College of Foreign Language Education
China West Normal University,
1 Shida Road, Nanchong, 637009
It can be easily observed that the joke is the most obvious humorous genre appearing in people’s daily life in English-speaking countries. The joke in these countries can be called the English joke, which is a typical western culture. In the English joke, the humorous words or remarks are frequently employed by those who have the ability to make use of language flexibly. Pragmatic ambiguity exists in the English joke and performs functions on it. This paper analyzes what functions pragmatic ambiguity performs on the English joke and what effects can achieve by means of pragmatic ambiguity.
Key words: the English joke; humorous; pragmatic ambiguity; pragmatic competence; function.