Semantic Mechanisms of Humor

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Dezember 1984



GOAL This is the funniest book I have ever written - and the ambiguity here is deliberate. Much of this book is about deliberate ambiguity, described as unambiguously as possible, so the previous sentence is probably the fIrst, last, and only deliberately ambiguous sentence in the book. Deliberate ambiguity will be shown to underlie much, if not all, of verbal humor. Some of its forms are simple enough to be perceived as deliberately ambiguous on the surface; in others, the ambiguity results from a deep semantic analysis. Deep semantic analysis is the core of this approach to humor. The book is the fIrst ever application of modem linguistic theory to the study of humor and it puts forward a formal semantic theory of verbal humor. The goal of the theory is to formulate the necessary and sufficient conditions, in purely semantic terms, for a text to be funny. In other words, if a formal semantic analysis of a text yields a certain set of semantic proptrties which the text possesses, then the text is recognized as a joke. As any modem linguistic theory, this semantic theory of humor attempts to match a natural intuitive ability which the native speaker has, in this particular case, the ability to perceive a text as funny, i. e. , to distinguish a joke from a non-joke.


One: Survey of Humor Research.
- 1. What Is Humor?.
- 2. Is Humor Good or Bad?.
- 3. Conditions for Humor.
- 4. Physiology, Psychology, and Evolution of Humor.
- 5. Classification of Humor.
- 6. Theories of Humor.
- 7. Structure of Humor.- Two: Theory.
- 1. Verbal Humor.
- 2. Linguistic Theory: Format.
- 3. Linguistic Theory: Applications.
- 4. Linguistic Applications To Humor: Research Strategy.- Three: Semantic Theory.
- 1. Goals of Semantic Theory.
- 2. Elements of Contextual Semantics.
- 3. Format of Semantic Theory.
- 4. Script-Based Lexicon.
- 5. Combinatorial Rules.
- 6. Justification and evaluation of semantic theory.- Four: Semantic Theory of Humor.
- 1. Main Hypothesis.
- 2. Joke Telling as Non-Bona-Fide-Commumcaxion.
- 3. Script Overlap.
- 4. Script Oppositeness.
- 5. Semantic Script-Switch Triggers.
- 6. Analysis of A Sample Joke.
- 7. Theories of Humor: Script-Based Interpretation.
- 8. Apparent Counterexamples.
- 9. Joke Construction.- Five: Sexual Humor.
- 1. Sexual/Non-Sexual Opposition: Overt, Unspecified.
- 2. Sexual/Non-Sexual Opposition: Overt, Specified.
- 3. Non-Sexual Opposition in Explicitly Sexual Humor.
- 4. Specific Sexual Opposition in Explicitly Sexual Humor.
- 5. Sexual Humor in the Russian Chastushka.
- 6. Sexual Scripts, Oppositions and Triggers: A Summary.- Six: Ethnic Humor.
- 1. Script of Language Distortion.
- 2. Script of Dumbness.
- 3. Script of Stinginess.
- 4. Script of Craftiness.
- 5. Non-Standard Specific Scripts in Ethnic Jokes.
- 6. Smaller Targeted Groups in Ethnic Humor.
- 7. National Superiority Jokes.
- 8. Pseudo-Ethnic Jokes.
- 9. Jewish Humor.- Seven: Political Humor.
- 1. Denigration of a Political Figure.
- 2. Denigration of a Political Group or Institution.
- 3. Denigration of a Political Idea or Slogan.
- 4. Exposure of National Traits.
- 5. Exposure of Political Repression.
- 6. Exposure of Shortages.
- 7. Exposure of Specific Political Situations.
- 8. Soviet Political Humor.- Afterword.- Appendices: Additional Joke Examples.- Appendix 1: 50 Simple Jokes.- Appendix 2: 25 Complex Jokes.- References.- Name Index.


`...this is an interesting and provocative book on an important topic of interest to those interested in pragmatics...'
Linguistics, 23:6

EAN: 9789027718211
ISBN: 9027718210
Untertitel: 1984. Auflage. Book. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Springer
Erscheinungsdatum: Dezember 1984
Seitenanzahl: 308 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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