Sense of Humour in Foreign Language Classroom

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Sense of humour is an productive tool for foreign language teaching and foreign language lessons. Humour is an inextricable aspect of human discourse, language teachers may often make use of the  sense of humour to facilitate dual beneficiary, both socially and psychologically. Humour is an awesome medium at all the stages of proficiency and for the presentation of a language. There is an old saying that says, “Humour is the weapon of unarmed people”. Teachers are the real soldiers have to won the war using their weapons (teaching techniques). Humour should have been called as the ‘pedagogical tool’ also as double sharpen sword, can harm or serve in the classroom atmosphere. Foreign language classrooms are life classrooms, where pupil tastes the essence of life ‘humour’, since humour is the nutrition of learning. One foreign language teacher can teach literature in an interesting way, the other teaches grammatical rules, some others may be well versed in linguistics but every foreign language teacher can teach well with the aim of ‘humour’. This article aims at demonstrating the integrality of humour in teaching foreign language. Minority of attention was given to the impacts of humour by language researchers; humour should begin with the spheres of education and other related disciplines and perspectives.

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Foreign language students sometimes get demotivated by the difficulties involved in learning a foriegn language. Since mastery requires the improvement of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, they must gain a constantly growing body of linguistic and semantic information. Thus a language teacher needs to know how to engage his students. Humour is an effective tool, as it develops and motivates creativity in the intended language while helping to develop an optimal learning environment.

Importance of humour in foreign language learning

Teachers with great sense of humour is appreciated by every student. Glancing at the better side of life paths not only develops amicable relations between educators and learners, but also provides awesome relief while attmpting to follow a challenging lecture on a complicated subject. Where people welcome changes , there would be great possibility for progress in any sphere .Teaching is a challenge. Learning is a challenge. Having both aspects effectively is a challenge. Being humorous all time for everyone is a challenge. But, laughing is easy. We are convinced both by experience and research that employing humour in teaching is a very productive instrument for both the teacher and student. Humour reinforces the relationship between student and educator, eliminates stress. Furthermore, makes a course more amazing and if required to the subject, may even enhance recall of the material. Humour has the ability to give a relaxation to people, reduce anxiety, and develops an atmosphere conducive for learning and communication. Several of researches in the sphere of advertising have said that humour is the most productive tool for enhancing recall of advertisements.

Teachers can make a humour in the classroom by reading jokes and listening to well-made comics. The students should be inspired to take notes, especially to learn about the professionals’ use of such skills as speaking with emotions, making pauses, and manage timing. Watch reality and exaggerate it - much humour lies in observations about original life and trustworthy situations.

When it comes to usage of humour in foreign language learning, it adds a cultural frame to language by presenting a tone, expression and context to the material, thus increasing cultural knowledge. Humour facilitates the acquisition of new words and helps distinguish figurative from literal meaning. Similarly, it helps to develop abstract memory and improves the capacity to solve linguistic problems. The devices that we can use to add humour to a language class range from idiomatic expressions, riddles or proverbs, to pronunciation games, comics, the use of realia, jokes or typical grammatical errors and mistakes.

This picture helps teachers to explain importance of commas.

In addition, student and teacher participants indicated a relatively strong perception of ascended language and cultural learning resulting from employment of intended linguistic humour in the target language. These results of perceived language gain and cultural transmission through the use of TL humour (in the form of jokes, puns, funny anecdotes, etc.). The implications for such a gain in linguistic and cultural acquisition through humour usage are significant to pedagogical planners and offer a componential norm for transmission of TL linguistic and cultural patterns in a novel and engaging format. Nonetheless, hard empirical data in support of such pedagogical humour is poignantly lacking. Indeed, while major studies of the impacts of general productive humour abound in pedagogical and psychological research, no large-scale quantitative research has been carried out to address such targeted linguistic humour—that is, linguistic humour used in the TL with the intention of illustrating specific TL features. Indeed, future research is particularly needed to examine language learning acquisition and retention among learners presented with such targeted linguistic humour. Moreover, this line of inquiry must look beyond perceived effect and incorporate rigorous and controlled study of actual language guide and acquisition within the classroom. Precisely, therefore, many additional experimental inquiry into this sphere is needed to elucidate the impact and productivity of such humour within pedagogical contexts

Humour is a device that develops linguistic awareness in the classroom. Understanding and creating humour in a foreign language means that a language learner is consolidating knowledge and making relatively good progress. The different activities illustrated here are just some of the methods to be explored to show students that learning a foreign language is actually amazing. Humour transforms the ambience of the class when students enjoy sharing their playful strategies with other students. When everyone gets benefits, the acquisition of a foreign language becomes “easy,” and learners become encouraged and creative.


1. Brown, H. D. (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

2. Deneire, M. (1995). Humor and Foreign Language Teaching. Humor, 8, 285- 298.f.

3. Gorham, J., & Christophel, D. M. (1990). The relationship of teachers’ use of humor in the classroom to immediacy and student learning. Communication Education, 39, 46-62. 

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