How far can an Aussie joke travel? Intercultural perspectives on Australian humour.

October 2018

In 2017, the School of Languages and Cultures launched its Strategic Research Initiative Scheme to foster research collaborations within and beyond the School. The following project was approved and funded in the first round of 2018 and will run from 2018 - 2019.:

How far can an Aussie joke travel? Intercultural perspectives on Australian humour

Project leader – Dr Wei-Lin Melody Chang

Project team member – Dr Valeria Sinkeviciute

External collaborator – Dr Meredith Marra, Victoria University of Wellington

Humour is regarded as a crucial element in social interaction. The key objective of this project is to explore the intercultural perspectives on the link between the use of various humorous practices and the formation and negotiation of interpersonal relationships. More precisely, through metapragmatic descriptive comments, we will explore:

  • how Anglo-Australian humour (teasing, banter, mockery, taking the piss, having a go) is understood and perceived by non-Australians and what are the main differences in its conceptualisation in interaction;
  • how Anglo-Australian interactional humour is different/similar to non-Australians’ own humorous practices;
  • to what extent the understanding and use of humour facilitate the bonding process with Australians and non-Australians’ integration into an Anglo-Australian cultural context and, on the contrary, the failure to engage in jocular practices can hinder successful communication.

In order to achieve these objectives, this exploratory pilot study will focus on a particular context – an educational environment – and, as a testing ground, we are going to examine the international students’ perceptions of Anglo-Australian humorous practices in interaction.


Project members

Dr Melody Chang

Chinese Program
School of Languages and Cultures

Dr Valeria Sinkeviciute

English as an International Language Major Convenor, Honours Coordinator
Senior Lecturer
School of Languages and Cultures