A Joke Off-hand: Who Says Jordanians Keep a Straight Face?





joke telling, joke themes, implicature, Jordanians, translatability


Based on a sample of 75 Jokes extracted from YouTube clips which belong to a comic program called ‘A Joke Off-hand’, different Jordanian male age-groups are shown to highly welcome, appreciate, and interact with joke telling in public. The topics of jokes are varied, mainly involving hash-addict (26.66%), marriage (16%), body defects (6.66%), and school (6.66%) jokes. The total absence of political jokes and the very few sexual and religious jokes (two instances each) may be ascribed to Jordanians’ relatively conservative attitude towards exposing such sensitive themes publically in addition to being aware of censorship as reported by the program’s presenter in a TV interview. Jordanian jokes are shown to be influenced by the jokester’s age, which is clearly reflected in the structure and sophistication of the joke. In terms of linguistic resources, the bulk of the jokes (85.33%) follows human logical reasoning based on conversational implicature, which can readily travel into English through translation. The remainder of the sample consist of linguistic jokes which defy translation and must be largely annotated if they were to make sense. Word ambiguity and onomastics seem to be a prevalent feature of Jordanian linguistic jokes.

Author Biographies

Mohammed Farghal, Applied Science Private University, Amman, Jordan

Department of English Language and Literature

Applied Science Private University, Amman, Jordan

Middle East University, MEU Research Unit, Jordan

Jihad M Hamdan, The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan


Department of English Language and Literature

The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan


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Date of Publication

2023-10-05 — Updated on 2024-01-02

How to Cite

Farghal, M., & Hamdan, J. M. (2024). A Joke Off-hand: Who Says Jordanians Keep a Straight Face?. International Journal of Arabic-English Studies, 24(1), 297–316. https://doi.org/10.33806/ijaes.v24i1.550



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