As Chinese people engaged with the Australian cultural scene in recent years, two posts about its humour attracted considerable attention from netizens in the People’s Republic of China. The post authors believed that their firsthand accounts of events demonstrated how Australians used humour to overcome awkward situations and regarded this as an essential national characteristic. In each case, other interpretations were possible if cultural factors had been taken into account, including the contemporary culture of China, Putonghua language usage and the Anglo-centrism that is common to cross-cultural studies. This exploratory generalist textual study concludes that the authors’ interpretations were largely determined by their cultural bias and by traditional regard for ‘face’ and politeness, and reflect the fact that, ultimately, the extent of cross-cultural communication is governed by international politics.
Adams, P. (1994). The Penguin book of Australian jokes. Melbourne: Penguin.
Anon. (13.09.2017). ‘If and how to point out wardrobe malfunction in someone of the opposite sex’. Interpersonal.stackexchange.com. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/3832/if-and-how-to-point-out-wardrobe-malfunction-in-someone-of-the-opposite-sex.
Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Training. (2019). ‘International student data 2019’. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://internationaleducation.gov.au/research/International-Student-Data/Pages/default.aspx.
Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (2019). ‘Statistics on who invests in Australia’. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://dfat.gov.au/trade/resources/investment-statistics/Pages/statistics-on-who-invests-in-australia.aspx.
Bach, K. (1994). ‘Conversational implicature’. Mind and Language 9 (2), pp. 125-162.
Baker, L. (2019). ‘Bridging perceptions: China in Mozambique’. Macropolo. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://macropolo.org/analysis/china-mozambique-elite-perceptions/.
Barme, G. (2018). ‘Three cautionary hopes, Xu Zhangrun’. China Heritage. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from http://chinaheritage.net/journal/other-peoples-thoughts-xii/.
Barr, D. & Keysar, B. (2006). ‘Making sense of how we make sense: The paradox of egocentrism in language use’, in Colston, H. & Katz, A. (eds), Figurative Language Comprehension: Social and Cultural Influences, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 21-41.
Beal, C. & Mullan, K.(2016). ‘The pragmatics of conversational humour in social visits: French and Australian English’. Language and Communication 55, pp. 24-40.
Blum, S. (1997). ‘Naming practices and the power of words in China’. Language in Society 26 (3), pp. 357-379.
Brown, P. & Levinson, S.C. (1987). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. New York/Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Duan, J. 段津. (2000). Ruhe yong Yingyu zuo jingcai yanjiang 如何用英语作精彩演讲 [How to Make Good Speeches in English]. Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe.
Evason, N. (2016). SBS Cultural Atlas: Greetings. Retrieved May, 8 2021 from https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/australian-culture/australian-culture-greetings#australian-culture-greetings.
Goddard, C. (2009). ‘Not taking yourself too seriously in Australian English: semantic explications, cultural scripts, corpus evidence’. Intercultural Pragmatics 6 (1), pp. 29-53. Retrieved May, 8 2021 from https://research-repository.griffith.edu.au/bitstream/handle/10072/44428/77352_1.pdf?sequence=1.
Goddard, C. (2012). ‘Early interactions’ in Australian English, American English, and English: Cultural differences and cultural scripts’. Journal of Pragmatics 44 (9), pp. 1038-1050.
Goddard, C. (2015). ‘Swear words’ and ‘curse words’ in Australian (and American) English’. Intercultural Pragmatics 12 (2), pp. 189-218.
Goddard, C. (2020). ‘De-Anglicising humour studies’. The European Journal of Humour Research 8 (4), pp. 48-58.
Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face to Face Behavior. New York: Anchor.
Gumperz, J. (1982). Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Haugh, M. & Chang, W. (2015). ‘Understanding im/politeness across cultures: An interactional approach to raising socio-pragmatic awareness’. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 53 (4), pp. 389-414.
Jay, T. & Janschewitz, K. (2008). ‘The pragmatics of swearing’. Journal of Politeness Research 4 (2), pp. 267-288. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://doi.org/10.1515/JPLR.2008.013.
Jiang, T., Li, H., & Hou, Y. (2019). ‘Cultural differences in humor perception, usage, and implications’. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00123.
Jing-Schmidt, Z. (2017). ‘Cursing, taboo, and euphemism’, in Huang, C., Jing-Schmidt, Z. & Meisterernst, B. (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics, London: Routledge, pp. 391-406.
Kadar, D. (2019). ‘Politeness and impoliteness in Chinese discourse’, in Shei C. (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis, London: Routledge, pp. 203-215.
Kaitilla, S. (1996). ‘Urbanisation process and changes in traditional domiciliary behavioural patterns in Papua New Guinea’. Journal de la Societé des Oceanistes 103 (2), pp. 149-161.
