When husbands die: Joke-telling in an Italian ladies’ club in Chicago

Gloria Nardini

Abstract

This is a paper about women and language. In it women tell jokes, both individually and collaboratively, which are performances of verbal art. It is also a paper about ethnicity and gender, for in their joke telling, these women meld both discourses in seamless fashion. My analysis of a 2 minute 40 second transcript of “talk as play,” (Coates 151) explicates the powerful identity they fashion for themselves. Both this identity and the fun they have with each other are dependent, of course, upon understanding the context of their club, the Collandia Ladies’ Club.

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