Sociolinguistic Studies, Estudios de Sociolingüística 3.2 2002

Functions and strategies of male humour in cross-gender interactions

Sonia Álvarez-López
Issued Date: 16 Mar 2007


In this paper I will present an analysis of the functions and strategies of male humour in an interaction among the members of a mixed group of young people. The data were obtained in the informal context of an hour and a half of real conversation, recorded and transcribed, within a group of male and female friends. The analysis is based on tools derived from conversation analysis and interactional sociolinguistics, and examines the functions of male humour: on one hand, to obtain and maintain control and monopolisation of the interaction, and, on the other hand, to forge male camaraderie. In general terms, our results demonstrate that humour becomes an important organizing factor in the interaction, which may take the form of a verbal attack, competitive word games, teasing, jokes and anecdotes. This humour, habitual among the group analysed, can have a bonding function among the male speakers, but produces an asymmetrical situation from the moment that the women become the object of their jokes or take the permanent role of audience.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v3i2.173


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