Humour in the UK

Published 26th October 2012
post thumbnail

I think one of the defining characteristics of being British is our unique sense of humour and use of sarcasm which is employed on a daily basis in just about anywhere – schools, office, hospitals, homes and more. It is something which, as a nation, we assume others will understand.

Yet, not everyone does. I have a friend from the Netherlands who I visited earlier this year and on one of the days we went for a bike ride out in the countryside. As we collected the bikes, I made some self-depreciating remark about how I had not been on a bike for years and would probably fall off. However, instead of laughing, my Dutch friend looked slightly concerned and asked whether I knew how to ride a bike. I reassured her that I did and that I had been joking but it made me wonder why I had used the joke in the first place.

I have since spoken to other friends who have had similar experiences in Europe (not with bikes admittedly) and have found it made them a little uneasy because you come to realise how heavily you rely on humour as a way of building rapport with people. One of my friends had a more positive experience abroad though when he was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He said that the guides who came up the mountain with them understood the British humour and sarcasm, which must have been a blessing, especially as he was enduring a lot of pain while walking up the mountain and used humour as a good distraction.

I have also spoken to people who have moved to the UK from abroad and they said one thing they picked up on and had to learn quite quickly was this use of humour. Now, it’s second nature to them but in the beginning I can imagine it is a very strange concept.

Despite people not always grasping our attempts at humour, when you become aware of it, you start to realise what a big role it plays in everyday conversation.

For more information of the different languages we work with, visit our languages page.



disney-institute-lingua-translations 178 × 75
amazon-lingua-translations 120 × 28
procter-gamble - Lingua Translations 114 × 92
london-partners-lingua-translations 154 × 101
Swansea City | Lingua Translations 154 x 146
Man City | Lingua Translations 154 × 154
FC_Barcelona_(crest) 154 × 156
Star_Wars_Logo.svg_-1 1280 × 773
FiFA | lingua Translations 154 × 86
The-Score 232x120
M & S 271 × 186
Walmart-Lingua Translations 232 × 65
Welsh Government & Lingua Translations 400 × 400
Costco & Lingua Translations 232 × 155

 

TUI-Group Testimonial 205 × 46 EN

Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

“Lingua Translations provides instant multi-lingual options for TUI’s 24/7 Holidayline, so 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year TUI’s customers are connected to an interpreter instantaneously. This service is designed to help holidaymakers who find themselves in difficulty and require non-English language assistance.

The service offered by Lingua Translations provides us with instant translation for every destination we travel to, and has proved invaluable.”

Roland Garros 2018- Useful Vocab!

The French open 2018 Roland Garros is almost here!     On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could …

Read More

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Russia

FIFA World Cup 2018 The domestic football season has ended we now know our national champions for the year. Next up are the finals of the Champions League and some domestic tournaments. This can only mean 1 thing now – the internationals are approaching! The FIFA world cup is 1 month away! Every 4 years …

Read More
Get a quote today