FromWodehouseto theWhite House: A Corpus-Assisted Study of Play, Fantasy and Dramatic Incongruity in Comic Writing and Laughter-Talk
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In this paper I consider two discourse types, one written and literary, the other spoken and semi-conversational, in an attempt to discover if there are any similarities in the ways in which humour is generated in such apparently diverse forms of communication. The first part of the paper is concerned with the explicitly comic prose of P. G. Wodehouse, whilst in the second part of the paper, we investigate the laughter-talk, defined as the talk preceding and provoking, intentionally or otherwise, an episode of laughter, occurring during press briefings held at the White House during the Clinton era and the subsequent Bush administration. Both studies, by employing corpus analysis techniques together with detailed discourse reading, integrate quantitative and qualitative approaches to the respective data sets.
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