespeare-w.com/english/shakespeare/terms.html

 

a manner of speaking that implies a discrepancy

academics.hamilton.edu/english/ckodat/150Wlitterm.html

 

the difference between how you might expect something to be and how it actually is, for example when the slaves in The Two Generals like the brother who believes in slavery more than the one who would set them free

www.longman.co.uk/tt_seceng/resources/glosauth.htm

 

A misleading use of a visual image to present one thing to the viewer, but actually representing the opposite.

www.brigantine.atlnet.org/GigapaletteGALLERY/websites/ARTiculationFinal/MainPages/E-IVocabulary.htm

 

Dryly humorous or lightly sarcastic mode of speech, in which words are used to convey a meaning contrary to their literal sense. ...

mistupid.com/literature/litterms.htm

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Suggested reading: ;)

 

Vee Have Vays of Making You Laugh - article from Spiegel Online

 

How is German Humor Typically German? - from the official German Missions in the US web site

 

 

Strangely enough, 2008 is also the unofficial year of German humor and you can't help feeling that this is more than a happy coincidence. Both the potato and German humor are buried under the soil. Both have to be excavated, scrubbed carefully and cooked before being made fit for consumption.
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No, it's just a fuckmonkey...

yeah, yeah, OW OW, stop it, that hurts!!!

 

Keep on talking. I always yawn when I'm interested.

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Every culture has a sense of humor. Even the Aborigines can trade barbs and laugh with the best of us. I think what you may be referring to is the tempo of the humor, i.e., the wit, the beat and response to the wit. That's definitely acquired or learned depending on your past, education and experiences. The Germans have a 'different' way of seeing humor and responding to it. Westerners may interpret them as 'goofy'. I'd be curious what the Germans think of western humor?

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Westerners

 

 

western humor

West of what? You mean US humor? Otherwise you would be excluding Germany from Western Europe and that would be "goofy". :mellow:

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I see, you are from Texas. You must be referring to Cowboy Humor. :D

 

An Englishman had visited Texas and was telling his friends about

his trip. One fellow asked, "What most impressed you about Texans".

He replied, "Their confidence. A Texan took me duck hunting and we

sat in a blind all day and never saw a thing. Then about sundown

a lone duck flew overhead, so high you could hardly see it. When

it was directly overhead the Texan raised his shotgun and fired.

The duck kept right on flying".

 

Then the Texan turned to me in amazement and said, "Son, yore

witnessing a miracle. Thar flies a dead duck".

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Germans definitely have a sense of humour and irony. Maybe it's just Bavarians, since they're not really German anyway.

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Maybe it was deemed inappropriate to give such a response to your boss - which could have been perceived as being a smart alec.. of course I have no idea what the joke was but it could have to do with that rather than how funny it was/Germans having no sense of humour. The big boss perhaps tried to smooth over your uncomfortale faux-pas by saying what he did.

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