Father’s Day was this weekend. The day when Dad can put his feet up, blast music from his stereo and crack as many head-in-your-hands types of jokes as possible… and not have anyone complain about it. Sounding familiar?
In our family, we’ve succumbed to withstanding the same joke uttered on repeat from my Dad. His favourite being: ‘I used to be a werewolf… but I’m alright *nOOoOwwww* – screeched in some sort of demented howl.
Having the ability to understand humour across different cultures can add an element of fun to learning and improving English or a foreign language, and subtle similarities can bind us all. For example, I’m gunna guesstimate that our Dad wailing at his own wisecracks while the rest of us roll our eyes at each other at the dinner table is far too close to home. But let’s admit it. Sometimes we just can’t hold back a smile and to see Father’s Day in with a grin, we’ve listed our ‘Top 5 Dad puns across different cultures’ for you to enjoy and we invite you to share yours!
1. French Language
Histoire de pomme de terre
“C’est l’histoire de deux pommes de terre. Une d’elles se fait écraser et l’autre s’écrie “Oh purée!”
One potato two potato three potato four. This is the story of two potatoes. One is smushed to oblivion by a car – (not your average death by whisk I know) – to which the other one responds “Oh purée!”
While this wordplay (jeu do mots) doesn’t do much for English speakers, when told in French, the joke hinges on wordplay. The French exclamation ‘Oh purée’ is used to portray shock, and ‘purée’ also means ‘mashed up’ food. So when one a root vegetable’s life is quashed and squashed by a car, his starchily startled mate says: “oh my goodness/mashed potato!”
2. German Language
What’s ‘LOL’ material in Germany? ‘Witze’ is the word for jokes, and ‘wortspiele’ is the name given to wordplay. Steering towards Carl Benz who brought about the car brand Mercedes, here’s a quick example:
“Egal wie viele CDs du hast, Carl Benz hat Mercedes. (No matter how many CDs you have, Carl Benz has more CDs/Carl Benz has Mercedes.)”
To understand the various forms of humour which will support your German language learning in more detail, why not visit this Fluentu article?
Want more preposterous puns? Tap into this tabloid article from the Bild – it’s a well-known newspaper in Germany and could help you get to grips with cultural differences.
3. English Language
Agriculture and farm land combined uses around 69% of the country’s land area in total, so you can see why this Dad joke about cows is kinda fitting!
Prepare to be aMOOOOsed…
“I’m going to tell you a joke about cows. Bet you have herd it!”
Light-hearted wordplay is present once again in the English language here, as ‘herd’ refers to a group of cows, and ‘heard’ also means to perceive a noise with the ear. If you’re learning English, I can only imagine homophones like these leaving you a smidgen stumped. It’s not a phonetic language, which means words sound nothing like how they are spelled. How accommodating! More like annoying... Dabble in Duolingo for a homophone word list. Orrrrrr have a gander and giggle at these Dad jokes in American English over on BuzzFeed.
4. Japanese Language
(or JaPunese) fathers are also famous for their foolish one-liners. ‘Dajare’ is the name given to common and comical Japanese wordplay, and the innocent nature of it is something the nation have a frivolous fondness for:
“Hakucho ga kushami, hakuchon” which means ‘When a swan sneezes, it goes…achoo!”
This type of punchline is often favoured on first dates in Japan to break the ice. So all you single people out there – (I sound like I’m quoting that Natasha Bedingfield song) – set this one aside for a summer stroll around your local lake. It could work for ducks too…
Let’s round up…
There is often much debate about whether or not there is such thing as a ‘national sense of humour’, but there is one thing that certainly cannot go amiss; universal Dad jokes are something we all seem to have to learn to live with, and these puns are living proof that we share comedic values. Rather than just reading out a textbook, meet people and experience these laughs for yourself whilst enhancing your speaking and writing skills in the languages that you learn. Find out ways to meet native speakers here.
Why not share the best and wurst jokes you’ve ever endured by commenting on this article? Or even some traditions, gifts and events on Father’s Day within your culture?