A Relevance-theoretic Analysis of Persian Verbal Humor and Online Joking

Farnoush Ghodsi, Mohammad Ali Heidari-Shahreza


The present study aimed at investigating Persian verbal humor from the perspective of Relevance Theory (RT). Based on the cognitive and communicative principles of this theory, a corpus of online Persian jokes was analyzed. Following Yus (2008) and partly through inductive analysis, four different categories of jokes were identified: (a) Joke type one in which the explicit interpretation was questioned, (b) Joke type two in which the explicit interpretation clashed with contextual assumptions, (c) Joke type three in which implicated premises and conclusions contributed to humor and (d) Joke type four in which background encyclopedic assumptions were at work. Further probe into Persian online jokes also revealed that Joke type one was by far the most frequent category of Persian verbal humor in the corpus. In addition, we considered the senders of the analyzed jokes to discern how gender could contribute to diversity and distribution of the joke types. In the present research, these four types of Persian jokes are exemplified and discussed in light of RT. Moreover, possible implications and suggestions for further research are highlighted.     


Persian humor, Relevance Theory, Online jokes, Gender, Verbal humor

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