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ARGIRIS ARCHAKIS and VILLY TSAKONA
Abstract The central aim of this paper is to apply the General Theory of Verbal Humor (henceforth GTVH; Attardo 2001) to conversational narratives and to integrate it with sociopragmatic approaches. We consider script opposition as a necessary prerequisite for humor and its perlocutionary e¤ect (i.e. eliciting laughter) as a secondary criterion for the characterization of a narrative as humorous. Despite the fact that one of the most common social functions of humor is the construction of solidarity and in-group identity, there is relatively little sociolinguistic research on this issue. Thus, a more particular aim of this paper is to illustrate how humor can be a ﬂexible discourse strategy to construct particular aspects of social identities by focusing on a particular aspect of humor encoded in GTVH terms as the knowledge resource of ‘‘target’’. It will be shown that, in our conversational data coming from a cohesive group of young Greek males, interlocutors select targets either outside or inside their group and that, while in the ﬁrst case humor criticizes the ‘‘other’’ behavior, in the latter case it serves as a correction mechanism of in-group behavior in a rather covert manner. In both cases, the target of humor reinforces the already existing bonds among group members, while bringing the evaluative dimension of humor to the surface. It is therefore suggested that the target of humor is an important heuristic tool for describing its social function, revealing how it is exploited by conversationalists to project their shared beliefs and values, i.e. their social identity. Keywords: General Theory of Verbal Humor; identity construction; humorous conversational narratives; target; group identity; laughter.
Humor 18–1 (2005), 41–68 0933–1719/05/0018–0041 6 Walter de Gruyter
A. Archakis and V. Tsakona Introduction
In a number of recent studies, it has been suggested that humor does not occur accidentally in discourse aiming solely at the participants’ amusement, but rather that it can be a very e‰cient means of the expression of identity, i.e. ‘‘a person’s sense of inclusion in (or exclusion from) a range of social roles and ways of being’’ (Liechty 1995: 167). As Norrick suggests (1993: 52, 107–109, 128–130), humor allows conversationalists to demonstrate and test a wide variety of shared knowledge and attitudes. Along the same lines, Brown and Levinson (1987: 124) remark that ‘‘since jokes are based on mutual shared background knowledge and values, jokes may be used to stress that shared background or those shared values’’ (see also Cutting 2000: 24, 118). In short, it is arguable that one of the most common social functions of humor is the construction of solidarity and in-group identity, i.e. the sense of belonging to a group (see Holmes 2000: 159). In this paper, we draw upon the social constructionist paradigm (see Sarbin and Kitsuse 1994) in order to discuss the construction of identity. Our basic assumption is that identity is not an independent and discrete category, but rather that ‘‘human social identities tend to be indeterminate, situational rather than permanent, dynamically and interactively constructed’’ (Duszak 2002: 2–3). In other words, identity is something that people negotiate and co-construct in interactions, and not something they are. From this perspective, linguistic and conversational humorous choices can be seen as acts of identity, i.e. as discursive strategies by means of which people can construct their situated sense of social identity (see Holmes and Marra 2002a: 378). While humor serves a wide range of functions in everyday social interactions (e.g., Holmes and Marra 2002b), there have been few attempts to study the complex functions of humor in particular social settings ´ s-Conde 1997) and illustrate how humor can be a (see Boxer and Corte ﬂexible discourse strategy to construct speciﬁc aspects of social identities. In relation to these issues, the work of Holmes (2000) and Holmes and Marra (2002a, 2002b) stand out, where the functions of humor are examined mainly within professional workplaces and are contrasted to functions within other types of settings. Regarding the classiﬁcation of humorous functions, an interesting distinction has been put forward by Holmes and Marra (2002b: 70–71), based on a critical discourse analytic approach (e.g., Fairclough 1995); they distinguish
We will present an analysis of that part of our data which we consider revealing for the particular ways in which humor serves as a means of constructing youth identity and we will argue that our young informants build up their humorous narratives around one or more deviations from what they consider to be ‘‘normal’’ behavior. as intended by the speaker(s) to be amusing and perceived to be amusing by at least some participants’’ (2000: 163. In a similar vein. she admits that this is not an objective approach. Holmes supports the claim that humorous utterances are identiﬁed by the analyst ‘‘on the basis of paralinguistic. Various criteria have been proposed to identify humor and humorous utterances in analyzing spontaneous conversational data. therefore. and verbal clues all play an important role in establishing the humorous intention of the speakers. all these paralinguistic and . Deﬁning conversational humor We begin our investigation by discussing the nature of humor and the circumstances under which an utterance (or a text) can be characterized as ‘‘humorous’’. and she adds that background knowledge. 2. However.Identity construction via humor 43 between ‘reinforcing’ and ‘subversive’ humor. We will conclude by suggesting that their humor is mostly (but not exclusively) reinforcing and. audience reaction. that it has a positive e¤ect on the unity and solidarity of the group members through constructing and reinforcing group boundaries. 2001) to an appreciation of the social interaction of everyday talk. we will identify who are the ‘‘incongruous others’’ these young people make fun of. The former reinforces existing power or solidarity relationships. The central aim of this paper is to contribute to this line of research. tone of voice. More speciﬁcally. see also Holmes and Marra 2002a: 380). whereas the latter challenges existing power relationships. 2001: 56). prosodic and discoursal clues. Hay suggests that humor is ‘‘anything the speaker intends to be funny’’ (2000: 715. see next section). we will concentrate on the functions of conversational humor in the oral narratives of a group of young Greek males. By focusing on the target of their humorous extracts (which is one of the six knowledge resources proposed by the GTVH for analyzing humor. by applying the GTVH (see Attardo 1994. Despite their polysemous and multifunctional nature. thus criticizing the deviation(s) presented.
