Article published in:Metapragmatics of Humor: Current research trends
Edited by Leonor Ruiz-Gurillo
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature 14] 2016
► pp. 127–143
A look at metalinguistic jokes based on intentional morphological reanalysis
This chapter analyses metalinguistic jokes produced by intentional morphological reanalysis, particularly, those which involve intentional morphological misinterpretations of morphemes or word parts. One single morpheme or word may be decomposed into pseudo-morphemes, through what Guiraud (1976) calls “defunctionalization” of language, which most often become fully meaningful and transparent due to their formal identity with an already existent free morpheme. Consequently, new, potential and highly motivated words are created with humorous purposes. In our sample, the manipulation and reinterpretation of the a priori indivisible word structures are supported by the existence of, mainly, homophones and paronyms, graphic marks and, less frequently, by slight spelling changes, e.g. Q: What do you give a skeleton for Valentine’s Day? A: Bone-bones in a heart-shaped box.
Keywords: metalinguistic jokes, morphological reanalysis, intentional morphological misinterpretation, ambiguity, word play
Published online: 24 November 2016
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