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Slide 1 - 1 Linguistic Humor, and Language Play by Don L. F. Nilsen and Alleen Pace Nilsen
Slide 2 - A Pun and a Polish Joke: 2
Slide 3 - The Semi-Colon 3
Slide 4 - Double Vision:Kale Fish We usually need to be surprised to find something funny. In texts that have two contradictory meanings, our minds are happily surprised to resolve the “problem” by figuring out that it is an intentional joke as with these vegetables cut to look like animals. 4
Slide 5 - Egg Plant Penguins 5
Slide 6 - Green Pepper Frogs This kind of creative art work is frequently posted online where it serves not only as amusement, but also as inspiration for others to create their own visual puns and examples of incongruous imagery that will bring smiles to viewers. 6
Slide 7 - 7 ALLUSION “Allusion” is the noun form of the English verb “to allude.” “Allude” comes from Latin “ad-” plus “ludere” meaning “to play.” Modern English is filled with allusions, thanks partly to modern media, where “instant” allusions can be puffed out in readers’ or listeners’ minds to full stories.
Slide 8 - 8 JIMINY CRICKET AS AN ALLUSION The expression “By Jiminy” used to be a swear word. In fact it was a double swearword, because it was swearing by the constellation “Gemini” which represented the twins (Castor and Pollux) from Greek mythology. Americans, who were not as familiar with Greek mythology, changed the expression to “Jiminy Christmas” and later to “Jiminy Cricket” after the Walt Disney version of Carlo Collodi’s 1882 The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Slide 9 - Jiminy Cricket 9
Slide 10 - 10 In Collodi’s original Pinocchio there is a “talking cricket,” who offers advice to the naughty little puppet who has miraculously been changed into a boy. However, the boy doesn’t like taking advice and throws a hammer, killing the cricket. The cricket’s ghost later appears as a minor character, but it was the genius of the Walt Disney makers of the 1940 Pinocchio film, to name the cricket and give him a major role as the little boy’s conscience. What better conscience could one have than someone with the same initials as Jesus Christ?
Slide 11 - 11 The Humor in Confused Allusions Comedian Michael Davis juggled with the ax that George Washington had used to chop down the cherry tree. “However,” he explained, “I did have to replace the handle,” ……….. “and the head.”
Slide 12 - 12 On the “George Burns and Gracie Allen” television show, Gracie often got her allusions wrong. GEORGE: If you keep saying funny things, people are going to laugh at you. GRACIE: That’s OK. Look at Joan of Arc. People laughed at her, but she went ahead and built it anyway.
Slide 13 - George Burns and Gracie Allen 13
Slide 14 - 14 ANTITHESIS = opposite concepts being connected in a surprising way A MasterCard advertisement showed a picture of a tall man looking at a shirt. The caption read, “You found a 50 long. But you’re $17 short.” The World Book Encyclopedia ran a summertime advertising campaign under the slogan, “Schools are closed…Minds are open.” The Hoover Company advertised its irons with “The iron with the bottom that makes it tops.”
Slide 15 - 15 CHIASMUS = Words repeated in inverted order Mae West said, “It’s not the men in my life that count; it’s the life in my men.” A bumper sticker reads, “Aging is a matter of mind: If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Another bumper sticker reads, “Marijuana is not a question of “Hi, how are you” but of “How high are you?” A one-liner that is popular around tax time reads, “The IRS: We’ve got what it takes to take what you’ve got.”
Slide 16 - CLIPPING 16
Slide 17 - EPONYMY= Applying the name of a real or a mythical person to new uses During the first Gulf War, American soldiers complained about JOHNNY WEISSMULLER showers where the cold water made them scream like Tarzan. When the wealthy Ross Perot was running for president, he was accused of hold the DADDY WARBUCKS theory of presidential qualifications. When a report stated that over 500 out of the 700 shooting incidents in which Los Angeles police were involved between 1987 and 1994 were potentially life-threatening mistakes, the officers were said to have succumbed to the JOHN WAYNE syndrome. 17
Slide 18 - More Playful Eponyms Based on “generic” first names: Lazy Susan To Peter out Great Scot By George Rhyming names: Even Steven Flap Jack Ready for Freddie Alliteration: Gloomy Gus Dumb Dora Nervous Nellie Assonance: Alibi Ike Fancy Dan Sneaky Pete Long Johns Screaming Meemie 18
Slide 19 - Lazy Susans 19
Slide 20 - The Common Name Joe is Probably the “Mother of all Eponyms” Older Examples Joe Six-Pack Good Old Joe Joe Blow Joe Schmo G.I. Joe (from “General Issue”) for a soldier. Holy Joe for an army chaplain Newer Examples Joe (or J.) Random Hacker for a computer whiz Joe College for a student Joe Camel for the controversial cartoon character that sold Camel cigarettes. 20
Slide 21 - Metaphor: “Raining Cats and Dogs” This saying originated when London had such poor sewer drainage that in city streets small animals could easily drown. After a heavy rainstorm, dead cats and dogs were lying in the gutters. Today it is just a humorous kind of exaggeration. 21
Slide 22 - “Dog Tags” Soldiers in the military are required to wear dog tags. As with dogs, these tags helped to identify soldiers who might be unable to speak. 22
Slide 23 - METONYMY = Being named for an associated quality This full-page ad in USA Today was protesting a decision made by Direct TV to no longer offer Nickelodeon, as well as other channels. What different kinds of metonymy are related to the word “Square?” 23
Slide 24 - Metonymy in the Names of Antique Shops Another Fine Mess As You Were The Collected Works Fourscore and More A Touch of Glass Den of Antiquity These include the owners’ names: Suzantiques Shair’s Wares Young’s Oldies Fine’s finds 24
Slide 25 - 25 NONSENSE The literal meaning of Nonsense is that it doesn’t make sense. However nonsense verse and other nonsense is carefully put together so that it has a strong rhythmic quality that serves to highlight logical infelicities and nonce words. Nonce means “only once.” Nonsense words are found in Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” poem where he created frabjous and galumphing.