confusion and problem solving are equally possible reactions to incongruity (see Morreall 1983: 19. It seems. Attardo 2003: 1288. More speciﬁcally. therefore. Moreover. Fear. since no interruptions occur (2001: 65). laughter reveals that people choose to adopt a ‘‘playful’’ (i. Morreall 2001: 294. rather than a serious one. a humor researcher has to take into consideration the facts that humor is based on incongruity and that people react to incongruity in various ways. of laughter in the production and/or the reception of humorous . the presence of laughter is used in order to characterize an utterance or a text as humorous (Hay 2001: 56). pity. Laughter may come from the speaker while producing his/her own text or from the audience as a reaction to what is being said. However. Tsakona prosodic devices undoubtedly play an important role in the transmission of the speakers’ humorous intent. that laughter can at least establish a humorous frame of interpretation for the utterance with which it occurs. humorous) attitude towards incongruity. especially when analyzing oral data. Humor does not always result in laughter and laughter is not always an outcome of humor (Attardo 1994: 10–13. The relationship between the two is not a symmetrical one. Archakis and V. only one of which is laughing. Hay claims that the absence of any reaction to humor may imply either support of the speaker’s humorous intent. for the variety and the polysemy of laughter see Poyatos 1993).e.44 A. see next paragraphs) related to laughter. therefore. the absence of laughter is actually one of several possible reactions to humor and does not necessarily mean failure to understand the humorous import of the utterance. By contrast to the above. Schulz 1996: 26–27). disgust. In her analysis of conversational data. a ‘‘methodic device’’ that has to be examined in order to deﬁne how and where it occurs. Moreover. Humor is directly (though not necessarily. but that it is rather a systematic activity. Lewis 1989: 8–11. or understanding but not appreciating the humor in certain cases (2001: 70). indignation.1 The presence. humor researchers have to be careful in the examination of their data since it has been established that the presence of laughter does not necessarily imply the presence of humor. Moreover. It is obvious that laughter should not be overlooked. see also Chapman and Foot 1996: 3. The most common of these devices is laughter. Je¤erson (1985) claims that laughter is not always a matter of ﬂooding out. moral disapprobation. Kottho¤ supports that laughter is ‘‘the contextualization cue for humor par excellence’’ (2000: 64). since it aims at provoking laughter.
In the ﬁrst case. but also to dramatic and conversational texts. The texts in the latter case contain a humorous component and a non-humorous one called serious relief (Attardo 2001: 89). short stories. In sum. A jab line is a word.Identity construction via humor 45 utterances reveals that they are presented and/or perceived as humorous rather than serious. sitcoms. Their main di¤erence is their position: punch lines are always ﬁnal in a humorous text. So far. The GTVH aims at describing and analyzing humorous texts of both types. It may reveal the conversationalists’ intention to face incongruity in a humorous way. Therefore. Attardo claims that ‘‘the GTVH is broadened to include (ideally) all humorous texts. which deﬁnes humor by focusing on the semantic/pragmatic content of humorous utterances and texts and not on their paralinguistic or prosodic aspects. jab lines are semantically identical to punch lines. The ﬁrst class includes texts which are structurally similar to jokes and end with a punch line. laughter is not the only possible reaction to humor. The GTVH suggests that humorous texts are divided in two classes. with stronger emphasis on the second one. the jab line (the ﬁrst one being the punch line). humorous narrative texts longer than jokes. laughter is the ‘‘desired effect’’ of humor. Thus. Speciﬁcally it is not limited to narrative texts. laughter by itself cannot be considered as an adequate criterion for deﬁning a humorous utterance or text. humor is based on the punch line that brings a script opposition2 to the surface and causes the reinterpretation of the whole text (for the deﬁnition and the function of the script opposition in a text. in which there is no narrator (or there isn’t one in the text)’’ (2001: 28). but this is not always the case. see Raskin 1985 and Attardo 2001). 2001). their function is also di¤erent: punch lines disrupt the ﬂow of the humorous text. encoded through words. most importantly. a phrase or a sentence including a script opposition. A di¤erent basis for deﬁning humor and identifying humorous texts is provided by the GTVH (in Attardo 1994. while jab lines may occur in any part of it except for the end. but may be di¤used throughout those texts. such as poems. . The second class includes texts in which humor is not necessarily restricted to their end. This is the reason why Attardo introduces a second kind of humorous line. of any length. (see Attardo 2001). phrases or sentences. In addition. the GTVH has been applied to the analysis of jokes and. To use Norrick’s terms (2000: 172). while jab lines are fully integrated in it and indispensable to the development of its plot (Attardo 2001: 82–83). novels etc.
but no laughter. the logical mechanism. secondary criterion for the characterization of an utterance or a text as humorous. the target. the narrative strategy. activities. . In addition. laughter can be considered as an additional. for the purposes of the present study. our data consist of humorous oral narratives. involving the persons. Archakis and V. presenting the distorted and playful logic that causes the script opposition. at least in the analysis of oral conversational data. the situation. where laughter can be recorded and studied. either in their production or in their reception. places etc.e. Tsakona Both kinds of humorous lines can be analyzed using six knowledge resources: – the script opposition. riddle etc.46 A. see Attardo 2001: 1–28). Since the GTVH has so far been applied exclusively to written narrative material produced by a single narrator. which is responsible for the exact wording of the humorous text (for a detailed discussion of all the knowledge resources. reinforcing its explanatory power. thus. presented in the humorous text. since it reveals the conversationalists’ intention to adopt a humorous attitude towards incongruity. More speciﬁcally. – – – – – In the present study. the presence of laughter (whether produced by the speaker or by the audience) is considered and used as a secondary criterion for the characterization of the oral narratives under investigation as humorous. However. which is the necessary requirement for humor: a humorous text is fully or partially compatible with two di¤erent and opposed scripts (see also Raskin 1985). i. groups or institutions ridiculed by humor. dialogue. were not included into the corpus used for the present study. narratives that contained one or more script oppositions (in the form of jab lines). participants. referring to the text organization of the humorous text (narrative. Therefore. we will use the GTVH in order to deﬁne and analyze humorous utterances coming from natural conversations. script opposition is considered here the necessary prerequisite for humor.). including the objects. we will attempt to take a preliminary step towards broadening the theory’s scope and. To sum up. and the language. spontaneous speech produced by one or more participants in an interaction.
a humorous event may usually be seen as violating the conditions of the real world (or of a world perceived as . the solution of which lies outside the scope of the present study. criterion for identifying humorous narratives. it will be supported that such an approach can reveal important aspects of humor exploitation in the direction of social identity construction.e. Through humor. For practical purposes. to contradict what is expected or normal in given circumstances. The target of humor The general aim of the present study is to analyze data from everyday talk in GTVH terms. The presence of a target in humor implies that humor can be considered as the expression of an aggressive intention. analyst oriented. among others) maintains that laughter results from a comparison between us and the others or between our former self and our present self. i.3 Thus. criterion and the presence of laughter as a more emic. we can apply the old distinction proposed by Pike (1967. The superiority/hostility theory of humor (see Raskin 1985: 36–38. by focusing on the target. one of the knowledge resources proposed by the theory. but one can be relatively certain that the extracts included are intended as humorous. i. more speciﬁcally. In other words.e. Humor (and laughter) occurs when this comparison reveals that we are in some way ‘‘superior’’ to the others or that our present self is ‘‘superior’’ to our former self. Thus. the ‘‘superior’’ person can ‘‘attack’’ and attempt to modify the behavior of the ‘‘inferior’’ one. a humorous event has to deviate from the norm. it should be pointed out that the identiﬁcation of the interpretation processes undertaken by the audience of a humorous narrative is a very di‰cult problem. see also Taylor and Cameron 1987) between ‘‘etic’’ and ‘‘emic’’ analysis to the two criteria already proposed and consider the script opposition as a more etic.e. Since humor is based on incongruity. Attardo 1994: 49–50. We intend to accomplish that by using the GTVH and. i. participant oriented. we adopt a principled analysis using reliable criteria: one may not get all the humor. by analyzing their conversations and their humorous narratives in particular. 3. The more speciﬁc aim is to establish the social identity of a group of adolescents. We assume that a careful examination of the target of these adolescents’ humor would help us establish what it is exactly that they actually laugh at.Identity construction via humor 47 Finally.
