Publication details [#57189]

Muñoz-Basols, Javier, Pawel Adrjan and Marianne David. 2013. Phonological humor as perception and representation of foreignness. In Ruiz Gurillo, Leonor and M. Belén Alvarado Ortega, eds. Irony and Humor. From pragmatics to discourse. John Benjamins. pp. 159–188.
Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


The repertoire of humor based on the phonological aspect of language is vast, and such humor can be found in different media and textual modes. This article focuses on verbal humor, specifically on ‘phonological jokes,’ in which words or phonemes of one’s own language are made to imitate or parody the sounds of another language (Muñoz-Basols 2013). Based on evidence that this type of joke is a widespread practice found in over 30 languages (Muñoz-Basols 2012), this article classifies the linguistic strategies used in such jokes to humorously represent foreignness. It analyzes phonological jokes within the framework of cultural, social, individual, and comparative humorous contexts (Oring 2008), and establishes that they differ from ethnic jokes and belong to a distinct category of humor.