Humour and Relevance

Francisco Yus
University of Alicante

This book offers a cognitive pragmatics, and specifically relevance-theoretic, analysis of different types of humorous discourse, an account of which inferential strategies are at work in the processing of these discourses, and a description of how the addressees obtain humorous effects. In the book, it is claimed that the same inferential strategies that are at work in the processing of normal, non-humorous discourses, are also the ones performed for the interpretation of humorous ones, the difference being that, in the latter case, these strategies (and also accessibility to contextual information) are predicted and manipulated by the speaker (or writer) for the sake of generating humorous effects. The book covers aspects of research on humour such as the incongruity-resolution pattern, jokes and stand-up comedy performances. It also offers an explanation of why ironies are sometimes labelled as humorous, a proposal of a model for the translation of humorous discourses, an analysis of humour in multimodal discourses such as cartoons and advertisements, and a brief account of the prospects of relevance-theoretic research on conversational humour.

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