A Pragmatic Study of Humor in Iraqi Facebook Comments

Pragmatics, humor, comments, cooperative principles, maxims


  • Zaid Najah Merzah
    Assistant Lecturer, Faculty of Arts, Department of English, Imam Ja’afar Al-Sadiq University in Najaf, Iraq
October 29, 2021


The main goal of this study is to determine how comments are made by Iraqis on Facebook (a social media platform) to express humor and to discover whether these comments follow specific linguistic principles or not. There are millions of humorous comments on different types of posts, but only political posts were chosen in this research because of the importance of these posts. In the writer’s view, the politics of Iraq is greatly important as it dictates much of the situation that people currently live in. This means that there is also a lot of engagement by a lot of persons in Iraq with politics using humor, and there are therefore a large number of political posts using humor. This study relied on a specific method in analyzing data (namely comments selected from Facebook). 28 comments were selected for analysis by determining whether they follow the maxims of cooperative principles on the one hand and whether they follow any form of breaking of cooperative principles from another aspect. The arguments of Attardo were proven where he said that a person cannot be considered uncooperative in the conversation just because he said something funny or tried to be funny (Attardo, 2001). Moreover, the results showed that two forms of maxims of cooperative principle are followed several times, which are the maxims of relation and manner. It also showed that the least principle that is followed is the maxim of quality. There were also instances where maxims were not observed. It was found that the question of whether there would be flouting and violation of rules in the comments is most dependent on the commenter.