Volume 174, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0019-0829
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1490
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This study explored how L1 Cantonese and L1 Korean speakers would comprehend and appreciate L2 English humor, and whether their L1 background, English proficiency, and the type of humor would play as moderators. For this study, 69 Cantonese and 76 Korean undergraduate students answered a questionnaire that contained 30 English humor items in various types, i.e., lexical, morphological, syntactic, phonological, and cultural. In addition, five intermediate and five advanced participants from each L1 group participated in semi-structured interviews to elicit their English learning and use experiences and beliefs in the role of humor in English learning. The results revealed that humor comprehension scores were significantly higher for Cantonese speakers and for participants with advanced English proficiency, and morphological humor was the easiest to comprehend. Open-ended responses and interview protocols also demonstrated that different contexts of English learning and use may affect the participants’ ability to enjoy and appreciate English humor.


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