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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."

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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

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Title: The Linguistic Analysis of Jokes
Written By: Graeme Ritchie
Series Title: Routledge Studies in Linguistics

This book starts from three observations. First, the use of humour is a complex, puzzling, and idiosyncratically human form of behaviour (and hence is of scientific interest). Second, there is currently no theory of how humour works. Third, one useful step towards a theory of humour is to analyse humorous items in precise detail, in order to understand their mechanisms.

The author begins by considering how to study jokes rigorously: the assumptions to make, the guidelines to follow and the pitfalls to avoid. A critique of other work on humour is also provided. This introduces some important concepts, and also demonstrates the lack of agreement about what a theory of humour should look like. The language devices used in various jokes, such as puns or humour based on misinterpretation, are analysed in detail. The central part of the book develops, and demonstrates, proposals for how best to analyse the workings of simple jokes. Finally, the author makes some general suggestions about the language devices that seem to be central to the construction of jokes.

The Linguistic Analysis of Jokes will be invaluable for researchers and advanced students of humour research, linguistics and cognitive science.

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor and Francis)
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0415309832
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 256
Prices: U.S. $ 95.00