Conversational Humour and (Im)politeness
A pragmatic analysis of social interaction
Conversational Humour and (Im)politeness is the first systematic study that offers a socio-pragmatic perspective on humorous practices such as teasing, mockery and taking the piss and their relation to (im)politeness. Analysing data from corpora, reality television and interviews in Australian and British cultural contexts, this book contributes to cross-cultural and intercultural research on humour and its role in social interaction. Although, in both contexts, jocular verbal practices are highly valued and a positive response – the ‘preferred reaction’ – can be expected, the conceptualisation of what is seen as humorous can vary, especially in terms of what ‘goes too far’. By examining how attempts at humour can occasion offence, presenting a distinction between ‘frontstage’ and ‘backstage’ perceptions of jocularity and looking at how language users evaluate jocular behaviours in interaction, this study shows how humour and (im)politeness are co-constructed and negotiated in discourse. This book will be of interest to scholars and students in pragmatics, conversational humour, (im)politeness, intercultural communication, discourse analysis, television studies and interaction in English-speaking contexts.
[Topics in Humor Research, 8] 2019. xi, 274 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Meanwhile in the world of (im)politeness
Chapter 3. Data: From corpora to reality television to interviews
Chapter 4. Conversational humour: Jocular verbal behaviours
Chapter 5. Jocular verbal behaviours in Australian and British cultural contexts
Chapter 6. Frontstage and backstage reactions to jocularity
Chapter 7. Negative evaluations of jocularity
Chapter 8. Interviewees’ attitudes to jocularity
Chapter 9. Conclusions
“There are far too many studies that talk the talk (blind us with yet more theoretical notions and terms) without walking the walk (doing the necessary empirical footwork). This study, couched in lucid prose, brilliantly does both. Focusing on humour in interactions, it eclectically combines theory from (im)politeness and humour research, and drives it all robustly forward with data from corpora, reality television discourse and qualitative interviewing. Trailblazing, to say the least!”
Jonathan Culpeper, Lancaster University
“This book offers fascinating insights into British and Australian jocular practices based on interviews and the discourse of reality television shows, an excellent source of publically available natural language data. I highly recommend Valeria Sinkeviciute’s work to everybody interested in cross-cultural and inter-cultural studies on conversational humour and (im)politeness.”
Marta Dynel, University of Lodz
“In this thoroughly empirical study of phenomena at the crossroads of humor and politeness, Valeria Sinkeviciute shows how interpretations of verbal behavior can go in different directions, even at the same time, and for the same participants, at different levels of publicness. Her work makes it impossible for pragmaticians to avoid thinking about meaning in terms of meaning potential.”
Jef Verschueren, University of Antwerp
“To conclude, this work is a very welcome addition to the field of interactional pragmatics, and constitutes an engaging, well-structured discussion of the data at hand. This book will be of interest to those who study pragmatics or intercultural communication, whether they be seasoned academics or undergraduate students who are new to either linguistics or media studies.”
Alexandra Krendel, Lancaster University, Corpus Pragmatics 2020
“The volume covers a wide range of relevant issues that may ring a bell for other researchers in the field to further investigate building on its invaluable findings. The book is highly recommended as a resource to departments that include pragmatic and sociolinguistic studies in their programs. It is useful for those who seek elaborative writing on humor and its interpretation across cultures. The book also has a rich reference list of numerous related studies, which are worthwhile to read on the topic.”
Rashad Ahmed, Miami University of Ohio, on Linguist List 31.2286 (16 July 2020)
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