31 March, 2011

English Humour vs. American Humor – Is There a Difference?

English Humour vs. American Humor – Is There a Difference?

Humour is a phenomenon which is influenced by culture. It can be difficult to determine what aspects define a certain sense of humour. A nation’s wit is linked to the historical development of the country. How funny somebody finds a certain incident depends on many factors including age, personal experience, level of education and geographical location. Therefore humour is something which is not always transferrable in another country. What somebody from one area may find hilarious may not be amusing at all to somebody from another location. Whether or not someone gets a joke is determined by their interpretation, filtered by the cultural context.

What about when both countries speak the same mother tongue? Does that mean that they will then share the same sense of humour, or can differences still occur? Let’s take the example of Britain and America. Time and time again, people say that Brits and Americans don’t ‘get’ each other’s sense of humour. To what extent is this true, if at all?

It is often argued that one of the most common differences between the British and American sense of humour is that Americans don’t understand irony. Simon Pegg explores this topic in depth in his article What are you laughing at? He concludes that this statement isn’t true and I am inclined to agree with him.

One of the major differences seems to be how often both nations use irony. Brits use irony on a daily basis, whereas it is not the foundation of American humour. I think Americans understand British irony (most of the time anyway!), what they don’t understand is the need to use it so frequently. When Americans use irony they tend to state that they were “only kidding”. They feel the need to make a joke more obvious than Brits do, maybe this stems from a fear of offending people.

The American sense of humour is generally more slapstick than that in Britain. I think this arises from a cultural difference between the two. Their jokes are more obvious and forward, a bit like Americans themselves. British jokes, on the other hand, tend to be more subtle but with a dark or sarcastic undertone. There is usually a hidden meaning. This may stem from the fact that British culture is more reserved than American culture.
Certain American comedies have gained huge success in Britain and vice versa. Therefore, although there are differences between both comic styles, there is still an appreciation and understanding of the other sense of humour. Both the British and America versions of the comedy The Office are hugely successful on both sides of the Atlantic. Both shows have their own cultural differences, yet they portray a lifestyle which both Americans and Brits alike can relate to.

Although both nations have subtle differences in their wit, they can both appreciate the other’s sense of humour. For some great insight into differences between American and British English check out separated by a common language, which served as inspiration for this article.

http://www.lexiophiles.com/english/engl ... difference

26 March, 2011

English Speaking club - Tennessee Williams

 It is the day that would have been the 100th birthday of Tennessee Williams (who died in 1983), the legendary writer best known for his plays.

http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/tr ... liams.html
http://www.acorn-online.com/joomla15/ea ... thday.html
http://www.answers.com/topic/tennessee- ... e-williams
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle ... s_national
Tennessee Williams - a biography - http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc9.htm
Tennessee Williams Trivia - a trivia quiz on the American playwright. - http://www.usefultrivia.com/literary_tr ... index.html
A Streetcar Named Desire - a synopsis of the play - http://www.theatrehistory.com/american/ ... e_001.html

Familiarity with Tennessee Williams and discussion about theater.

During the introduction of the new- comers it was a pleasant surprise to learn that many club members are interested in theater.
The presentation (slide show, 22 slides) about the 100th anniversary of Tennessee Williams has drawn the club members’ attention to the creative work of this famous American playwright.
WOA Head S.Usenko promoted info about William’s plays in Dnipropetrovsk theaters. All interested may attend «Sweet Bird of Youth» in the Russian Drama Theater and  “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ” in the Ukrainian Music Drama Theater.
Then we discussed about theater in our life. Why is the theatre important?

Art pause. Watching movie

The number of the visitors – 29.
Look more pictures here 

23 March, 2011

«Wednesday Movie Club»

In the film Seven (1995), written by Andrew Kevin Walker, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, a mysterious serial killer punishes transgressors of each of the deadly sins through his crimes.

The number of the visitors 14.

22 March, 2011

Serjezha is the youngest visitor of Window on America Center

English teacher Alexandra Myrgorodska visited Center with her son Serjezha.
He is the youngest visitor of Window on America Center!!!

19 March, 2011

English Speaking club - «Women’s World of America»

Tatyana Volokita
The English Speaking Club member Tatyana Volokita made a presentation on the International Women’s day. (Look more http://www.america.gov/st/democracyhr-english/2011/March/20110301105035enaj1.208133e-02.html)
It was followed by Svitlana Usenko’s slide show «Women’s World of America» which introduced the famous women of the USA (Pocahontas, Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, Annie Oakley, Susie King Taylor, Isadora Duncan, Emma Goldman, Mary Pickford, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe, Angela Davis, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey etc.).
Svitlana Kolesnikova is thinking...
In small groups the club members discussed the quotations of famous men about women. Each group summed up  their discussion for  other club members.
Discussion about woman’s role in the society was rather enthusiastic – male and female club members shared their opinions.
1.     What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘women’?
2.     What are women best at?
3.     What is the most annoying thing about women?
4.     How would the world be different if all leaders were women?
5.     Who are the greatest women in your country’s history?
6.     What do women like and dislike about being women?
7.     Do you think women should be allowed to fight in wars?
8.     Why do women like fashion so much?
9.     What common characteristics do all women share?
10.  Are women cleverer than men?
11.  How will women be different 100 years from now?
12.  Joseph Conrad said: "Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men." What does this mean? Do you agree?
13.  Harriet Beecher Stowe said: "Women are the real architects of society." Do you agree?
14.  Are women equal to men?
15.  Who’s the greatest American woman you know?

