An inference-centered analysis of jokes

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In previous research (Yus 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012), a distinction was made, in a general classification of jokes, between those that are based on the speaker’s manipulation of the audience’s interpretive steps leading to an interpretation of the joke, and those whose main source of humor lies in the reinforcement or invalidation of commonly assumed social and cultural stereotypes. However, interpretive strategies for obtaining interpretations work in parallel to the processing of cultural information and also of mental frames, schemas and scripts that are retrieved by the hearer in order to make sense of the text of the joke. In this chapter, a more comprehensive picture of joke interpretation (the Intersecting Circles Model) is proposed to account for how some or all of these interpretive procedures may be manipulated for producing humorous effects.


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