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Peculiarities of National Humor

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Psychology Center

Peculiarities of National Humor

Humor is one of the manifestations of human intellect and a protective function of psyche. Humor helps to salve inner and outer conflicts, overcome nervousness in emotionally complicated situations and defend one’s self-certification.

Although sense of humor is an individual characteristic of a person, its peculiarities are nationally dependent and inherent in mentality of any culture. Besides some popular standing jokes, for each nation there are some subjects prohibited for irony. For example, in some countries it is accepted to laugh at the matters of death and illness, while in the others there is a taboo to joke on racial, national and religious questions. One of the most ambiquous subjects is an issue of sex.

When there are two people from different countries communicating, the problem of mentality can affect the way they regard each other’s jokes. Anything that seems cheerful and harmless for one person can be misunderstood by the other or even hurt his or her feelings. Thus, humor that was initially intened to salve conflicts becomes the source for their emersion.

One Russian girl picked up with a man from Germany. From the very beginning there was a serious problem of language barrier between them, as the girl did not speak any foreign language and the man did not know Russian. But this problem was successfully solved, since the man’s ex-wife undertook the role of translator and interpreter for their communication. I have no idea whether she has taken this role because of their old friendship or the desire to get rid of her ex-husband. That calls for another talk. The main thing about it is that the two people got the opportunity to exchange letters and as well talk over the phone.

Their relationship seemed to progress in the best way possible and the man invited the girl to visit him in Germany. Four weeks before the fourthcoming meeting he demanded that she promised him not to have sex with any other men until they met. I do not want to hold debate whether demands like that were appropriate for the people who had not seen each other before. Every person might have his or her own views on the situation. The girl did not want to discuss it either. That was the reason that she answered the request jokingly and coquettishly “Maybe”. After this joke, which seemed so harmless to the girl, the romantic story became a thriller.

The man remained in shock for the whole day. He rushed through the house shouting that the girl was worse than a prostitute. Then he asked his ex-wife to call the girl and began to blame her in all deadly sins. However, put it mildly, all his insults went misunderstood. She rejected his charges. As a result, the man joined a forum the main thought of which was the statement that “all Russian girls are prostitutes” and outpoured his resentment there. That’s how the romantic love story ended.

What lessons can be derived from this story? The man should have taken the girl’s words easier, as Russian humor has no forbidden themes. The girl should have been more careful with her jokes with a foreigner, as the differences in respect of humor can be not only individual or intellectual but also national.

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