In both cases.4 We have examined 30 conversations ranging between 30 and 80 minutes. it becomes a means of attenuated or covert criticism.48 A. Therefore. because they come from a single cohesive group of four young men. whatever causes an incongruity and is attacked via humor for exhibiting this kind of ‘‘inferior’’ behavior. since humor is related to laughter. their common beliefs and norms. come to the surface and humor reinforces the already existing bonds among group members. Moreover. these particular young men are very sensitive in doing in-group identity via humor. people who become targets of humor are presented as being responsible for incongruous/deviant actions. In sum. it attempts to correct in-group behavior in a rather covert manner. Since humor presents (sometimes even highlights) deviation from the norm. Tsakona ‘‘real’’). generally. interlocutors select targets either outside or inside their social group. From these conversations we have extracted 218 humorous narratives (as deﬁned in Attardo 2001. whenever this behavior deviates from what is socially expected or approved. the target of humor may be a person. an institution or. see previous section). As our discussion will show. The data This paper is part of a large-scale ethnographic study of everyday interaction of youth groups in Patras (Greece). humor criticizes the ‘‘other’’ behavior. targeting both out-group persons and institutions and . humor and the target of humor in particular.5 Out of those. which constitute basic aspects of their social identity. It will be shown that. Archakis and V. in the latter case. highlights what is considered ‘‘inappropriate’’ for the members of this group. It will be supported that. Therefore. in the ﬁrst case. 4. humor can actually be used as a means of criticism. 46 were focused upon. In this sense. in our data. this kind of criticism originates in someone who considers him/herself ‘‘superior’’ and is directed towards someone or something considered ‘‘inferior’’. while. Bergson (1998) claims that laughter (which can be directly connected to humor. it is directly related to and results from evaluation or criticism procedures. as mentioned above) has social meaning: it aims at correcting our way of behaving. Conversationalists laugh at the expense of whoever has caused the incongruity with his/her deviant or abnormal behavior or action. Besides. Thus.
The researchers spent two months visiting the school of the informants at least three times per week. Generally speaking. At the same time. During the breaks they tried to get acquainted with the students. since it provided a fairly noise-free environment for the recordings. 20 years old. etc. we will restrict ourselves to this piece of data without making any unwarranted generalizations.e. Since our study is intended to be a small-scale one. They attended the school-courses pretending that they were gathering material for their own university essays. they systematically choose to ‘‘refrain from’’ the way their peers are expected to think and behave. revolving around the school.Identity construction via humor 49 group members. by showing interest in the adolescents’ life and by maintaining a friendly supporting key (Hymes 1974). teachers. as Blum-Kulka points out (1993: 391). the researchers try to keep their conversational contributions down to a minimum. They are also reported to often act in a way that gets them into trouble with their relatives. They spent their leisure time together (mainly weekends). Notice that. as well as the parish priests and the local policemen. exchanging visits. The two conversations last 120 minutes and consist mostly of a succession of narrative performances (as deﬁned in Georgakopoulou 1997). They managed to develop a fairly strong bond with our four informants and tried to become their friends as peripheral members of the same group. In this way the adolescents try to introduce the researchers into their everyday life. The data speciﬁcally analyzed in this paper are humorous narratives coming from two conversations among four young males of 18 and two researchers who are university students of about the same age. dress casually. All their claimed or inferred common beliefs and practices show their common mode of socialization and their shared frames of . the presence of a new audience (in this case the researchers) may sometimes trigger the narration of memories from a shared past. The rock-band they have created is of special importance for them. going out for dinner or for a drink. i. family and religious life of the young friends. Our knowledge about our informants comes from their own linguistic representation of themselves in combination with the researchers’ ethnographic observations about them: we know that they wear their hair long. aiming mainly at testing the GTVH in natural conversations and integrating it with sociopragmatic approaches. schoolmates. The recordings took place in one of the researchers’ home after a long period of frequent interactions. This place was chosen for convenience. wear earrings and badges of rock or punk groups and are usually scru¤y.
and to perform successive narratives with congruent structure and evaluation.50 A. collective action. . therefore. Thus. the four friends form a ‘‘community of practice’’. . More particularly. ‘‘involves a complex array of typical or routine practices. our informants dynamically and selectively invoke elements of their youth (sub)culture in their discourse while doing their group identity (see also Georgakopoulou 1999: 125). the informants deﬁne the characteristics and the behavior of people who do not belong to the same group with them. i. by using implicit or explicit negative evaluation. Such people are usually their relatives. ] and other symbols’’. Archakis and Vrakatseli 2002). in their tales involving ‘‘the real-world building blocks used for the construction of the story’’ (BlumKulka 1993: 364). it will be shown that our informants often select either the ‘‘opponents’’ or themselves to become the targets of their humor. As we will see in the analysis of the data. it has been supported that these adolescents express their identity as group members during their story telling activities. Previous research on these particular conversational data has revealed the correlation between our informants’ discourse behavior and their identity. these adolescents have been found to use ﬁrst-person plural endings. The informants’ appearance. polyphonic ﬂoor full of interruptions. On the other hand. to co-construct their narratives by using a collaborative. a positive politeness orientation (see Brown and Levinson 1987).e. Holmes and Marra 2002a: 379). This (sequential) organization of narratives with a high involvement style and. according to van Dijk (1988: 123). Tsakona identiﬁcation. In what follows. priests or policemen. teachers. we will attempt to describe the way humorous narratives contribute to the construction of our adolescents’ situated sense of group identity and more particularly to the construction of salient social boundaries (cf. reported actions and beliefs indicate a prevalent group identity which. objects [ . by ‘‘the act of narrating in real time. the actual performance of a story before an audience’’ (as deﬁned in Blum-Kulka 1993: 363). who appear in their stories and are portrayed as ‘‘opponents’’. as well as the close-knit relationship developed among them. dress. In these papers. . Archakis and V. Speciﬁcally. presumably indicates that the four adolescents are close friends who share common experiences and values. it has shown how their projected identity was the result of speciﬁc discourse choices (see Archakis 2002. In Eckert and McConnell-Ginet’s terms (1992: 464). since their group is deﬁned simultaneously by its membership and by the practices in which that membership engages.
