A Linguo-Cultural Analysis of COVID-19 Related Facebook Jokes

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Lubna Akhlaq Khan
Ghulam Ali
Aadila Hussain
Khadija Noreen

Abstract

This research aimed to get an insight into Pakistani people’s thought patterns and matters of concern through social media humor. The data collected through online crowdsourcing have been analyzed, adapting the Linguo-Cultural Approach by Petrova. The ‘culturemes’ have been arranged based on their 'semantic density' in a descending order. The highest dense ‘cultureme’ consists of the memes about gender, reinforcing the traditional notions of patriarchal tendencies. The second and third categories target the people's non-seriousness about the precautionary measures and the 'online classes', respectively. Satirical posts about political figures and governmental decisions are in the fourth position. The aggressive role of police, coupled with the expected population increase, has taken the fifth position in the hierarchy. The sixth category is about the masses' tendency to shop carelessly. The seventh category comprises self-deprecating memes, followed by the eighth category about over-eating and getting fat during the stay at home. Memes about China being labeled as the creator of the virus have taken the ninth position, and the posts about the ethnic slur come next. The least dense category consists of the posts about the hype created by news channels. This hierarchical arrangement of the semantic densities has revealed real-life situations and concerns and doubts and belief systems of the current social media users in Pakistan. The need of the hour is to employ content creators to come up with the comic, but creative memes and jokes to condition people's subconscious to be more careful about their health.

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