Spontaneous Play in the Language Classroom

Creating a Community

  • David Hann

Table of contents

About this book


"Humorous language play is an ever-present, but rarely examined feature of interaction in language classrooms. In this book, Hann traces the life of playful utterances within the talk of students enrolled in intensive, short-term, business language courses.  Empirically grounded and richly detailed, Hann’s work demonstrates why language educators and classroom researchers should take non-serious language use more seriously."
-- Anne Pomerantz, Professor of Practice, University of Pennsylvania, USA.

“This book shows how classroom language learners, even when of low proficiency and from diverse backgrounds, immediately form their own unique micro-culture. David Hann’s meticulous analysis of this process delivers important insights into the language classroom, the functions of humour and language play, and the nature of human interaction and society more generally.  Written with great elegance and warmth, this is a book of immense significance to understanding all these areas.”

-         -- Guy Cook, Emeritus Professor of Language in Education, King’s College London, UK

 This book investigates the importance of humour and play in the establishment of individual and group identities among adult language learners on an intensive business English course. The enclosed setting allows the emergent nature of community building and identity projection to be traced, foregrounding the important role of humorous play in these vital social processes. The book will be of interest to students and researchers of applied linguistics, second language acquisition and humour studies.

David Hann is a Central Academic Staff Lecturer in the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the Open University, UK. His research focuses on the forms and social functions of humorous language play among non-native speakers of English in a language classroom setting.


humour English for Specific Purposes Business English adult education rapport communal identity linguistic playfulness

Authors and affiliations

  • David Hann
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language StudiesOpen UniversityMilton KeynesUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-26303-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-26304-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site