Deaf Humor and Sign Language Humor (Sign Language Humor (Changing Internal…
Deaf Humor and Sign Language Humor
What is Humor for?
It's for laughter and fun and it creates a bond of sorts between the person telling the joke, and the audience.
International Deaf Humor
Jokes spread quickly throughout Deaf communities and are adapted in different regions and changed to fit their customs and be funny for them.
What Makes Deaf People Laugh?
Deaf and hearing people often find the same jokes funny because jokes are easily translated.
Often told through visual experiences
Some deaf jokes based in cultural experiences may not translate well to other cultures or to hearing people.
Humor creates a space to talk about otherwise taboo subjects.
Many of these jokes have hearing people as the butt of them which can be controversial.
Sign Language Humor
Changing Internal Sign Structure: changing an aspect of a sign such as the handshape, can be a joke within itself. Ex:UNDERSTAND using an "I" hand instead of a "1" hand.
Metalinguistic Play: this blurs the lines and makes the signer aware of the hands as hands.
Caricature: witty use of classifiers to contribute to the joke.
Speed and Size of Signing: funny signs usually have a larger mannerisms used with them. Occasionally signed slower than normal to allow the humor to register.
Anthropomorphism: adding this to a joke will help the humor come across more because it is a skill widely appreciated.
Allows you to play with two languages at once.
Often uses fingerspelling, specially in sign languages with two handed alphabets.
Funny in sign language,
but not in spoken language
If the joke is lost in translation, it loses its funny aspect.
Ex: a giant crushing the person he likes by saying "I want to marry you" when she is standing in his hand. The joke won't translate unless the audience knows the sign for MARRY