Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Joke’s on me, says German in new book

Bangor-based German woman Dr Carmen Bower has recently published a book of jokes in her homeland which capture the wit of Ulster people.

Having read somewhere that “Northern Irish people are the masters of jokes”, Carmen set out to humour German people while helping them develop their English language skills.

She said: “I was about to publish a book on Yorkshire Terriers and someone said ‘why don't you write a book on Ireland’? I was asked by people from Germany to publish jokes to practice English.

“The book was originally intended for German people but Northern Irish people are enjoying the jokes too.”

She continues: “Writing the book threw up a lot of issues such as the different spellings used in Northern Ireland and the title had to be changed several times.”

Having lived in Bangor for almost five years, Carmen adds: “I have had the best time in my life while writing the book. The book contains brain-teasers as well as colloquialisms. I was unaware |I was using colloquialisms until someone pointed it out to me.”

Carmen said that she wanted the finished product to be easy on the eye and maintained that not too many jokes appeared on the one page.

Carmen has received immense support from Northern Irish people: “One neighbour said to me, ‘I didn't realise Germans had a sense of humour'. People have been laughing so cordially at the jokes, it has been a great experience,” she added.

Carmen remarked that she feels like she has always lived here: “Northern Irish people can laugh about themselves but Germans are too serious. I have learned a lot from Irish people and feel like I have always lived here, I really enjoy my life over here.”

She adds that she did experience some bother in deciding which jokes were acceptable to include: “Some of the jokes I changed as I did not want them to be too rude. However, I am particularly fond of the ‘little willy jokes’ on page 72,” she chuckled.

Speaking about them, Carmen continued: “One of my friends friends sparked the idea in my head, I had him in mind while creating the joke.”

Carmen commented on her plans for the future stating that she already has her next book in mind: “The next book I will be writing is also for German |people to develop their English language, but it will be about life in Northern Ireland.”

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