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The Language of Humor: An Introduction

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Much of today’s communication is carried out through various kinds of humor, and we therefore need to be able to understand its many aspects. Here, two of the world’s leading pioneers in humor studies, Alleen and Don Nilsen, explore how humor can be explained across the numerous sub-disciplines of linguistics. Drawing on examples from language play and jokes in a range of real-life contexts, such as art, business, marketing, comedy, creative writing, science, journalism and politics, the authors use their own theory of ‘Features, functions and subjects of Humor’ to analyze humor across all disciplines. Each highly accessible chapter uses a rich array of examples to stimulate discussion and interaction even in large classes. Supplemental PowerPoints to accompany each of the 25 chapters are available online, taking many of the insights from the chapters for further interactional discussions with students.

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