Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation No.4 May, 2015                                  Pp. 53-67

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A Linguistic and Cultural Analysis of Pun Expressions in Journalistic Articles in Jordan 

 Yousef Bader
Department of English, Yarmouk University
Irbid, Jordan



This study is a linguistic and cultural analysis of some pun expressions published recently in two Jordanian daily newspapers in Arabic. The study responds to calls by Delabatista (1997) and Ritchie (2004) to carry out studies on pun that deal with analysis of its practical uses rather than dwell on categorization issues and theoretical backgrounds. The survey finds numerous cases of wordplay in these articles, some of which fall under the category of humor, but many, contrary to what was stated before, cannot be categorized under humor because they refer to recent bloody infighting in the Arab World, especially Syria, and they actually call for tears rather than laughter. Types of  wordplay used include the homographic, homonymic, onomastic, and other types discussed in the literature. The new thing in this study is the case of playing on similarities between two words in  two different languages like Arabic and English to produce a respectable pun.
Keywords:  cultural, humour, Jordanian, linguistic, newspapers, pun


Yousef F. Bader is a professor of English and Linguistics at Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan.
He is currently teaching and supervising MA theses for graduate students in linguistics at this
university. He has also taught English as a second language in various Jordanian universities and
in the USA. He has about 30 published papers on such topics as comparative English-Arabic
studies, especially codeswitching, Berber phonology and morphology, Arabic semantics and