The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 3 (2023)

Forms and functions of jokes disseminated during the Covid-19 pandemic in Jordan

Ahmad Tawalbeh,Rula Abu-Elrob,Emad Al-Saidat,Mamdouh Alenazy


People in Jordan have suffered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Jordanian government took some pre-emptive measures to curb the spread of the virus, including the announcement of indefinite curfew and nationwide strict lockdown. Humorous texts appear to be the people’s key to escape from life stress, minimise the pressure of unpleasant situations and increase pleasure. Jordanian humour attracts our attention to find out what it does during the Covid-19 pandemic and investigate its structure. To pursue this aim, a sample of 50 jokes and memes were collected from Facebook and WhatsApp in 2020 and analysed using the General Theory of Verbal Humour (GTVH). The researchers conducted a systematic and detailed analysis of the data relying on the six knowledge resources postulated by the GTVH, which are script opposition, logical mechanism, situation, target, narrative strategy and language. The analysis showed that humour can be viewed as a tool to release the tensions caused by Covid-19 restrictions on mobility and lockdown. It also revealed the people’s comments on different aspects of their life during the pandemic, including but not limited to social contact, economic status and education. In most of the analysed texts, humour is playful and serves the function of decommitment. This study offers insights into Arabic humour discourse, showing how jokes may serve the emerging context and encourage conducting studies on humorous texts in various settings to show what roles they would play.


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