The transformation of jokes from oral compositions to lists and stand-ups: A critical outlook on Türkleri Anlama Kilavuzu
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In line with Alan Dundes' definition of "folk" as a group of people sharing some common code, this paper looks into how Türkleri Anlama Kilavuzu (A Guide to Understanding Turks) written by Zeki Kayahan Coşkun (İstanbul: Bir Harf Yayinlari, 2005) bears significance for folklore. With reference to texture, text and context as the three levels designated by Dundes for the analysis of folkloric products, critical views on the book shall help to assess its stand in the transformation of Turkish jokes. As a book in which a writer lists down certain patterns of behavior adopted by Turks, Türkleri Anlama Kilavuzu apparently differs from oral compositions when the incompatibilities between orality and literacy specified by Walter J. Ong are taken into consideration. If the written word does not allow any interaction between the writer and the reader, how can Türkleri Anlama Kilavuzu be "with a hint of stand-up" as indicated on the book's cover? Though the texture and text of the book resemble those of stand-ups in terms of Henri Bergson's view on the function of the comic and its methods of production, the diversity of the contexts in which each are produced and consumed are evident. Revealing how Türkleri Anlama Kilavuzu converges and diverges with oral compositions and stand-ups, this study highlights the necessity of taking into account the variety of contexts in defining jokes as a genre.