EFL Verbal Humor Appreciation

Document Type : Original Article


University of Isfahan



The use of verbal humor in an L2 class has often been a great challenge to the teachers and materials-developers, as it is felt to require great linguistic, social and cultural competence. This feeling has led the instructors to include as little verbal humor as possible in EFL classrooms and textbooks. The present research was an attempt to help FL practitioners make out manageable ways of implementing verbal humor appropriate in an EFL curriculum. It aimed to examine the appropriacy and effectiveness of verbal humor instances to be implemented in L2 classrooms. To this end 225 participants (56 male and 169 female) selected from undergraduate students of English Literature, English Translation and TEFL were given a questionnaire containing 40 short English humorous texts which randomly enjoyed a violation of Gricean Maxims. The results of this study demonstrate that there is a relationship between the humorous language and proficiency (r=.21, n=225, p < .01). The results also suggest that humorous texts with the violation of Relevance maxim (and, to some extent, Quantity maxim) are appreciated more by the EFL learners. The findings also indicate that women enjoy humor as much as men do.