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Pun recognition in L1 and L2 readers: Seven days without a pun makes one weak
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Language play has an important position in the use of language. Cook (in Lucas, 2005) makes the argument that language play is even one of the primary uses of language. Partly due to the focus on research in second language learning, advanced L2 users’ language processing gets little attention in research on language use (Shaw & McMillion, 2008). Therefore, there is limited knowledge regarding the reading processes of this group.  While Shaw and McMillion (2008) show that there is no difference in language proficiency between L1 and advanced L2 readers, Paradis (2009) argues that there indeed is a difference in processing among L1 and advanced L2 speakers. Gernsbacher and Robertson (1995) examined the differences in processing between more and less skilled L1 readers using ambiguous words and puns. However, this kind of research has not been done for L1 and advanced L2 readers.  A study concerning the speed and ability in pun recognition was carried out to investigate whether any differences could be found between L1 and advanced L2 readers, with the same language proficiency. Tests in accuracy and speed in recognizing puns were carried out with university students in Stockholm and Los Angeles, while a survey investigating degree of amusement was distributed online.  Initial hypotheses assumed that L1 readers, compared to L2 readers, would be both more skilled and faster at identifying a number of categories of puns as well as perceiving all categories of puns as being more amusing. Results show support for some of these hypotheses: L1 speakers were faster and more accurate in finding certain categories of puns. However, other categories showed no difference, and results were not able to prove differences in degree of amusement between the two groups. Questions about other categorizations of puns are raised, as well as further research opportunities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 20 p.
Keyword [en]
L1 readers, native language readers, second language readers, advanced L2 readers, pun recognition, language processing, speed, accuracy, puns, degree of amusement
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-47153OAI: diva2:373464
2010-11-19, 10:00 (English)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-08-18 Created: 2010-11-30 Last updated: 2011-08-18Bibliographically approved

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