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Learning English Humour

In this popular TED talk about the education system, Sir Ken Robinson uses a lot of humour

that can be confusing to students. Below I will list some of the different types of humour that Ken uses;

1) Deadpan/Dry humour - this type of humour is very popular in Britain and is the reason why some foreigners living in England say they don't understand English humour. This is because sometimes the British will say something funny but have a serious or expressionless face. Throughout the talk, you will notice the audience laughing but Ken has a serious look on his face.

2) Self-deprecation - this type of humour is very common and it's when you make fun of yourself. In this talk, you will notice Ken makes fun of University Professors. This is self-deprecation because Ken is also a University professor. 

3) Irony - Irony is when the intended meaning of something is opposite or nearly opposite to the literal meaning. For example, Ken says 'we moved from Stratford upon-Avon to Los Angeles and you can imagine what a seamless transition that was'. A seamless transition means an easy or smooth change without any problems. We know he is using irony because Stratford upon-Avon (a very English town) in the UK is completely different to Los Angeles.

4) Highbrow humour - this is a sort of cultured humour that usually only educated people can understand. It could be argued that his references to Shakespeare are a form of high brow humour although that's debatable as Shakespeare is very famous.

5) Anecdotal humour - funny personal stories that may be true or partly true. Ken tells a few of these throughout his talk, such as the story about his son's nativity play.