The second half of the meeting was a farewell tea party of the English Speaking Club Speaker – Svitlana Kolesnikova. A lot of kind words were said to her by the club members.

The number of the visitors – 35.
Not all together. (19 + 16 behind the scenes)
Оnly who likes to be photographed!

15 March, 2011

Information Day for Ukrainian teachers of English

Svitlana Usenko, the head of Window on America center took part in the Information Day for Ukrainian teachers of English. She presented the resources of the Center and offered some variants for cooperation with the local schools.
The  teachers of English learnt about the Dnipropetrovsk library web-site, WOA center blog, pages on Facebook and Vkontakte.
It was interesting to get acquainted with a program Rosetta Stone which can be interesting for self-studying of their pupils.
It’s always pleasant for us to share our experience with our colleagues.
The teachers received advertising materials.
The number of the visitors – 27.

14 March, 2011

Fulbright Calendar_ Spring Semester 2011

March 21 - 25    Kharkiv – Makiyivka – Dnipropetrovsk

The Virtual Fulbright Ukraine
Check out the internet www.fulbright.org.ua and Fulbright Ukraine page on Facebook to find out information on the following events:

Workshops/Online webinars: This will give you information on essay-writing workshops and webinars for applicants to the Fulbright Programs

Fulbright-Ukraine outreach schedule: If you are in one of the cities in which we will be doing presentations on Fulbright, we invite you to join us in discussing with Ukrainian Fulbright Alumni and U.S. Fulbrighters in Ukraine what the Fulbright experience is, and what the benefits are for all involved

Fulbright Art Gallery: “From Spring to Spring” Paintings by Maryna Onyshchenko-Mandrykova,
March 4 –April 4, Kyiv

Fulbright Calendar_ Spring Semester 2011

Fulbright Application Workshops/Webinars in Spring Semester
Attend the Fulbright Application Workshops during the Spring Semester. These workshops help applicants prepare and refine their Fulbright applications and essays. While they are NOT mandatory they are HIGHLY recommended. ALL of last year’s successful candidates were in attendance at these workshops.

The workshops will take place at 16:30 in the Office of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine, vul. Hrushevskoho, 4, Suite 305, Kyiv. As space in the Office of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine is limited to 25 participants, you must call (044-279-1850; 044-279-2324) or email the office:  (secretary@fulbright.com.ua) and sign-up for a specific date no less than three (3) days prior to the workshop.
If you are not able to attend the Workshops in person you will be able to join them from your desktop via webinar. A webinar is a live presentation to an unlimited number of participants through the internet. Those wishing to join need only have access to the internet, a computer, and a headset with microphone. To participate in the online webinar, please call (044-279-1850; 044-279-2324) or email the office:
(secretary@fulbright.com.ua)  to request your participation on a specific date no less than 3 days before the date of the webinar
 You will then be sent an email with instructions and a code for joining the webinar on the selected date.

Fulbright Graduate Student/Science and Technology Ph.D. Program Fulbright Scholar Program_ Deadline: May 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15 Tuesday, April 26
Thursday, March 31 Tuesday, May 31
Tuesday, April 12 Thursday, June 16
Thursday, April 28

Fulbright Outreach Schedule_Spring Semester
The Fulbright Office staff, in various combinations, travels throughout Ukraine to make our programs available to all residents of Ukraine. Please take the opportunity to meet Fulbright Office staff when they are in your area. If you see that the Fulbright team is coming to your city, and you would like to attend the presentations of the Fulbright program, please contact us at office@fulbright.com.ua

March 9 - 11       Zaporizhzhia
March 14 – 17    Ivano-Frankivsk – Kosiv
March 22 – 25    Kharkiv
March 21 - 25    Kharkiv – Makiyivka – Dnipropetrovsk
April 4 - 7            Mykolayiv – Kherson
April 18 – 19       Berdiansk
April 27 - 29        Khmelnytskyi – Kamyanets-Podilskyi
May 10 - 12        Lutsk – Ostroh
May 24 - 25        Zhytomyr

12 March, 2011

English Speaking club - South of the USA

В дніпропетровському інформаційно-ресурсному центрі "Вікно в Америку" відбулася зустріч бажаючих покращити рівень англійської мови та дізнатися більше про Сполучені Штати Америки в English Speaking Club.
Тему зустрічі підказала виставка, що експонується в центрі, «Жіночий світ Америки».
В цей день нашими гостями були 3 американця носії мови – стипендіат програми Фулбрайт Бріджет Гудмен, волонтер Корпусу Миру Авітал Мат та американський пенсіонер Джозеф Баттілега.
Нові члени клубу активно ставили різноманітні запитання, що допомогли їм зрозуміти причини перебування цих громадян США в Україні, їх цілі та  враження від спілкування з англомовними українцями. Всі присутні погодилися, що роль жінки а американському суспільстві надзвичайно висока. Жінки освічені, впевнені в собі,  мають поважні цілі та можливості для їх реалізації.
Джозеф Баттілега підготував лексичний матеріал до надзвичайно цікавого та драматичного фільму «Seven». Всі разом розібрали сленгові вислови, почали дивитися фільм. За браком часу обговорення переглянутого перенесли на майбутнє.
Кількість учасників – 28 (викладачі англ. мови – 3, спеціалісти – 11, пенсіонери – 3, студенти – 10, бібліотекар – 1)