Publication details [#58367]

Wang, Yu. 2014. Humor in British academic lectures and Chinese students’ perceptions of it. Journal of Pragmatics 68 : 80–93.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This study examines how Chinese students perceive humor in British academic lectures. Humorous instances were distinguished and explored in a great number of British Academic lectures. Informed by pragmatic theories, the analysis indicates that lecturers employed humor to improve self-image, address possible face loss, soften face-menacing acts, and raise consensus with students. Humor also highlights language stance. Chinese students had obvious problems understanding their lecturers’ humor, (and thus shared awareness of the implicit meaning and linked sociocultural values), and some voiced a sense of alienation. The lecturers were either unconscious of these problems, or conscious but inconsiderate as to their students’ needs.