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LINGUIST List 20.1525

Tue Apr 21 2009

Books: Discourse Analysis/Pragmatics/Phonetics: Chafe

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
        1.    Paul Peranteau, The Importance of Not Being Earnest: Chafe

Message 1: The Importance of Not Being Earnest: Chafe
Date: 20-Apr-2009
From: Paul Peranteau <paulbenjamins.com>
Subject: The Importance of Not Being Earnest: Chafe
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Title: The Importance of Not Being Earnest
Subtitle: The feeling behind laughter and humor
Series Title: Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 3
Published: 2009
Publisher: John Benjamins

Book URL: http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=C%26EB%203

Author: Wallace Chafe
Paperback: ISBN: 9789027241542 Pages: 167 Price: Europe EURO 25.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9789027241542 Pages: 167 Price: U.S. $ 37.95

Now available in paperback!

The thesis of this book is that neither laughter nor humor can be
understood apart from the feeling that underlies them. This feeling is a
mental state in which people exclude some situation from their knowledge of
how the world really is, thereby inhibiting seriousness where seriousness
would be counterproductive. Laughter is viewed as an expression of this
feeling, and humor as a set of devices designed to trigger it because it is
so pleasant and distracting. Beginning with phonetic analyses of laughter,
the book examines ways in which the feeling behind the laughter is elicited
by both humorous and nonhumorous situations. It discusses properties of
this feeling that justify its inclusion in the repertoire of human
emotions. Against this background it illustrates the creation of humor in
several folklore genres and across several cultures. Finally, it reconciles
this understanding with various already familiar ways of explaining humor
and laughter.

Table of contents

Preface xi-xii
Symbols Used in Transcribing Laughter xiii
Introduction 1-13

Part One: How we laugh

The essential ingredients of laughter 17-23
Varieties of laughter 25-40
Laughing while speaking 41-49
Beyond the vocal tract 51-58

Part Two: Why we laugh

The feeling of nonseriousness 61-71
Nonseriousness without humor 73-87
Unplanned humor 89-97
Planned humor in oral traditions 99-116
Planned humor in writing 117-125
Humor in other cultures 127-134

Part Three: Pulling things together

Recapitulation 137-138
Reconciliation with other studies 139-155
Coda 157-158
References 159-164
Index 165-167

"I love this book. It will open a new branch of research (and a much needed
one). The field owes Chafe a great debt."
-Salvatore Attardo, Editor Humor: International Journal of Humor Research

"Though brief and specialized, this book offers considerable information,
and the presentation is conversational and accessible."
-P.L. Derks, emeritus, College of William and Mary, in Choice, Vol. 45 No.
3 (2007)

"This is a very important, ground-breaking book on humor from a linguistic
perspective. It differs from other research on humor by linguists in two
main ways: first, in the attention it pays to the precise description of
laughter, and second in its attempt to set out a complete theory of
laughter and humor, including their place in human evolution and
consciousness, rather than simply to account for humorous texts."
-Neal Norrick, in Language

"This thought-provoking book leaves me convinced of the importance of the
emotional component of humor and the courage of a rare scholar. An
important re-appraisal of the field as a whole, a book which is a pleasure
to read, written with bright clarity of thought and many gems of
insight.This book is not just - or even principally - about the linguistics
of humor, but about how linguistic (and other) devices relate to the
experience of non-seriousness."
-Jessica Millner Davis, in Humor, International Journal of Humor Research

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Written In: English (eng )

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