Make ‘Em Laugh

It’s official, I can make jokes in Arabic! Or at least I made ONE joke in Arabic. But its the same thing right? Even if it’s not, it is a start! And I’m reasonably sure that they were laughing at what I said and not at my accent. Although you can never be totally sure…

I’ve always thought that being able to understand and produce humor is a sign that you are competent in the language. Although I am nowhere near fluent, it was exciting when I realized that I was able to understand enough of what was going on in order to formulate a witty response fast enough for it to still be relevant to the conversation.

In English, humor is a huge part of how I express myself and it can be hard to be unable to recreate that aspect of my personality. Especially when interacting with my host relatives or other Omanis, I feel like I can’t always be myself when I can’t tell the jokes I’m used to telling. Or even worse when I do tell them and it goes right over everyones head. The awkward silences that follow are some of the most uncomfortable moments I’ve had here. And being unable to communicate humor makes it even more evident how far away I am from the culture that I am most familiar with.

People might say that having people laugh at you while you are trying to speak a foreign language isn’t a good thing and that’s true, for the most part. But it is empowering to know that I can actively cause that laughter and relate to people in a way that is so much a part of who I am. And maybe by the time I leave I’ll have even picked up some Omani jokes!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Silverman
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:25:50

    YEAH!! I knew it would happen soon. Let us know when Arabic starts showing up in your dreams. Love, love, love….


  2. Alon Vogel
    Dec 16, 2013 @ 14:31:42

    Mazel Tov Miriam on your first successful Arabic joke . . . a great accomplishment and it only took three months. I knew you could do it. Personally I was more impressed / surprised that you ate from a lamb you watched being slaughtered. Love your blog.


  3. Poppa
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 20:40:47

    You’re good! All I get even in English is “oh, no! A “poppa joke”


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