Almost half of them (22 out of 46. narratives relating authentic personal experiences or recycling a witty story heard elsewhere (for a detailed description. or even ‘‘unknown’’ people who happened to be present when the narrated events took place.Identity construction via humor Table 1. The analysis of the oral humorous narratives All the humorous narratives examined for the purposes of the present paper are personal anecdotes. school in general. Description of the data Narratives including out-group target(s) Narratives including in-group target(s) Narratives including both out-group and in-group targets 3 9 12 51 Total Monologic narratives Co-constructed narratives Total 20 12 32 1 1 2 24 22 46 5. Finally. all of these narratives belong to the second type of humorous texts mentioned in the preceding section: they usually include two or more jab lines. see Norrick 1993: 45–57. it seems that there are two kinds of targets in these adolescents’ humorous narratives: the out-group targets and the in-group ones. in GTVH terms. the Church as an institution. Norrick 1993: 125). their school teachers. or even the narrator himself. In-group targets found in the humorous narratives are present or absent members of the same peer group. No narrative ending with a punch line has been found in our conversational data (cf. some narratives contained more than one in-group or outgroup target and some of them (12 out of 46. All those out-group targeted persons are considered to be the ‘‘opponents’’ for the members of this peer group (see previous section).e. the whole peer group. the priests.6 Furthermore. A close examination of the humor in our data shows that all the humorous utterances included in this corpus have a target. some of their fellow students who do not belong to the same peer group. like the interlocutors’ parents. their relatives. the policemen. . see table 1) contained both kinds of targets at the same time (but not in the same jab lines). i. Moreover. 1994: 412). see table 1) are jointly produced narratives (co-narrations): usually two speakers participate more or less equally in the construction of the narrative (as described in Norrick 1993: 57–59). The out-group targets found in our data are some absent ‘‘others’’.
not to mention that the answer wouldn’t be right anyway/ /13 14 Res. in order to describe the function of the target and of humor in general. it was my ﬁrst class. I was taking a biology test on Monday. Maria. the answer wouldn’t be right anyway Yannis: Sure.7 In example (1). Tsakona Out-group targets We will now present ﬁve of these narratives. one by one/ / Res(earcher)1: Ahaa. hurry up.1: Why didn’t you take it? Couldn’t you do that in view of every one? Yannis: I couldn’t do it. while Nikos and the two researchers comment on various points of the narration. there were me. As the teacher asks me to start writing. on my desk there is only a piece of paper and a pen. The teacher would see me. There is a single out-group target. elliptic circle.52 5. Archakis and V. Filippos and Anna and the teacher puts the three of us at the very back desks. Copy. Yannis is the main narrator. she gives me her whole notebook. he asked Maria to help him: (1) Yannis: Now see.1: ( ) Yannis: Maria. Maria what is elliptic circle? Hurry up Maria. I push her. fuck ( )/ / Yannis: I was absolutely unprepared. she is described as a fairly good student and she does not belong in the speciﬁc peer group. Maria what is the elliptical circle? I asked her. She turns her back on me putting the notebook open on my desk/ /10 Res. for which Yannis came unprepared.9 ((everybody laughs)). take it11 fucking asshole I tell her. During a biology test. Res. what are you doing?12 And then/ / Res. .2: Oooh/ / Yannis: I throw it back to her. I couldn’t hide it. I see the questions on the paper. It was the whole notebook. Maria is one of Yannis’ schoolmates. A. hurry up Maria. Yannis: I sit down and in front of me was Maria/ / Nikos: Oh. she might have written down something else. A very small piece of paper was all I needed.8 And as I am writing now. nothing else. And could you believe it? She passes back to me a small piece of paper and what does she write on it? What do you want.1. she says to me. It seems that Yannis and Nikos do not like her.1: Yes. she says to me and she puts it on my desk and she leaves.
i. nobody else was in the classroom.16 Nikos: ((laughter)) She will tell you later ((laughter))17 Yannis: The bell rings.2: ((laughter)) Oh God. And the teacher can hear her. Although Maria was not sure about what Yannis wanted from her (note 15). The teacher comes in/ / Nikos: ((laughter))/ / Yannis: She ((the teacher)) was behind my back. instead of writing the answer on a small piece of paper and handing it to him furtively (notes 9–12). Me and Maria. she left a notebook on the desk while they were having a test. Maria turns back to me and what does she say to me? Elliptical circle is. needless to say. it is obvious that Maria is a possible target of humor: Nikos’ comment ‘‘Oh fuck’’ at the beginning of the narration indicates that they do not like her. I write to her. while there was actually no time to waste (notes 8.e. the teacher was behind my back. Are you out of your mind. All the jab lines appear to have the same target. Maria (there is a single exception in the jab line analyzed in note 20.19 Res. Maria was sitting in front of me. where the teacher becomes the target of humor. And the teacher has her eyes on her.2: ( ) Yannis: Though I was trying to write. Res.21 well she is absolutely mad. 16 and 17). and I say to myself let her talk and she had turned behind without the teacher seeing her and she keeps on saying. the teacher is also an out-group target). talking. And what does she say to me? I’ll tell you later. The audience seems to agree on the selection of the main target by making humorous contributions to the narrative (notes 14 and 17) and also by . talking and the teacher is watching her. she ﬁnally gave him the correct answer while the teacher was near them and was watching them (notes 18.18 ((laughter from the audience)). I was the only one. 19 and 21). I throw the pen and I sit like this.20 Elliptical circle is the cells which cause this ee:: e: and she keeps on talking. while Maria hasn’t realized what is going on. Yannis and one of the researchers also think that Maria would not know the correct answer anyway (notes 13 and 14). The analysis of the jab lines found in this narrative suggests that the humor is based on Maria’s incongruous actions: she was slow to give an answer to Yannis.Identity construction via humor 53 why are you bothering me?15 Please stop doing that. write down what is an elliptical circle. Even before the ﬁrst humorous utterance (see note 8). Maria was still in the classroom.
