A QUESTIONNAIRE TO ASSESS WRITTEN JOKE COMPREHENSION IN THE ENGLISH FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSROOM: A RELEVANCE THEORETIC APPROACH
Introduction: Nowadays, resorting to humorous strategies is regarded as a good strategy to teach many aspects of a foreign language (FL) (Bell, 2009; Fleming, 1966; Manuela & Urios-Aparisi Eduardo, 2011; Rashidi, Eslami, Rakhshandehroo, & Izadpanah, 2014, among others), and even to help students understand how native speakers use humour in real communication (Bell, 2011). Various theories have been proposed to classify humorous phenomena (for a review, see Attardo, 1994; Martin, 2007; Raskin, 2008; Ritchie, 2004) . In the present questionnaire, we have focused on Relevance Theory (Sperber & Wilson, 1986/1995) as applied to the classification of jokes. Objectives: First, we intend to determine to what extent English written jokes are understood by learners of English as a FL, and whether the comprehension of jokes needs to be achieved completely in order for the joke to be considered as funny or enjoyable. Secondly, this questionnaire tries to determine whether the inference process which is employed to understand a joke affects comprehension and/or the degree to which learners find jokes amusing. Methodology: we have divided a series of jokes according to the different levels of accessibility that may be exploited in different jokes for humorous effects according to four different joke categories outlined in Yus (2008). The final questionnaire consists of twenty jokes, 5 jokes per type, which have been previously randomized. After each joke, 6 questions (4 quantitative, 2 qualitative) regarding comprehension and degree of amusement are presented. Discussion: This questionnaire may prove to be a useful tool in determining what types of jokes are more easily understood and, therefore, may be better candidates for inclusion in the classroom to improve positive affect, teach FL content, and expose students to aspects of the FL culture.
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