Understanding Humor In Spanish

Humor Is a Serious Thing

Understanding humor in Spanish or any language can be a big challenge for a student.  You can understand vocabulary, grammar structures, and still not get a joke. Why? Simply put context and culture.  Understanding humor in Spanish is really difficult and there are lots of things stacked against you to keep you from understanding a simple joke or even something as simple as a meme.  If you’re not familiar with current events going on in a country or community where people speak the language, you won’t get it.  If you’re not familiar with multiple meanings and uses of a word, you won’t get it.  And if you just don’t know anything about the culture of the people who speak the language, you just won’t get it.

Are you funny in Spanish?

Just like how we talked about understanding humor in Spanish the same goes for trying to be funny in Spanish.  Not knowing all the in and outs of the culture, current events, or multiple word meanings could have unintended consequences.  Instead of coming up as funny, you could end up insulting someone or sounding like an idiot (with perfect grammar and pronunciation, though).

What is the key to humor in Spanish?

It seems to me that understanding culture is an important aspect of learning a language, yet it’s not something I see a lot of people worried about learning.  Spanish and language for that matter are more than verbs, nouns, grammar, etc…  Spanish and all other languages are a way to communicate but beyond that they allow us to express ideas and culture.  Where do you learn about culture? Watch talk shows from that country, find out what’s going on in the world of entertainment, follow opinionated people on social media who are from that country, read news from that country, learn some history. You won’t only learn about other people’s perspectives but also have some interesting things to talk about.

People, get this: Learning a language goes wayyyyy beyond learning vocabulary and grammar structures. It takes a lot of interest and attention from you to notice subtle things about people’s culture to understand humor and to make a comment that the other person perceives as funny.

Take Spanish memes (in this case), for example. Simple. Short, yet not that easy to get even for intermediate-advanced students. In today’s video I’ll go through some memes I found and try to explain to you why they are funny to us, Spanish speakers.


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Want more Spanish Listening Activities?

If you like this type of video you can find more Spanish Listening Activities here.  Too difficult for you then check out some of our other videos with Cody and Maria here.

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