The Lebanese people are lovers of the social and the humorous, and the soul of their humor is manifest in their social gatherings, tales, civil and religious celebrations, songs, jokes, literature, theatre, cartoons, and spontaneous wit. In the present article, humor, Arabic (fukaha), in the collectivist Lebanese culture is discussed with particular focus on comparisons with Western humor scholarship. The discussion is illustrative rather than exhaustive and is informed by Western contemporary humor theories regarding conceptualization of humor and its varied forms and functions. In addition to providing Arabic humor terminology and English equivalents, culture-universals (mass media, rhetors humor, jokes, wit and accidental humor) and culture-bound (zajal and Zalghouta) humor in the Lebanese context are described. Finally, the psychological and social functions of Lebanese humor are identified, as are gaps in research and the need for a science-driven agenda for cross-cultural humor scholarship involving Arab Middle Eastern and EuroAmerican humor scholars.
The international fame of the “starving Armenians” has overshadowed this biblical nation's ardent love for humor and wit. The geography and distinctive language of the Armenians have also veiled the Armenian humor mind from international humor scholarship. In the present article, contemporary Armenian humor forms and expressions of Armenian humor in literary work (fable, satire and dark humor) and the internet are described. This illustration of Armenian humor forms and means of communication is informed by contemporary Western humor theory and research. The analysis of Armenian humor dispels the stereotype of the Armenian as poor and starving and reveals a rich culture full of varied forms of humor from ancient times to the internet age. A contemporary Armenian humor mind that is open to humor appreciation and expression is reflected in the designation and veneration of Gümri as the humor capital of Armenians, and the recognition of April 1 as a national day of humor and wit.
This research examined the structure and correlates of an Armenian translation of the Humor Styles Questionnaire (HSQ; Martin et al. 2003) among a community sample of ethnic Armenians residing in Lebanon. Four humor factors were found, as in the original Canadian samples: affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive, and self-defeating humor. Scale reliabilities were generally acceptable, and inter-correlations among the scales were low. Armenian-Lebanese participants, as compared to Canadian and Belgian norms, obtained significantly lower scores on all four humor scales. Compared to females, males reported significantly more use of all four styles of humor, particularly aggressive and self-defeating humor. Humor styles correlated differentially, and generally as predicted, with perceived health, psychological well-being, and family adjustment, although they were unrelated to depression. Higher scores on aggressive humor related to higher vertical individualism and lower horizontal and vertical collectivism. Overall, the findings provide cross-cultural support for the theoretical structure and usefulness of the HSQ and represent an initial step in the study of humor among Armenians.
The current study examines whether the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia) can be assessed reliably and validly by means of a self-report instrument in different countries of the world. All items of the GELOPH (Ruch and Titze, GELOPH〈46〉, University of Düsseldorf, 1998; Ruch and Proyer, Swiss Journal of Psychology 67:19–27, 2008b) were translated to the local language of the collaborator (42 languages in total). In total, 22,610 participants in 93 samples from 73 countries completed the GELOPH. Across all samples the reliability of the 15-item questionnaire was high (mean alpha of .85) and in all samples the scales appeared to be unidimensional. The endorsement rates for the items ranged from 1.31% through 80.00% to a single item. Variations in the mean scores of the items were more strongly related to the culture in a country and not to the language in which the data were collected. This was also supported by a multidimensional scaling analysis with standardized mean scores of the items from the GELOPH〈15〉. This analysis identified two dimensions that further helped explaining the data (i.e., insecure vs. intense avoidant-restrictive and low vs. high suspicious tendencies towards the laughter of others). Furthermore, multiple samples derived from one country tended to be (with a few exceptions) highly similar. The study shows that gelotophobia can be assessed reliably by means of a self-report instrument in cross-cultural research. This study enables further studies of the fear of being laughed at with regard to differences in the prevalence and putative causes of gelotophobia in comparisons to different cultures.