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Academic Paper

Title: The Pragmatics Of Cartoons: The interaction of bystander humorosity vs. agent-patient humorosity
Paper URL:
Author: Ulas Basar Gezgin
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Middle East Technical University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Pragmatics; Semantics
Abstract: The pragmatic analysis of cartoons poses numerous difficulties for theoretical pragmatics as well as applied areas. There have been theoretical, pragmatic and experimental studies to uncover the quality of humors, but there is neither a theory specifically designed to account for the source and degree of humorosity in cartoons nor a general theory applicable to the domain of cartoons. Yet three models are prevalent in humor research: the first model (the script-based semantic theory of humor; SSTH) addresses what makes a text humorous and a cognitivistic account mobilizing the notion of scripts and script opposition. The second model (Setup, Incongruity, Resolution; SIR) which dovetails with the former and the third one concerns the stages involved in humor comprehension: three stages are proposed. Finally the third model (the general theory of verbal humor; GTVH) addresses the issue of what makes a text humorous again in a seemingly comprehensive way though it fails to account the nature of cartoons since it is a theory of verbal humors only and since cartoons are not necessarily based on verbal humors to be humorous. In this study, Piyale Madra’s cartoon band ‘Ademler ve Havvalar’ is taken to be cases to investigate. The cartoons that had published at the newspaper ‘Radikal’ since Oct. 1st up until Dec. 17th 2001 are selected for closer scrutiny. Based on the bits and pieces of these cartoons a general overview of a theory of cartoons is presented though such a theory needs cross-validation transcending the idiosyncrasies of a single cartoonist. That is, in order to construct a theory, further studies are necessary in which cartoons by cartoonists of extremely different mentalities are necessary. This is one of the major limitations of this study.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: 24 & 25 September 2004, Middle East Technical University
Publication Info: 2nd Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics and Language Teaching (METU-PSTGRD)
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