Kelly, S. (2001). ‘Broadening the units of communication: Speech and non-verbal behaviors in pragmatic comprehension’, Journal of Child Language 28 (2), pp. 325-349.
Kim, E. & Mattila, A. (2011). “The impact of language barrier and cultural differences on restaurant experiences: A grounded theory approach’. University of Massachusetts paper. Retrieved September, 14 2020 from https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1175&context=gradconf_hospitality.
Lewis, D. (1969). Convention: A Philosophical Study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Levinson, S. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levisen, C. (2019). ‘Biases we live by: Anglocentrism in linguistics and cognitive sciences’. Language Sciences 76. Retrieved March, 7 2021 from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2018.05.010
Lin, Y. 林语堂. (2013). Lun youmo 论幽默 [On humour]. Translated with comments by Joseph Sample, as “Contextualising Lin Yutang’s essay, ‘On humour’: Introduction and translation,” in Chey, J. & Milner Davis, J. (eds.), Humour in Chinese Life and Letters: Classical and Traditional Approaches, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 169-190.
Martin, R. et al. (2003). ‘Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being’. Journal of Research in Personality 37 (1), pp. 48-75.
Matsumoto, Y. (1988). ‘Reexamination of the universality of Face: politeness phenomena in Japanese’. Journal of Pragmatics 12, pp. 403-426.
O’Driscoll, J. (2007). ‘Brown and Levinson’s face: how it can – and can’t – help us to understand interaction across cultures’. Intercultural Pragmatics 4, pp. 463-492.
People’s Daily Online (2008). ‘Chinese President: Enhancing national defense for world peace’. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from http://en.people.cn/90001/90776/90785/6370152.html.
People’s Daily Online (2007). ‘Yu Dan: Woman lecturer brings ancient philosophers closer to modern people’. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200703/04/eng20070304_354044.html.
Pinker, S. (2007). The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature. New York: Penguin.
Praeger, D. (2007). Poop Culture: How America is Shaped by its Grossest National Product. Port Townsend, WA: Feral House.
Reyu 热雨. (2010). Aodaliyashi youmo: hua gangga wei qutan 澳大利亚式幽默：化尴尬为趣谈 [Australian humour: Turning awkwardness into something interesting]. Beijing Youth News. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from http://www.chinanews.com/hr/hr-hwsh/news/2010/01-05/2055441.shtml.
Sanyal, K. (2011). ‘Foreign investment in Australia: Recent developments’, Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library. Retrieved September, 14 2020 from https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/1011/ForeignInvestmentAust.
Starr, D. (2012). China and the Confucian Education Model. Birmingham, UK: Universitas 21.
Tang, E. (2019). ‘Australia’s tourist arrivals exceed 9 million in 2018’. Australian Trade and Investment Commission. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://www.austrade.gov.au/news/economic-analysis/australias-tourist-arrivals-exceed-9-million-in-2018.
Teon, A. (2017). ‘The context of face in Chinese culture and the difference between mianzi and lian’. The Greater China Journal’. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://china-journal.org/2017/02/25/the-concept-of-face-in-chinese-culture-and-the-difference-between-mianzi-and-lian/.
Thomas, J. (1983). ‘Cross-cultural pragmatic failure’. Applied Linguistics 4 (2), pp. 91-112.
Tourism Australia (2014). ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’ Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-ZLr9ePuj8.
Trosborg, A. (1987). ‘Apology strategies in native/non-native’. Journal of Pragmatics 11, pp. 147-167.
Umar, M. (2011). ‘Standing and urinating in Islam’. Virtual Mosque. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://www.virtualmosque.com/ummah/men/standing-and-urinating-in-islam/.
Wierzbicka, A. (2014). Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as the Default Language. New York: Oxford University Press.
Xu, Daozhi. (2020). ‘Profile’ Australasian Humour Studies Digest. Retrieved February, 25 2020 from https://www.sydney.edu.au/content/dam/corporate/documents/faculty-of-arts-and-social-sciences/research/research-centres-institutes groups/ahsn/the_humour_studies_digest_april_2020.pdf.
Xu, Weihe. (2013). ‘The classical Confucian concepts of human emotion and proper humour’, in Chey, J. & Milner Davis, J. (eds), Humour in Chinese Life and Letters: Classical and Traditional Approaches, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, pp. 49-71.
Yu, M-C. (2003). ‘On the universality of face: evidence from Chinese’. Journal of Pragmatics 35, pp. 10-11.
Zhang, Yongxian 张勇先 (2018). Mudeng koudai de Aodaliyashi Yingwen 目瞪口呆的澳大利亚式英文 [Australian English that will leave you dumbstruck]. Retrieved February, 25 2021 from https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/okaNOr6-QqRAcr7dLRYOEA.
Zhang, Yongxian. (2014). Yingyu Fazhanshi 英语发展史 From English to Globlish. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2021 The European Journal of Humour Research