Intercultural Communication Through Humor

I delve into this research project hoping to acquire more information about humor and language. What makes some things funny and others not? How much of humor is based on culture or intellectual development? What I found was that no one really knows these answers yet. What there has been research on is humor and communication. To narrow my focus further, I chose to examine research papers relating specifically to intercultural communication through humor. I picked two studies to analyze which cover opposite ends of the intercultural humor spectrum. One suggests the best ways to use humor with a non-native speaker and the other discuses ways that intercultural humor can be seen as racist and disrespectful.
Bell (2007) reports her findings on communicating humor amongst native speakers (NS) and English as a second language speakers (L2). The results of Bell’s research shows that although humor seems to be a potential mine field of confusion between NS and L2 speakers, there tends to be an effort from both parties to ensure that purposeful humor is “constructed and interpreted in suc…



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