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LINGUIST List 25.3004

Tue Jul 22 2014

Confs: Pragmatics, Psycholinguistics, Language Acquisition, General Linguistics/Belgium

Editor for this issue: Anna White <awhitelinguistlist.org>

Date: 21-Jul-2014
From: LEONOR RUIZ-GURILLO <Leonor.Ruizua.es>
Subject: Metapragmatics of Humor: Crossing the Boundaries
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Metapragmatics of Humor: Crossing the Boundaries
Short Title: METAHUMOR

Date: 26-Jul-2015 - 31-Jul-2015
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL: http://ipra.ua.ac.be/main.aspx?c=.CONFERENCE14&n=1476

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics

Meeting Description:

The aim of this panel is to reflect some facts related to humor acquisition in children, as well as to the use of humor as adaptability, negotiability and variability in adults.

Humor acquisition: Every communicative use of language involves the metapragmatic awareness which determines the linguistic choices. Thus, comprehension of contextual properties, along with the role of participants, organizes the linguistic form of the message (cfr. Verschueren 1999). However, such awareness is not constant or equal for all speakers, since the different circumstances have an influence on its degree. Furthermore, the maturity of the working memory is key to the metapragmatic competence (Gombert 1992; Crespo & Alvarado 2010).

Humor, conceived as a metapragmatic ability, is acquired by children in a progressive way according to their cognitive maturity. In this sense, infants show early their pragmatic ability of using linguistic elements as indicators of humor. However, in these initial stages such ability is based in a rather automatic fitting to the contextual features (epi-pragmatic period). Over the years, children undergo an evolution towards the clearly metapragmatic conception when they begin to check their linguistic choices with the contextual data (Buđevac, Anđelković, Savić 2009; Crespo & Alfaro 2009).

Humor as adaptability: The different linguistic choices made by a speaker in a humorous text are not independent or isolated mechanisms, since they are an example of language use as a whole (Verschueren, 1999; 2009). Speakers observe the range of variables among the possible choices; they negotiate such choices in context; and, finally, they adapt them to achieve their basic aim, i.e., to amuse the audience, to make it laugh, etc. More precisely, the adaptability to a specific context is the mechanism which provokes laughter or provides amusement among the audience of a humorous text. Such linguistic and paralinguistic choices act as markers and indicators of humour, making the inference process easier. Therefore, they are directly linked to the logical mechanisms, the narrative strategies (genre, text and register) and the communicative situation in which the text is involved. These knowledge resources support the humorous characterization of a text, according to the General Theory of Verbal Humor (Attardo, 2001; 2008; and his revisions: Ruiz-Gurillo, 2012; 2013; Tsakona, 2013).

Contributions in English and Spanish are welcome.

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