Understanding Language through Humor

Understanding Language through Humor

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Stanley Dubinsky
Cambridge University Press, 9/15/2011
EAN 9780521713887, ISBN10: 0521713889

Paperback, 212 pages, 24.7 x 17.4 x 1.2 cm
Language: English

Students often struggle to understand linguistic concepts through examples of language data provided in class or in texts. Presented with ambiguous information, students frequently respond that they do not 'get it'. The solution is to find an example of humour that relies on the targeted ambiguity. Once they laugh at the joke, they have tacitly understood the concept, and then it is only a matter of explaining why they found it funny. Utilizing cartoons and jokes illustrating linguistic concepts, this book makes it easy to understand these concepts, while keeping the reader's attention and interest. Organized like a course textbook in linguistics, it covers all the major topics in a typical linguistics survey course, including communication systems, phonetics and phonology, morphemes, words, phrases, sentences, language use, discourses, child language acquisition and language variation, while avoiding technical terminology.

1. Introduction
2. Talking to Garfield
human and animal communication
3. Did I hear that right? The sounds of language
4. Twisted words
word structure and meaning
5. Fitting words together
phrase structure and meaning
6. Meaning one thing and saying another
indirect speech and conversational principles
7. Fitting the pieces together
the structure of discourse
8. 'Kids say the darndest things'
children acquiring language
9. Variety is the spice of life
language variation
10. Cross-cultural gaffes
language and culture
11. The language police
prescriptivism and standardization
12. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

'Understanding Language through Humor is ingenious in its conception and deft in its execution. A sure bestseller.' Frederick J. Newmeyer, University of Washington, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University