Where do the French rate as competitors in humour? Well in all due respect, nowhere near their rating on the subject of la cuisine or in fact on the topic of La France. However, no one said we had to go into British or American humour, so let’s get away with that, in true French style.
Humour is universal and is an integral part of human behaviour. It is used in all forms of business and personal communication. The essential factor differentiating the humour of different nationalities, is a cultural one. This points us to the benefit of being part of a French class or having French lessons, where one would become acquainted with certain aspects of French culture.
Just to break away from all this serious talk about humour, here is a taste of the kind of French joke (blague) you may come across:
Un homme entre dans une papeterie: (A man goes into a stationery shop)
– J’aimerais offrir un beau stylo à ma femme: c’est son anniversaire! (I’d like to give my wife a lovely pen: it’s her birthday)
– Oh, c’est bien, dit la vendeuse, vous voulez lui faire une petite surprise? (That’s nice, said the salesman, do you want to give her a little surprise?)
– Oh que oui, ce sera même une très grosse surprise: elle s’attend à avoir une BMW… (Oh yeah, it will indeed be a huge surprise: she’s expecting a BMW.)
Do you recognise this quality of humour? One needs to go to French lessons and learn French in order to understand the humour, since it is all based on the meanings of words, phrases and expressions. Much of the humour is lost in translation. Having a great sense of humour (un grand sens de l’humour) reduces stress and helps people cope with difficult situations. It can ease situations of human interaction and make people feel part of a group, or on the contrary, like an outsider, should they do not get it. Jokes and humour encompass all ages, from the very youngest to the most advanced in society.
To end this blog I would like to share two of many jokes, which use the French or some part of France as the target:
Do you know about the Frenchman who jumped into the river in Paris? He was declared in Seine. (careful …… careful)
Why do the French eat snails? Because they don’t like fast food. (le fast-food)
Personally I think, Il faut rire un peu dans la vie ! (we must have some laughs in life / we must laugh a little in life) Et vous?