5 Reasons comedies are not good for learning a language

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Comedies can be really attractive when learning English or Spanish or another language; however, I have 5 reasons why you should be cautious and perhaps, they aren’t as great as a teaching tool as you might think.

Humor is different for everyone: American vs British

Humor is very different between languages and cultures. Even within English, American and British humor is completely different. A big example of this would be “The Office,” a tv show that mocks reality TV shows.

British comedy is more dry and dark while American comedy is more sarcastic and slapstick.

Plus, there are different expressions and word choice that can confuse English learners.

However, if you are up for a challenge, definitely compare a few comedies/comedians!

They Communicate Differently

Comedies in general communicate differently than a regular TV show/movie. Not to mention comedians are very different than scripted (or not) actors.

Play on Words

  • Big Bang Theory
  • Friends

If you are still learning English, comedies can use a lot of play on words. It is hard to learn vocab when they are using it in a completely different way than what your teacher would use or in a completely different context.

It is definitely a fun exercise for more advanced learners! For beginner and intermediate, don’t get discouraged! It will come with practice!

Improvisation and Talking with the Crowd

If you are keen on watching stand-ups, be careful of improv comedians who talk to the audience. This can be unpredictable. Language learners often try to guess what is going to happen to help our brains catch the words/conversation. With improv comedians, you don’t know what will happen next. It can be hard to follow along.

Extra Cultural Stories

  • Jo Koy

My last reason why comedies and comedians might not be the best tool for learning a language (English) is that they can bring in other cultural norms. For example, if you are coming from Italy and want to learn more about the American culture and decide to watch an American comedian like Jo Koy, you will find that he often talks about the Filipino culture because his mother is from there.

It can be confusing because now you have to learn about a different culture. (By the way, Filipino culture is amazing, but I am a bit bias).

Have more questions?

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