Download Playing with words : humour in the English language by Barry J. Blake PDF

By Barry J. Blake

Humour permeates our lives. humans inform jokes, make puns, and interact in witty banter. there's written humour in headlines and captions, in advertisements, on symptoms, t-shirts, and bumper stickers, and within the kind of graffiti. these days humour is obtainable on the net and circulated via electronic mail.

twiddling with phrases indicates how each side of language is exploited for humour. while a observe has a number of meanings or appears like one other is the root for puns (A boiled egg is tough to beat). The word-building principles are used for smart compounds, clever blends and catchy words as in 'circulated by way of be aware of mouse'. Ambiguities within the syntax find the money for extra scope for humour (Miners refuse to paintings after death), and the sounds of phrases might be exploited in funny verse. there's additionally humour to be present in slips of the tongue, malapropisms, and humorous misspellings.

twiddling with phrases additionally covers the subject material of humour and the half it performs in society. it truly is an educated account in non-technical language, jam-packed with examples, a booklet to be learn for info and for enjoyable

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Extra resources for Playing with words : humour in the English language

Sample text

Excessive drinking was probably more common in the past than it is now after many campaigns to curb driving under the influence. It has been common to boast about one’s capacity to drink and how one drank to excess, with expressions like, ‘I was bloody legless’. There are tales of drink-related mishaps such as the story of the man who went home drunk and got up during the night and peed in the closet—the closet, not the water-closet. Popular butts for humour include mothers-in-law and lawyers. Mother-in-law jokes have a natural basis.

But some Church Fathers condemned humour more widely, and not surprisingly the rules of various religious orders have prohibited laughter. Some theologians pointed out that there is no record of Jesus Christ ever laughing, but I suspect Jesus was in fact a bit of a wit. His words ‘Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel’ (Matthew 23 : 24) involve a play on galma ‘gnat’ and gamla ‘camel’ in Aramaic. Likewise, there is some humour in the Old Testament. ’ Nine months later Sarah has a son, and they name him Isaac, which means ‘laughs’.

It is accompanied by various conventions that range from announcing toasts and clinking glasses to arrangements for who pays. Although not a particularly salient subject for jokes, drinking is the focus for a lot of light-hearted raillery. In the first (authentic) example ‘he’ sees ‘her’ open a bottle 36 PLAYING WITH WORDS of port and pour a drink. He goes away and returns a little over an hour later and notices the bottle is half empty. He (disingenuously): Did you spill the bottle? She: No. They’re not filling them the way they used to.

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