EFL learners’ Understanding of Linguistic Ambiguity in Language-based Jokes
This study aims to examine the comprehension of linguistic ambiguity in language based jokes by investigating the responses of a group of EFL learners to twelve English jokes. 70 Turkish university students were asked to read and evaluate whether they have understood the jokes in a questionnaire and then to write the punch lines if they answered yes. They were also asked to judge the funniness of the each joke. Twelve texts, classified as lexical jokes, syntactic jokes and phonological jokes, were given. The results indicated that Turkish EFL learners achieved an average level of performance in understanding linguistic ambiguity in jokes. The results also revealed that the type of joke affected students’ comprehension of ambiguity in jokes. Learners performed better in understanding the jokes composing of lexical ambiguity than in the jokes composing of phonological and syntactic ambiguity. Lexical jokes were also found to be perceived as the funniest. The implications of the findings for language teaching are also discussed.
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