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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.99 pp.161-176

A Study on Joke Misinterpretation in L2 Settings: Viewed from the Benign-Violation Theory

Hyun-jee Kang**,Myung-ki Oh


This paper examines cases in which Korean college students might misinterpret superiority, incongruity, and sarcastic English jokes. In parallel the writer tries to bring to light possible background reasons for their misinterpretation from the perspective of the Benign-Violation Theory’ concepts of norm violation, commitment, and psychological distance. Arguably Korean college students are likely to misinterpret English humor codes influenced by their ingrained belief system of strict moral standard as well as insufficient exposure to particular genres of English jokes.