The 'Humour' element in engineering lectures across cultures: An approach to pragmatic annotation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Humour is one of the most difficult pragmatic devices for lecturers and students to engage with, and for researchers to identify systematically. Humour does not always travel well across cultures. It can cause particular problems of miscommunication for the lecturers delivering and for those students receiving it in unfamiliar cultural contexts. This paper demonstrates the use of pragmatic annotation for mapping the distribution, duration, and specific function of humour based on nine attributed types. The analysis looks at 76 English-medium lectures from the UK, Malaysia, and New Zealand, which form part of the Engineering Lecture Corpus. Differences in preferred humour type, amount, and laughter response rate are evident across the three cultural subcorpora. In the increasingly globalized academic setting, understanding of such cultural differences is important to all academics and students on the move.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorpus Linguistics on the Move
Subtitle of host publicationExploring and Understanding English through Corpora
EditorsMaria Jose Lopez-Couso, Belen Mendez-Naya, Paloma Nunez-Pertejo, Ignacio M Palacios-Martinez
PublisherBrill Nijhoff
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789004321342
ISBN (Print)9789004308077
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameLanguage and Computers


  • Engineering
  • Humour
  • Laughter
  • Lectures
  • Pragmatic annotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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