Yesterday I was talking with a colleague about the difference between my language, American English, and his language, Egyptian Arabic.
And the discussion came down to a simple fact of writing and language: humor is the highest sign of fluency in a culture.
The joke that is the title of this piece hinges on your understanding of the fact that English has many words from many languages and sometimes the spelling and pronunciation of the words don’t make much sense.
Humor and Writing
He followed up my witticism with one of his own: we have noses that run and feet that smell.
When you are going to communicate with people in writing, humor is a great way to make connections. But, you need to know who you are writing to in order to get that humor across.
Something one group of people will think is funny another group will not get at all.
In the modern global economy, you also have to realize that some humor is lost in translation.
But, everyone can enjoy the humor as long as you keep the following tips in mind:
- Don’t hurt people with your humor
- Don’t expect everyone to get it – After all, some come by slow freight.
- Be an equal opportunity joker
- Listen to your audience to improve your writing style
That’s it for now. And I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lost in translation jokes (Hint, the person who told me this was not a native English speaker, and I still don’t get it. But, my kids’ thought it was funny)
Why did the airplane crash?
Because the pilot was a loaf of bread.