ﬁrst of all. describes the way Yannis’ uncle and father behaved when the Ecumenical Patriarch had visited Patras. secondly. on the excessive enthusiasm of Yannis’ uncle to get close to the Patriarch and touch him (notes 22–24). a jointly constructed narrative by Yannis and Nikos. crawling through the feet of the policemen22 and/ / Nikos: pushing forward 23 Yannis: tearing down24 ( ) doing all sorts of crap and he comes up to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Thus. It therefore includes two out-group targets: (2) Nikos: His uncle/ who was the one that/ / Yannis: Well my uncle/ the Ecumenical Patriarch had come to Patras a month or so ago and/ my uncle was going to Saint-Andreas church and as he was trying to get into the church. Another script opposition emerges from the fact that both Yannis’ uncle and father treat the Patriarch as if he were a saint (notes 25– 27) and they appear to believe that they will be blessed only by touching him and then by touching each other in order to ‘‘share’’ the blessing (notes 28 and 29). really? Give me some. The co-narration of the story in example (2) indicates that at least two members of the group . ah he says to him I touched/ I touched the Ecumenical Patriarch.54 A. you mean. that the participants display and reinforce their common beliefs by commenting on the narrative and by showing their agreement with the narrator’s choice of target. and he moves.27 I got holiness. Yannis: On Channel Super B.V. Our next example (2). it can be argued.26 Yannis: Well. they align themselves with the narrator’s view about her behavior. a lot of security. and I see my uncle now/ / Nikos: On T. will you 29 ((laughter)) The humor of narrative (2) is based. he touches him and starts crossing himself like this / /25 Nikos: As if the Patriarch were God himself. Archakis and V. that the narrator evaluates the behavior of an out-group person via humor and. y’ know some two days later my father bumps into my uncle. Therefore.28 And my father goes like this. Tsakona laughing at Maria’s ‘‘incompetence’’. Thus. Yannis and Nikos seem to think that this kind of behavior is incongruous and worth laughing at. they ridicule two respectable ﬁgures and appear to challenge their status. well all around there was a regular crowd of policemen. ﬁrstly.
well guys. the common targets of humor are chosen by more than one of the participants who build their contributions collaboratively. i. we reach the church. can’t you see that? 35 What’s that you are saying guys. do wake up. I don’t know what was wrong with him. like teachers (see also example 5).36 Nikos: ((laughter)) . please we are for the holy bread. Nikos and Yannis become co-narrators: (3) Nikos: Well. this can’t be Jesus.Identity construction via humor 55 agree on their evaluation regarding the behavior of the out-group targets. In our data all four friends were found to criticize in a humorous manner the ‘‘incompetent’’. so does Kostas.e. In such cases. such a big icon where Jesus was not on the cruciﬁx/ / Yannis: It was Jesus with the mantle. we squeeze through32 and we cross ourselves and get to the icon of Jesus. how shall we get in we wonder. I see Yannis: The stick/ well where he holds the lance and seems to be leaning forward somehow. ((and we tell him)) Yannis you go ﬁrst and tell them that we are members of Saint-Andreas church / /30 Yannis: Please.2. y’ know. the holy wreath Res.: I see. where one or more in-group targets are present in a single oral narrative. how shall we get in. ‘‘ignorant’’ or ‘‘deviant’’ behavior of outgroup ﬁgures of respect and/or authority. priests and policemen (cf. it’s Jesus Christ I tell him. asking loudly in the middle of the church of Saint-Andreas who on earth is this?33 The asshole was confused. there is a crowd all around. The following narrative (3) refers to the way some members of the group behaved while attending mass at church. pondering over the blood. the old ladies open up a passage by falling back one upon another. actually a very large crowd. and I hear now Nikos. So I go and kiss the icon. Schrauf 2000: 131). he hadn’t realized it was Jesus [Christ]34 Nikos: [((laughter))] Yannis: You asshole I tell him. 5. In-group targets We will now present cases where one or more members of the group become the targets of humor. let us through / /31 Nikos: Now hear this.
we should have special instruments / / [to] .39 The script oppositions in (3) are based on the following facts: ﬁrstly. Archakis and V. you are really a nice group. sure. the in-group target of humor and the laughter caused by it eventually highlight the intimacy shared by the group members and the safety they feel while ‘‘attacking’’ their friend’s deviant behavior. no in-group targeted humor actually results in a row or a ﬁght between the group members. Since one or more group members laugh at the expense of another one (whether absent or present). Therefore. Nikos. it shows that the bonds between the group members are so strong that they cannot be threatened by such an evaluation or criticism. the young men pretend to be carrying holy bread. the absence of a quarrel does not mean that humor loses its evaluative force (as described above).K.. In jab lines 30–32.1: O. one of them. Boxer and Corte 2000: 174). Sometimes the whole group becomes the target of humor. who is also a co-narrator and is actually recorded to be laughing at himself. Their common features and actions are presented in the narrative and become the source of humor. However.56 A. the thing is in the school celebration you didn’t sound too good. does not recognize Christ’s ﬁgure on an icon (notes 33–39). you asshole. The most important aspect in such cases is the fact that. However. Holmes also Norrick 1993: 56–57. a group member.37 Nikos: I was stuck.. secondly. Conversationalists who share an intimate relationship commonly use humor in their attempt to correct or modify each other’s behavior without jeopardizing the already existing close relationship (see ´ s-Conde 1997: 280. This can be illustrated in following narrative (4). Tsakona Yannis: Look man I tell him. which is about the friends’ musical performance at a school event: (4) Res. On the contrary. in the majority of jab lines (notes 33–39). Nikos: I’ll go have a second look. there is an out-group target of humor. it’s Jesus all right. since the adolescents laugh at the people they tried to fool by pretending to be carrying holy bread. in order to pass through the crowd and get inside the over-crowded church (notes 30–32). the target is Nikos. Nikos: O. man!38 Yannis: It was Jesus Christ. a quarrel would be a possible and even expected outcome if the participants were not close friends but some socially unintegrated individuals.K. at least in our data. and he stood gaping.
well we did perform this one perfectly. the teacher came up to me/ / Nikos: Hm. Finally.40 in the second piece I don’t know what actually happened. The third script opposition (note 42) is based on the fact that the third song was well performed. hm ((the teacher)) of English/ / Yannis: of English Res. In these jab lines. but the singer couldn’t be heard/ / Res.1: ((laughter)) In GTVH terms. Yannis relates a funny incident involving his teacher of English and himself. This can be illustrated in narrative (5). in the ﬁrst piece one of the guitars was out and we didn’t ﬁnish the song properly.e. Nikos contributes to the narration (but not to the humor of the story) by adding some details of the narrated event: (5) Yannis: Well.2: [yes] Nikos: [Mmm] Res. Thus.2: The guy who was singing/ / Res.1: [of course] Res.K. I couldn’t hold the tempo ((of the guitar)) properly. which is about a school visit to the new Metro of Athens. the whole group becomes the target of humor and the narrator focuses on the shared experience and responsibility for what happened.1: You could be heard all right. he is conﬁrming and strengthening the bonds between the group members.42 but I don’t know how this happened. even though everybody had fears for the opposite. Res.. there are a number of narratives where the narrator becomes the target of humor. he is ‘‘attacking’’ himself in a typical self-disparaging manner. and that the audience wou/ would boo us. although one of the guitars was broken (note 40) and the guitarist was out of tempo (note 41).41 Res.1: She had come along?? .1: Well. what a funny turn. Nikos: Well.1: ((laughter)) Res. i. Anastasopoulou.2: And what about the third song/ / Nikos: We were afraid that the third song would be a total disaster. the ﬁrst two script oppositions are based on the fact that the sound of the group playing was good.Identity construction via humor 57 Res. but I had my ﬁngers benumbed and I couldn’t play. you ((the musicians)) were O.
