Edited by Villy Tsakona and Jan Chovanec
[Topics in Humor Research 7] 2018
► pp. 205–228
Chapter 9. No child’s play
A philosophical pragmatic view of overt pretense as a vehicle for conversational humor
This chapter sheds some light on the different interpretations of the notion of pretense across disciplines. Attention is paid primarily to the pragmatic and philosophical literature where pretense is used with regard to two linguistic notions: irony and deception. These are here conceptualized as overt pretense and covert pretense respectively. Both of these may serve humorous purposes. The principal objective of this chapter is to examine the interface between overt pretense and conversational humor, including humorous irony. This is done by critically revisiting the relevant literature on humorous pretense and by elucidating a number of forms and specific mechanisms such humor may take, as well as functions it may perform. The discussion is illustrated with extracts taken from the American television series House. This chapter thus tacitly supports the idea of verisimilar language use in fictional interactions.
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