A Missing Link in ELT: EFL Learners' Recognition, Comprehension and Appreciation of English Humor

Mohammad Ahmadi Safa, Azam Ghonchehpour


Familiarity with different aspects of English humor applied by native speakers in their daily interactions could help EFL learners to understand humorous expressions that might be otherwise literally vague or pointless to them. Therefore, the current study attempts to find out whether humor instruction could result in the Iranian EFL learners ability to recognize, comprehend, and appreciate English humor. To this aim, 82 female intermediate and upper-intermediate EFL learners were selected and taught some aspects of English humor. Three researcher- made questionnaires examined the effect of lexical and grammatical knowledge of the learners on their recognition, comprehension, and appreciation of English humor as well as the effect of humor instruction on the three variables. The results of two MANOVA analyses revealed that, unlike lexico-grammatical knowledge, familiarizing learners with structural and socio-cultural aspects of English humor could significantly influence the EFL learners' recognition, comprehension, and appreciation of English humor. This piece of finding might underscore the superior role of cultural factors over linguistic knowledge when dealing with EFL learners' humor comprehension and production; moreover, the instruction of sociocultural aspects of foreign language humor seems to be of higher importance compared with lexico-grammatical and linguistic aspects.  


English humor; recognition; comprehension; appreciation; EFL learners

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