44 please.58 A. out with it. I don’t know. you know. The analysis of the jab lines shows that example (5) contains both kinds of target: the narrator’s teacher is the out-group target (notes 44. I am hungry now. I say.1: ((laughter)) The jab lines in narrative (5) are based on the following script oppositions: the student chewed his ticket.2: Poor teacher/ / Res.47 why didn’t you buy me anything to eat. I practically ate the whole thing / /43 Res. he also spoke to his teacher very rudely while at the same time trying to make fun of her (notes 44–45). 49. he threatened to eat her so as to appease his pangs of hunger (note 50).49 go away I tell her or I’ll eat you up. while he still needed to use it in the Metro (notes 43 and 46).1: You mean you swallowed it? Yannis: No/ / Nikos: He spat it out. I get onto the Metro and start chewing it.50 I am starving. she says. rather than having made his own arrangements (note 48) and.45 I saw you spitting she says. she says/ / Res.1: ( ) Yannis: So upon getting o¤ on arrival. she says ( ) in front of the ﬁrst graders ((in a low voice)). and how are we supposed to get back. You gonna say some crap again. and I didn’t like it at all. it wasn’t me spitting I say. Tsakona Yannis: [Well I in the mean time] Nikos: [yes] Yannis: Well I in the meantime I had that return ticket. man. Res. after about a quarter the teacher comes up to me. I spit it all out. and 51). errh. 46–49 and 51).46 the ticket she says. and she says to me. Yannis I think I saw something. ﬁnally. he claimed he had expected from his teacher to provide food for him. in front of quite a crowd of ﬁrst graders. After. starving / /51 Res. 45 and 50). I just ate the ticket. his excuse for chewing the ticket was that he was very hungry and he wanted to satisfy his appetite (notes 47. I was hungry. Come on now I say. she says I think I saw something she says. I am famished. I tell her. All these script oppositions form the humorous component of this oral narrative.48 I was hungry. It is obvious that humor allows conversationalists to show that they can laugh . and he himself is the in-group one (notes 43.1: ( )/ / Yannis: No. Archakis and V.
relatives. In this way. namely a means of ‘‘delegitimating’’ the ﬁgures that are invested with power in the status quo (cf. And to the extent that a group values humor. since the narrator makes everybody laugh at his own abnormal behavior by relating his story.Identity construction via humor 59 not only with what other people do. Since in our data the ‘‘others’’ are usually ﬁgures of respect and/or authority (e. humor can bring the group members closer to each other. humor which challenges the status quo. Discussion Based on the analysis above we can argue that our young informants use conversational humor as a means for the construction of their identity. In this sense. where the participants build on the contribution of others. . So. we have to make clear that. good students. this sort of out-group targeting humor becomes a discourse device encoding critical intent. through laughter or through their contribution to the current narrative (in cases of conarrations). are found in out-group targeting (see table 1). using Holmes and Marra’s term (2002b: 70). but also with their own incongruous actions. in our data the reinforcing-solidarity function of outgroup targeting humor is gained via ridiculing the ‘‘others’’. Consequently. It should be stressed here that most of the co-constructed humorous narratives. As Boxer and Corte ‘‘what makes us part of an in-group is having in common an ‘out-group’ ’’ (1997: 283). priests). the ‘‘others’’ are ridiculed via humor.e. van Dijk 1988: 259). However. humor enables conversationalists to express and verify their beliefs and values and to present their social identity in a pleasant and amusing way. see table 1) highlights the kinds of behavior these adolescents do not accept or strongly disapprove of. the humorist is in a much safer position. Thus. On the other hand. the acceptance of humor targets by the rest of the participants. indicates the group membership of these adolescents. Holmes 2000: 169). since the focus of humor is not a present participant. teachers. its e¤ective selfdeprecatory use can add to a person’s prestige (cf. From this perspective we can characterize this kind of humor as ‘‘subversive humor. our young informants do collegiality by laughing at the respectable and authoritative ´ s-Conde point out. ﬁgures outside their peer group. parents. More speciﬁcally.g.’’ i. the humor targeting out-group people and institutions (prevailing in our data. policemen.
despite its critical load. Holmes (2000: 174). It seems that this feeling of bonding between group members gives them the opportunity to shoot their humorous ‘‘arrows’’ even towards their fellow participants. Tsakona In-group members also become the target of humor. the in-group targeting humor between the equal members of our group. and b) as a positive politeness strategy (see Brown and . Holmes 2000). in-group targeting humor can encode critical evaluation or corrective intent regarding the assumed as deviant behavior of the co-present friends without risk. In this way humor becomes a means of attenuated or covert criticism. even if there is aggression in the message. it is expected to threaten his positive face (Brown and Levinson 1987) or that of someone else from the same group. since they do not result in a rude or violent reaction by anyone of the participants in none of the humorous narratives of our data including in-group targets. a ﬂexible device for reconciling criticism with solidarity. However. Hence. it is evident in that. by adding an amusing tone in the conversation (see among others Pizzini 1991: 477. In-group targets are not preferred in our data and usually are co-present with out-group targets in the same narrative (see table 1). of special importance is the fact that. there is some sort of ‘‘showing o¤ ’’ of the unity and solidarity of the group. the identity of our young informants as members of this particular group is also strengthened in a very interesting way: As the narrator’s target comes from inside the group. most of all. In such cases. where the co-narrators capitalize on their common background and beliefs. in our data. after all. This is evident in the cases of the co-constructed narratives.60 A. in-group targets cooccur with out-group targets (see table 1). by raising and reinforcing the already existing bonds between them. In addition. humor can function at least in two parallel and opposing ways: a) as a device of criticism towards people either inside or outside the group. But.e. suggests that ‘‘[ jocular] insults between those who know each other well are also signals of solidarity and markers of in-group membership (i. Archakis and V. most of the times. and. there is solidarity in the humorous meta-message. Therefore. elaborating on a similar issue. In Norrick’s terms (1994: 423. in our data. the risk of ‘‘attacking’’ a group member is balanced out through the common ‘‘attack’’ at an ‘‘opponent’’. the humorous ‘‘shots’’ seem to be blank. ‘we know each other well enough to insult each other without causing o¤ence’)’’ (see also Antonopoulou and Siﬁanou 2003). In this case. 2003). To sum up. at the same time. has a positive inﬂuence on the unity and solidarity of the group.
