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Poll: Can you make jokes in your second language?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:13
SITE STAFF
Jan 19, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Can you make jokes in your second language?".

This poll was originally submitted by Julian Holmes. View the poll results »



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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:13
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
You tampered with my poll! Jan 19, 2014

It was originally:

Can you make jokes in your second language?

Yes, people love them
Yes, to a certain extent
Yes, but they don't go across well
No, they fall flat
Other N/A

This is no joke!

Added the following:

The notification to me states, "!Note that your Quick Poll may have been edited. Slight or substantial modifications are sometimes made by site staff members for purposes of simplification, clarification, or to prevent overlap with other Quick Polls that have or will be run."

Ahem. You botched it and butchered it.



[Edited at 2014-01-19 08:20 GMT]


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Member
German to English
+ ...
Telling jokes Jan 19, 2014

I'm not that good at telling jokes in my first language! But I can make (what I hope are) amusing comments in either!

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dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:13
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Yes, but they don't (always) go across well Jan 19, 2014

Maybe it's just my particular sense of humor but I seem to notice that what amuses one culture may be simply offensive or too far outside of the contextual norm to generate an automatic response. And, of course, when you have to explain something....

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:13
Russian to English
+ ...
People that speak many languages Jan 19, 2014

fluently like translators, I assume, don't have a second language.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:13
Russian to English
+ ...
Can you tell jokes Jan 19, 2014

dasein_wm wrote:

Maybe it's just my particular sense of humor but I seem to notice that what amuses one culture may be simply offensive or too far outside of the contextual norm to generate an automatic response. And, of course, when you have to explain something....


in Italian or German? I thought the poll was about what you do, not what people do.
That some don't understand jokes in told by a person from a different culture is not a sign that there is anything wrong with the teller's language, but rather that the audience cannot appreciate different cultures. A large percentage of the society does not get jokes in any language.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jan 19, 2014

My husband used to love my jokes in Portuguese. I even impressed him by making some good puns.

But that was a while ago. My spoken fluency has declined over the years.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, I can Jan 19, 2014

but, like Mary, I'm not very good at it, not even in my first language...

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Hebrew to English
Erm.... Jan 19, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

fluently like translators, I assume, don't have a second language.


Of course they do. We all have an L1, many of us went on to learn an L2. Not every translator is a "true" bilingual, nor do they need to be. (I would actually guestimate that the majority of translators aren't true bilinguals, but learnt a second language in childhood/early adulthood).

Sorry - off topic.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Hebrew to English
On topic Jan 19, 2014

I'm sure I can be funny in my second language (L2 - for the avoidance of doubt), whether intentionally or not. When it comes to jokes, that's a bit more tricky....

I always shy away from making jokes in Hebrew because humour is a bit of a minefield, not only (and not so much) in a foreign language but more so in a foreign culture. e.g. I've told jokes in English that have SERIOUSLY fallen flat with an American/Canadian audience.

So I would answer that linguistically/technically, I can make jokes in my second language (and also appreciate jokes which can be just as difficult), but I tend to tread carefully before I attempt cracking one.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jan 19, 2014

But not everybody gets them. A lot of humour, I'm thinking of jokes in particular, relies on shared cultural knowledge and assumptions, which can be an obstacle.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:13
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Absolutely. Jan 19, 2014

Since my "second" language has become my "second first" language some four decades ago, people in both cultural environments laugh at my jokes...provided they're funny.

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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:13
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Yes but Jan 19, 2014

not in all my second languages: only in Russian and only to a certain extent. And probably only in the family or close friends circle.
I'm not very good at it in my mother tongue anyway!


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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 14:13
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
collection Jan 19, 2014

I have a nice collection of jokes in different languages very useful when you discuss with the client a quote. Laughing is always good

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Laura Pascual  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:13
Member (2012)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, I can Jan 19, 2014

My favourite jokes are the ones only understandable by people with a similar language combination. For example, a joke in Finnish which only other Finnish-speaking Spaniards or Spanish-speaking Finns can get. They sound quite pretentious though, but actually they use to be really bad jokes. I love bad jokes.

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