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High-Context Humor

  • By: Audrey C. Adams
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

High context and low context are terms often used to describe the communicative style of an entire culture. Whether a culture is considered high or low context depends on how much a listener must rely on implicit information to grasp the meaning of a message. In high-context cultures, such as those in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East, messages rely on more than the words in the message itself, such as shared cultural knowledge and experiences. This highly contextual communicative style places an emphasis on the relative status of the interlocutors, and words are much less important than the surrounding context. In low-context cultures, such those in North America and most of Western Europe, messages do not contain as much implicit information as ...

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