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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: The Importance of Not Being Earnest
Subtitle: The feeling behind laughter and humor
Written By: Wallace Chafe
Series Title: Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 3

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.

Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 902724152X
ISBN-13: 9789027241528
Pages: 181
Prices: U.S. $ 134