I have a habit. As I wave farewell to a person who’s going to do something specifically difficult I say “Have Fun!”
It is said with a tinge of humor laced with sarcasm but I have noticed that in one particular city in my country people tend to take it literally. They respond, “What fun? Do you think I am going to have fun?”
Of course I know you’re not going to have fun, hence the sarcasm (I don’t say this, but I should). People take themselves too seriously conversely humor is embedded in culture!
That’s the only conclusion I could come to. When cultures are serious and do not allow for easy communication to flow amongst people, there’s a lot of hierarchy in relationships, then there’s no place for humor.
Another issue I find is language. If a certain language is not your first language and you constantly have to translate from English to your native language and back to English what gets literally lost in translation is humor and nuances like sarcasm which actually when applied appropriately could make for a very meaningful conversation. Which reminds me of a roommate I had in Canada.
She was learning ESL And there was this one time when we were having a conversation and I said “Go ahead!”
Which to me or any other person who speaks the English language means please proceed with what you have thought of doing. Well ! To her, “Go Ahead!” meant something else!
She thought that I was abusing her! And took offence and lectured me in broken English that this kind of language was unacceptable to her!
It was only after a couple of weeks, she found out what “Go Ahead!” means and then there was a knock on my door and an apologetic roommate.
She had figured out that “Go Ahead!” was not an abuse!
Probably there wasn’t such a phrase in Japanese? For regular viewers of ‘Game Of Thrones’. I was watching the making of part of the series and apparently in Dothraki which is what the Dothraki race in ‘Game of Thrones’ speak theres no word for throne.
This is ironic as the show is titled ‘Game of Thrones’. There’s also no word for thank you.
As this is not part of their culture. Though Dothraki is a fictional language, do you see the connect between culture and language?
There’s also the whole bit about a lot being lost in translation. For those of you who have seen the movie you know exactly what I mean.
Here’s to better, more meaningful conversations!!