Understanding ethnic humour in Romanian jokes

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The study of ethnic humour is as popular in the world as ethnic jokes themselves. However, the topic has scarcely been addressed in the Romanian context, and certainly not from a linguistic perspective. This small-scale study represents an attempt to map the territory and understand the interdependence of these jokes with the changing social reality of the transition period that Romania is going through at present. The paper aims to identify, describe and discuss the main ethnic scripts and targets used in Internet Romanian ethnic jokes, and to account for culture-specific elements. Next, the study focuses on jokes about Roma and Hungarians, the two leading minorities in Romania, specifically on <i>stupidity</i> jokes based on <i>language distortion</i>. Language jokes can relate to <i>stupidity</i> but also to <i>canniness</i>, and the two ethnic minorities are portrayed as both <i>stupid</i> and <i>canny</i>, a fact that both constitutes an exception and complements existing theory in ethnic humour research.


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