Have you ever wondered what jokes are like in another country? Culturally speaking, humor is recognized around the world as a way to bridge differences. But, have you ever wondered about German jokes?
If you have German ancestry, this has probably crossed your mind more than once.
Contrary to popular belief, Germans do have a sense of humor. Their humor may very well have gotten lost in translation, however, as German jokes tend to differ a bit from American humor.
German jokes have a different format than English jokes. While they do make fun of some people, it's usually not as harsh as an American roasting of someone.
Puns, jokes about national stereotypes, mistakes in logic, and the absurd tend to be more Germany's style. There are jokes about people from different regions of Germany as well as from other countries.
Germany's Rich History in the World of Funny
Historically speaking, Germans have always had a good sense of humor. The problem is that unless you understand German, oftentimes it gets lost in translation.
And we all know that once you have to explain a joke or a pun, the funny part has been lost.
The German word for "joke" is "witz." It is derived from the term "wizzi," which is the Old High German term "to know."
German and English come from the same parent language, so it shouldn't surprise you to see a commonality between "witz" and "wit."
And as we all know, there are quite a few jokes out there that require some wit to tell them correctly.
Great German Jokes from the Past
As previously mentioned, many jokes in German don't translate well. We found the following jokes funny after translating them.
These jokes are closer to what we Americans consider "Dad jokes." Literally translated, it means "Anti-Joke" or not a joke. They tend to be absurd and in general very silly.
Two muffins are next to each other baking in the oven. Suddenly, one of them says, "Is it hot in here or is it just me?" to which the other muffin replies, "Oh my god — it’s a talking muffin!"
If you didn't know, Germany is split up into regions, much like states. Bavaria, which is in the southern part of Germany has always brought in a lot of money through their agriculture and tourist trades.
At 16 I went to Bavaria on a student exchange trip. The people there, far from having no sense of humor, always seemed to be joking about something.
Bavaria has its own dialect, something that is between Hochdeutsch and Swiss German. Other parts of Germany do not speak it and consider it a sort of dumbed-down language.
This dialect causes Bavarians to speak with an accent when speaking regular German and they are immediately noticeable to other Germans from different regions. Because of these things, Bavarians are often the butt of jokes in Germany.
What is the difference between a Turk and a Bavarian?
The Turkish person can speak better German.
These jokes have a format similar to knock-knock jokes, but they are much darker.
The basic structure is:
All the children are [doing some activity] except [child’s name] who… [a word that must rhyme with the child’s name].
For example, All the children are playing with knives except for Ted who is now dead.
Yeah...not sure I found the funny in that one either.
General Silly Jokes with No Category
This German joke didn't actually fall into a category:
Can a kangaroo jump higher than a house?
Yes! Because a house can’t jump.
Bauernregeln translates to "farmer's rules" or "weather lore." These German jokes tend to poke fun at things that usually end up in a farmers' almanac. There is a twist: these jokes have a rhyming couplet and the entire point is to put in as much adult content as possible.
Nimmt der Ochse ein Kondom, lacht der Kuhstall voller Hohn!
If the ox were to use a condom, the whole barn would laugh at him.
Wenn es nachts im Bette kracht, der Bauer seine Erben macht.
When the bed creaks in the night, the farmer is making his inheritance.
German Puns to Brighten Your Day
The German words for pun are "Flachwitz", "Plattwitz," or "Kalauer." Literally, a play on words. It is believed that "kalauer" comes from the city of Calau, Germany.
The city had a satire magazine called "Kladderadatsch" that was published from 1848 to 1944. The phrase "news from Kalau" was used weekly for readers to catch up on the things they missed.
This pun is in general silly and is one of the few that are translatable.
What is brown, sticky and walks through the desert? A caramel.
Play on German and English
This pun plays on both the German and English words used for chocolate and jogging.
What's brown and runs with sneakers?
Saunas and Switzerland
This pun references the world-renowned saunas and spas in Switzerland while also poking some fun at the Swiss language.
What language do you speak in a sauna?
Help Your German Friends Appreciate Their Humorous Heritage
Now that we've established Germans do, in fact, have a sense of humor do you appreciate that German heritage more?
Do you have friends from Germany that you think would appreciate this article?
German jokes and puns are pretty hilarious once you understand the context.
So, are you going to learn German to delve deeper into your heritage and the culture and find some unique German jokes? Or are you going to surprise your German friends with a German joke or pun? Let us know in the comments below!
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