Identity construction via humor 61 Levinson 1987) reinforcing the group bonds.e. the threat is avoided due to the raised protective solidarity among the four friends (cf. 2002b. hence. More generally. as a frame in which our social roles are realized and our identities are displayed’’. namely by elaborating on the characteristics of its target. 2000. Hay 2001. Concluding remarks Previous research on conversational humor has come to conclusions relevant and similar to ours (see Pizzini 1991. Holmes 2000. The reinforcing-solidarity function of humor is closely related to and actually results from the critical function: When the target is a respectable or authoritative person or an institution outside the group. i. Norrick 1993. The critical function of humor highlights the deviation that can be observed inside or outside the group and. When the target is a person inside the group. and secondly for analyzing such utterances in a principled manner. Furthermore. but also to oral. these ﬁndings seem to reveal how humorous narratives can function as an index of the identity of the narrators. The present study attests that the GTVH can actually be applied not only to written texts. 1994. Kottho¤ 1999. what is said about inclusive and exclusive humor in Attardo 1994: 50). this new approach constitutes an important heuristic tool for describing the social meaning and function of humor more accurately. and Corte Holmes and Marra 2002a. The GTVH forms a useful tool ﬁrstly for recognizing humorous utterances or turns on the basis of their semantic/pragmatic content rather than their paralinguistic features. And it is this knowledge resource that can reveal the ´ s-Conde’s (1997) terms — ‘‘bonding’’ and ‘‘biting’’ — in Boxer and Corte function of humor. conversational data. indicates what is considered ‘‘accepted’’ behavior by the humorist(s). . Boxer ´ s-Conde 1997. which renders it a very ﬂexible device for the construction of participants’ identity. ‘‘forces us to attend to speech activities. the young friends form a unity against this particular person or institution. and to the interactions in which they are situated. However. This analysis. their views of themselves and of others as situated in a social structure (cf. as Schi¤rin (1996: 199) would claim. 199). 7. namely as a linguistic lens through which to discover peoples’ portraits. Schi¤rin 1996: 170. what we propose in the present paper is a new methodology for analyzing humorous conversational data. among others).
and proves to be a very e‰cient means for the participants to construct their situated sense of social identity. and Anna Roussou for reading an earlier version of this paper. the GTVH not only succeeds in describing the cognitive nature of humor (i. The selection between the two modes depends on the social context in which this reality is to be constructed and/or interpreted. 1. incongruity theory and superiority/hostility theory. not the ‘‘actual concrete’’ interpretation of a humorous text. humor as incongruity). we have focused on the target as the most useful knowledge resource for our purposes. Mulkay (1988) argues that there are two distinct ways to construct and interpret reality: the humorous mode and the serious mode.e. This social corrective function of humor emerges clearly from the study of the target knowledge resource. are actually combined in the GTVH frame of analysis. Stella Lambropoulou. University of Patras University of Athens Notes Correspondence address: tsakona@hol. The GTVH emphasizes the ‘‘potential’’ production/ interpretation. humor reveals information regarding the humorists’ shared beliefs and values. The terms ‘‘incongruity’’ and ‘‘script opposition’’ have practically the same meaning in this context. but can also highlight at least some of its social aspects (i. In other words. 2001: 30). humor as hostility or social corrective). the application of the GTVH to the analysis of conversational data can actually be a systematic theoretical tool for analyzing data and lead to some very interesting conclusions regarding the use of humor in natural settings and interactions.gr The authors wish to thank Eleni Antonopoulou for insightful discussions. it is neither . Tsakona In our research. Script-based theories for humor (the GTVH included) have been classiﬁed as incongruity theories (Attardo 1994: 49).e. This perspective is compatible with Attardo’s claims about the GTVH. namely that this is ‘‘a theory of the speakers competence [in the Chomskyan sense] at producing/ interpreting longer humorous texts. Consequently. hence. Thus. distinguishes between what our young informants consider ‘‘appropriate’’ behavior from what they consider ‘‘inappropriate’’ behavior. not a theory of their performance doing so’’ (italics in the original. i. 3.e.62 A. because it brings the evaluative dimension of humor to the surface and. 2. Archakis and V. the anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions and Athena Apostolou-Panara. Our socio-linguistic perspective reveals that two basic theories of humor.
NS: audience’s comment. SO: normal/abnormal. . SO: normal/abnormal. See note 9. SI: Yannis asked for Maria’s help in a biology test. 10. Maria should give the answer quickly/Maria does not reply immediately. LA: irrelevant. LM: faulty reasoning. in this paper we focus on the humorous narratives. Especially the script opposition knowledge resource is directly related to the content of the butt of the joke. see also fantasy humor in Hay 2001). However. TA: Maria. SO: normal/abnormal. See note 8. Maria understands what Yannis wants/Maria does not understand what Yannis wants. TA for ‘‘target’’. 7. 14. 12. NS: narration. 13. LA: irrelevant. LM: faulty reasoning. 9. 17. SI: Yannis asked for Maria’s help in a biology test. SI for ‘‘situation’’. NS for ‘‘narrative strategy’’ and LA for ‘‘language’’. LM: juxtaposition. All the jab lines included in the ﬁve humorous narratives presented in this paper are marked in italics in the text and they are deﬁned and analyzed in the notes following the GTVH (as presented in Attardo 2001). 11. NS: narration. and irony. Attardo uses the following abbreviations for the six knowledge resources analyzing humor: SO for ‘‘script opposition’’. see also Attardo 2003). LA: irrelevant. TA: Maria. 15. TA: Maria. LA: irrelevant. 5. humorous ﬁctionalization (as described in Kottho¤ 1999. LM: ignoring the obvious. TA: Maria. Karatheodoris. LA: irrelevant. SI: co-text. LM for ‘‘logical mechanism’’. SO: normal/abnormal. it should be noted that the target is considered to be an ‘‘optional parameter’’ (Attardo 2001: 23–24). Maria knew the answer/Maria would not know the answer. NS: narration. The narratives presented are translated from Greek by the authors. thus contributing to a systematic. 16.Identity construction via humor 63 4. SO: actual/non actual. Maria should give the answer quickly/Maria does not reply immediately. Maria knew the answer/Maria would not know the answer. 6. It should be noted that the careful analysis and identiﬁcation of the knowledge resources other than the target also contribute to the clear appreciation of the target of humor. NS: narration. TA: Maria. LM: juxtaposition. LM: faulty reasoning. This project (K. principled analysis of what participants laugh at. TA: Maria. SI: co-text. SI: co-text. However. NS: audience’s comment. SI: co-text. SO: actual/non actual. NS: narration. LA: irrelevant. SI: co-text. LA: irrelevant. LM: juxtaposition. Maria should tell him the answer/Maria leaves a notebook on his desk. 2425) is funded by the Research Committee of the University of Patras (Greece). See note 9. There were also teases. SO: normal/abnormal. It should be pointed out that the humorous narratives on which our analysis has been based were not the only humorous genres found in our data. For the transcription of our data. a theory of the audience nor a theory of the speaker (Attardo 2001: 30–35. we use the following conventions: / / / [xzx] ( ) ((xzx)) indicates interruption indicates self-correction indicates simultaneous talk indicates the incomprehensible parts of utterances includes comments of the authors 8. Yannis uses the notebook/Yannis throws the notebook back at her. TA: Maria.
