The punchlines of jokes about women in Italian, English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter aimed to investigate and compare jokes about women in four different languages: Italian, Spanish, English and Mandarin Chinese. The main purpose was to compare how the punchlines of jokes about women (hereafter women jokes) are constructed in the four languages. The study first collected data from several Web sites featuring women jokes that show female characteristics. The theoretical background for this research is based on the incongruity-resolution theory (Shultz (1972). We attempted to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the elements that construct Italian, English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese women jokes’ punchlines? (2) What are the differences between the punchlines? Results indicate that the humor shown in women jokes’ punchlines in the four languages can be classified into 12 categories, of which the most frequent one in Italian, English and Chinese is ANAPHORA (CONTENT), while in Spanish it is ANSWER. Meanwhile, cultural differences were detected in the construction of the punchlines. Humorous statements, illustrated differently according to language and culture. As such, the different constructions of punchlines could help Italian, English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language learners better understand the humor expressed in such jokes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmbodiment in Language (II)
Subtitle of host publicationFood, Emotion and Beyond
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789811017995
ISBN (Print)9789811017971
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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