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     Volume 4 Issue 43 | April 22, 2005 |

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What do you find amusing? What makes you laugh out loud? Do either of these jokes make you laugh?
In the box below are different types of humour. Do you know the difference? Which is your favourite? Which makes you laugh most?

i) Have a look at these definitions and put one of the words in the correct space.

a. A __________ is a piece of writing (or music or art) which copies the style of someone famous or a particular situation, making the original look ridiculous.
b. A __________ is usually a short, narrative story which aims to make people laugh.
c. __________ is a general word to indicate the ability to use words in a clever and humorous way.
d. ___________ is a kind of humour in which things seems ridiculous or meaningless.
e. _________ is a very general word to describe the things that make people laugh or amuse them.
f. __________ is a way of criticising people or ideas in a humorous way, or a piece of writing or play which uses this style.
g. __________is making a joke about something that is not usually considered to be funny or is a taboo subject. Humour about sad events (jokes about the death of Princess Diana, for example) would be examples of this.
h. ___________ is saying something which mean the opposite of what they say, and which is said in order to hurt someone's feelings or to criticise something in an amusing way.
i. The literary definition of ______ is "saying one thing and meaning another" for example, pretending to be serious about something while really making fun of it.

iii) Use the correct form of one of the words in the box to complete
these sentences.

a. The comedian was angry and bitter and showed his rage in a satirical monologue that was bitingly _________ and utterly scathing about the world today.
b. If you read his novels, you can see that this writer was actually very fond of his country, and described it in terms of a gentle __________, making fun of it, but in an affectionate way.
c. Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus has been interpreted as not being a comedy at all, but has instead been shown as full of a black ________, ironic and comic in its tragedy.
d. In this novel the crushing __________ is that the narrator is completely ignorant of what is really happening, it ends up being wickedly funny!
e. Full of classical allusions and literary quotations, this book isn't exactly a belly laugh, but has a learned _________ which may raise a smile.

iv) Which verb describes what you do in the situations that follow?

a. someone says something funny
b. something unpleasant happens to someone you don't like
c. you have just passed an important exam
d. someone shows you their new baby
e. you are fifteen years old and very silly and your friend says
something funny while the teacher is talking
f. someone takes a photo of you

v) Which of the words above would you use to complete
these expressions?
You will need to change the form of the words.

a. He had won. He was so happy he ______________ from ear to ear.
b. During the lesson, three girls at the back got the _______________ and had to leave.
c. I'm going to wipe that ____________ off your face. The next time you speak in class, you will go and see the headmaster.
d. Stop ______________ at me! I didn't mean to fall in the water. It's not fair.
e. Look at the camera, and give me a big _____________.

vi) Match the first line of the children's jokes
with the second line,

The jokes above are funny (for children!) because one word in each joke has two meanings. These words are homonyms - one word with two meanings. For example, fine = good, as in a fine day, or something you must pay, as in a parking fine,
or homophones - two words that look different and have different meanings, but sound the same. For example, male and mail.

Which words in B are homonyms and which are homophones? Can you think
of other examples of homonyms and homophones in English?

Can you explain this joke to a friend?


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