LM: ignoring the obvious. SO: actual/non actual. 19. SI: co-text. 20. LM: false analogy. LA: irrelevant. i. SO: actual/non actual. TA: Yannis’ uncle. our group members might have acted as authors. NS: narration. NS: narration. NS: narration. See note 18. 27. In other words.e. TA: people around them. NS: narration. it is possible that the father is sharing the uncle’s beliefs about holiness. LA: irrelevant. conversationalists often make fun of their relatives who are (or are presented to be) conservative.64 A. Andreas’ church/they pretended to be from St. NS: narration. See note 33. . SI: co-text. LA: irrelevant. See note 25. LA: irrelevant. It should be noted here that. LM: reasoning from false premises. Archakis and V. Tsakona 18. 24. as persons who edit the story by re-sequencing the events and shaping the dialogues (cf. holiness is not contagious/holiness is contagious. 36.e. in order to ridicule the religious and superstitious behavior of the uncle more e¤ectively. in our data. Andreas’ church. In other words. TA: Nikos. SO: actual/non actual. LA: irrelevant. normal behavior/exaggerated behavior. LM: exaggeration. people recognize Christ’s ﬁgure/Nikos did not recognize it. TA: teacher. they were not from St. 23. See note 22. SO: normal/abnormal. 26. In this case. the Ecumenical Patriarch is human/the Ecumenical Patriarch is God. Thus. it is not impossible for the two narrators to construct a ﬁgure in such a way that s/he can support their own communicative point. SI: the adolescents tried to enter a very crowded church. group members do not usually share their relatives’ and teachers’ beliefs and attitudes. religious and superstitious people. LA: irrelevant. NS: narration. they might have constructed the father’s ﬁgure and words in line with their own way of thinking. SI: co-text. SI: co-text. See note 33. Maria should give the answer while not attracting the teacher’s attention/Maria talks to Yannis while the teacher is watching them. SO: actual/non actual. Nevertheless. However. See note 25. The anonymous reviewers pointed out that another interpretation of this jab line is more likely: not only the two narrators. LM: reasoning from false premises. SI: co-text. 34. LA: irrelevant. In this context. SO: actual/non actual. 25. See note 30. the only out-group target is the uncle and the two narrators happen to agree with the father’s assessment. See note 33. but also the father may be laughing at the uncle’s behavior. 22. See note 18. 32. 28. TA: Yannis’ uncle. SI: Yannis’ uncle wanted to get close to the Ecumenical Patriarch. Maria should give the answer while not attracting the teacher’s attention/Maria talks to Yannis while the teacher is watching them. holiness is not contagious/holiness is contagious. LM: ignoring the obvious. SO: actual/non actual. NS: narration. 21. 30. 33. 29. LM: exaggeration. NS: narration. See note 22. it should be taken into account that. i. LA: irrelevant. in the rest of our data. TA: Yannis’ uncle. TA: Maria. 35. SO: normal/abnormal. 31. Go¤man 1981: 144–5). that he is being serious in asking the uncle for holiness. LM: ignoring the obvious. SI: co-text. our analysis is based on the assumption that the father and the uncle have common beliefs and attitudes. See note 30. TA: Yannis’ uncle and father.
Eleni. and Maria Siﬁanou 2003 Conversational dynamics of humour: The telephone game in Greek. LM: reasoning from false premises. Argiris 2002 Narrative and identity: Evidence from the analysis of youth conversations [in Greek]. 43. TA: Yannis. 29–50. NS: narration. 2001 Humorous Texts: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis. normal/abnormal. Argiris. SI: co-text. 2003 Introduction: The pragmatics of humor. LM: reasoning from false premises. NS: narration. LA: irrelevant. SI: co-text. LA: irrelevant. NS: narration. 49. NS: narration. 39. LA: irrelevant. TA: teacher. 137–154. LM: exaggeration. SI: the rock group played in a school celebration. SI: co-text. 46. LA: irrelevant. See note 44. people eat food when hungry/Yannis wanted to eat his teacher. SI: co-text. people recognize Christ’s ﬁgure/Nikos did not recognize it. NS: narration. LM: contradiction. 41. they expected the third song to be a disaster/the third song was well performed. normal/abnormal. LA: irrelevant. NS: statement. 42. LM: reasoning from false premises. LM: reversal. SO: normal/abnormal. 1287– 1294. 51. TA: teacher. NS: narration. SO: normal/abnormal. 40. SI: the teacher tells Yannis o¤. Salvatore 1994 Linguistic Theories of Humor. people do not eat tickets/Yannis ate his ticket. 48. TA: Nikos. Archakis. LA: irrelevant.Identity construction via humor 65 37. the group’s sound was very good/the guitar was broken. 38. SO: normal/abnormal. TA: the group. . LA: irrelevant. 741–769. Attardo. LM: reasoning from false premises. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. See note 33. 44. TA: the group. SO: normal/abnormal. TA: Yannis. TA: Yannis. Journal of Pragmatics 35 (5). SI: co-text. SI: co-text. See note 47. Glossa 55. LM: exaggeration. NS: narration. students speak politely to their teachers/Yannis spoke to her rudely. LA: irrelevant. LM: contradiction. SO: normal/abnormal. NS: narration. 50. References Antonopoulou. TA: the group. and Soﬁa Vrakatseli 2002 The contextual identiﬁcation of interruptions: Evidence from the analysis of youth conversations [in Greek]. See note 43. Glossologia 14. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 47. See note 38. SO: normal/abnormal. SI: co-text. people eat food when hungry/Yannis ate his ticket. the sound of the group was very good/the guitarist was out of tempo. Yannis should have bought himself something to eat/Yannis expected his teacher to buy him something to eat. Journal of Pragmatics 35 (9). See note 47. 45. SO: normal/abnormal. LA: irrelevant. Archakis.
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