VISUAL HUMOUR ON THE INTERNET
This article focuses on the role of visual imagery in language understanding. It is commonly held that the use of phraseologisms is most characteristic to spoken language. However, today we are faced with a situation where the usage of written and oral language has blended (in e-mails, on-line communication, social network) on the Internet. Creative use of expressions, even if manifested in an exaggerated or inappropriate manner, may lead to interesting figures of speech. I am going to concentrate on a subgenre of so-called Internet memes – demotivational posters or manipulated photos which contain figurative expressions. Clearly, it is the creative context of the Internet that has given new life to figurative expressions. People are interpreting phraseologisms differently from a traditional vis-à-vis conversation when being engaged in spontaneous virtual communication. In addition, the iconic nature of the motivation involved in understanding figurative expressions makes it possible to use the phrases as a means of visualisation. That is why it is possible to confirm that phraseological units are remarkably more complex phenomena than simple reproducible linguistic units that do not contain metaphors.
Estonian Literary Museum, Vanemuise 42, 51003 Tartu, Estonia
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