Can you learn a language laughing?

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The simple answer would be, yes – but not all of it. What you will learn laughing will most probably remain longer in your memory.

Humor and Learning

You should know that humor is important in learning a language. It enables the student to learn new vocabulary in context, it motivates you to want to learn more and it is more enjoyable than traditional lectures.

When a student understands a joke he/she begins to feel like he/she is in the world of the new language.

Puns are quite valuable because they stress the essence of the meaning.

I’ll give you few jokes and puns, as examples and hope that they will move other teachers to use this powerful resource.


Laughing? Well, not really. Puns usually make people groan!

They say that in order a pun to be good, it has to be really bad. As a matter of fact, they are also called “groaners”. To clarify – a pun is a little word game, or playing with the language. Most puns use a word that has two different meanings, or use two words that sound almost the same.

Here are some examples of puns:

Why is an empty purse always the same? Because there is never any change in it. In this pun, you notice that the word “change” has two meanings: 1. coins and small bills, 2. alteration.

Do you know why it’s easy for a hunter to find a leopard? Because a leopard is always spotted. Or the explanation -“to spot”, verb: to see, to identify. “spotted”, adjective: with spots.

What we hear could be either of two words that sound the same: “better”, adjective, “an improvement”, therefore “an improved place”, whereas “bettor”, as a noun, “gambler”, “someone who bets”, therefore entonces “a place for gamblers”.

Jokes make the learning more easy and relaxed.

Three Police Jokes

First Joke:
A police officer stops a woman for speeding and asks her very nicely if he could see her driving license. She replies in a huff: “I wish you guys would get your act together. Just yesterday you take away my license and then today you expect me to show it to you!”

Vocabulary and Expressions:
“in a huff”: annoyed
“get your act together”: get organized

Second Joke:
While driving along the back roads of a town, two truckers came to an overpass with a sign that read CLEARANCE 11’3″.
They got out and measured their rig, which was 12’5″.
-“What do you think?”, one asked the other.
-The driver looked around carefully, then shifted into first. “Not a cop in sight. Let’s take a chance!”

Vocabulary and Expressions:
“overpass”: viaduct
“rig”: truck. Any specialized tool or mechanical arrangement.
“clearance”: room to pass, or “clear”. “Clearance” is the noun of the verb “to clear” which means (among other meanings) de: “go through without touching”
11′ 3″ is the abbreviation of 11 feet 3 inches;
12′ 5″ is the abbreviation of 12 feet 5 inches.

Third Joke:
Recently, a distraught wife went to the local police station, along with her next-door neighbor, to report that her husband was missing. The policeman asked for a description of the missing man.
The wife said, “He is 35 years old, 6 foot 1, has dark eyes, dark hair, an athletic build, weighs 183 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children.”
The next-door neighbor protested, “Your husband is 52 years old, 5 foot 6, chubby, weighs 274 pounds, is bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children.”
The wife replied, “Yes, but who wants HIM back?”

Vocabulary and Expressions:
Hubby: popular form of “husband”, spouse
distraught: stressed, very worried.
chubby: slightly fat
mean: strict, severe, even a little cruel (in this joke)
bald:  without hair
next-door neighbor: the person who lives in the house to one side of yours

How to keep on Learning by Laughing?

You can enter “esl puns” or “esl joke” in Google to find many sites that share our belief that puns and jokes are good ways to help learners of languages and particularly English.

You can find more help for Learners of English at: Accent book
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