Contextual Beliefs and Pragmatic Strategies in Online Humour: An Example of Akpos Jokes

Contextual Beliefs and Pragmatic Strategies in Online Humour: An Example of Akpos Jokes

Oluwatomi Adeoti (Kwara State University, Nigeria) and Ibukun Filani (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0338-5.ch015
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The social media in Nigeria provides an avenue where cultural practices are produced and consumed. One of such practices is joking. Specifically, a genre of jokes found in Nigeria social media space is Akpos jokes. The goal of this chapter is to explore the contextual beliefs in Akpos jokes and the pragmatic strategies employed by the writers of Akpos jokes. Akpos jokes are narratives about an imaginary character named Akpos. The study benefited from contextual belief theory (Odebunmi, 2006) while the data comprised jokes randomly picked from a blog and Facebook pages where Akpos jokes are published. The study revealed that the writer(s) of the Akpos jokes manipulate contextual beliefs like shared knowledge of language and shared knowledge of situations and events in Nigeria in order to generate humour. The writers also employ Implicature and stereotyping of the character of Akpos for humorous effects.
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Background To The Study

Jokes are cultural and linguistic innovations.It can consequently be assumed that they are traditionally found in all ethnolinguistic groups of Nigeria. Each culture in Nigeria has its own repertoire of jokes and also certain rules which guide the use of jokes in interactions. With the advent of internet in Nigeria and the social networking sites it offers, new trends were introduced in cultural interactions in the country. One of the areas where innovative trends were articulated is the production and consumption of humour. With the internet, the art and act of joking develop new dimensions, one of which is Akpos jokes.

Akpos jokes are humorous creative narrations which are very popular in the social media space in Nigeria. The social media are cultural spaces that have been used by Nigerians to construct dialogues where their socio-cultural and ideological inclinations are articulated and negotiated. This social space accommodates the mode for joking, what Dynel (2009, p. 1286) calls “humorous mode/frame/key”. In this interactional frame, speakers are not held responsible for the sincerity or truth of their propositions. It is this humorous mode in the social media that licenses the creation of Akpos jokes. These jokes are called Akpos jokes because they are created around an imaginary character- Akpos, who is always the major character in the jokes and sometimes the butt of the jokes. Ayakoroma (2013) describes Akpos Jokes as a brand on the social media and as a series of jokes centred on the life of a teenager- Akpos. Akpos is a very predictable character as he is always portrayed as a narrow-minded and one-way thinker who seeks the easiest means to solve a problem. In the jokes, Akpos’ utterances and actions hold the punchlines.

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