Slide 26 - Jabberwocky 26
Slide 27 - 27 OXYMORON=Contradictory or Paradoxical Terms Oxymoron comes from two Greek words oxys meaning “sharp” and moros meaning “foolish or dull.” This kind of paradox or contradiction can be seen in such brand names as: Icy-Hot (an arthritis medicine) Cool Fire (a line of shoes) Soft Brick (a floor covering) Oxymorons also appear in such phrases as: All deliberate speed Civil War A peace offensive Friendly fire And in the ironic slogan: “Anarchists Unite!”
Slide 28 - 28
Slide 29 - Identify the oxymorons in this story created by W. S. Blumenfeld and published in People Magazine. It was a new tradition---the First Annual Florida Snowmobilers’ Ball. As he gazed across the crowded room, he saw her sitting on the real vinyl banquette. She was a relative stranger, but he was attracted by her seductive innocence. Sophisticated good ole boy that he was, he adopted an air of studied indifference as he mused upon the planned serendipity of their meeting. “What if she is a closet exhibitionist?” he wondered. “What if she thinks my minor surgery is old news?” Still, she was his only choice. 29
Slide 30 - PERSONIFICATION—And sometimes Animalification Even babies respond to toys as if they were human. In nursery rhymes and stories, animals, dolls, “choo-choo” trains, and teapots come to life. We never outgrow this kind of personification. 30
Slide 31 - Personification What was photo-shopped into this photo of two baby dolphins? Besides personifying the creatures, what else did it do? How does this relate to basic human emotions? 31
Slide 32 - 32 PUNS Richard Lederer in the introduction to his Get Thee to a Punnery said that puns are “a three-ring circus of words: words clowning, words teetering on tightropes, words swinging from tent-tops, words thrusting their heads into the mouths of lions.” Tony Tanner said that a pun is like an adulterous bed in which two meanings that should be separated are coupled together.
Slide 33 - A Visual Pun 33
Slide 34 - A Salted Peanut 34
Slide 35 - Double Meanings (Puns) Used to Market TIME Magazine TIME flies (1924) TIME marches on (1932) TIME to get the facts (1932) It’s TIME (1944) TIME to get it straight (1951) A man hardly ever had TIME all to himself (1954) This is the time to start reading TIME (1960) Make time for TIME (1989) Understanding comes with TIME (1994) 35
Slide 36 - Creative Spellings Even before text messaging, product names had to be spelled creatively to allow registration of brand names. 36
Slide 37 - 37 SYNECDOCHE Synecdoche is a specific kind of metonymy in which a part of something is used to represent the whole thing. Movies are the big screen; television is the tube. In a popular example from The Lone Ranger radio show, Tonto used synecdoche when he responded to the Lone Ranger’s announcement that “We are being followed by Indians,” with “What you mean we, Paleface?” In a Brant Parker Wizard of Id cartoon a girl brings home a boy and introduces him with, “Father, he’s asked for my hand.” The father replies, “Marv. . . It’s the whole package or nothing.”
Slide 38 - 38
Slide 39 - 39 ZEUGMA=Faulty Parallelism as in these examples: Chuckles the Clown on the Mary Tyler Moore show offered, “A little song..., A little dance…, A little Seltzer down your pants! Naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch wrote that “the most serious charge that can be brought against New England is not Puritanism, but February.” Henry Clay declared that he “would rather be right than President.” A cartoon by D. Cresci pictured a bank robber informing the teller, “You won’t get hurt if you hand over all the money, keep quiet, and validate this parking ticket.”
Slide 40 - Chuckles the Clown 40
Slide 41 - 41 Sometimes the beginning of a sentence is not compatible with the end of the sentence: “You were never lovelier, and I think it’s a shame.” “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may be radioactive.” There’s no fool like an old fool; you just can’t beat experience. An apple a day keeps the doctor away; an onion a day keeps everyone away. Rome wasn’t built in a day; the pizza parlors alone took several weeks.
Slide 42 - Truthiness: Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” is shown in the gag names of the Asiana Airlines flight crew. The plane crashed in San Francisco in July of 2013. Captain Sum Ting Wong Wi Tu Lo Ho Lee F**k Bang Ding Ow 42
Slide 43 - 43
Slide 44 - Afghan Ariana Airlines 44