Raskin's Theory Of Verbal Contexts

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Another theory is the one created by Raskin referred to as The Semantic Script Theory, which is a theory of verbal humour. In his theory the linguistic incongruity stresses the switching of context. According to Raskin (1985: 99) there is an “enriched, structured chunk of semantic information, associated with word meaning and evoked by specific words” called scripts. Those scripts are linked with each other forming semantic net-works (Attardo 1994: 201). Raskin highlights that in order to create a verbal joke two conditions have to be fulfilled. Firstly the text has to be fully or partially compliant with two scripts and secondly those scripts are opposite (Raskin 1985: 99). Here is an exam-ple of a verbal joke presented by Raskin (1985:100): …show more content…
The first script is a situation when a patient visits a doctor and the second script is a visit of the doctor’s wife lover. In both situations the visitor wants to know if the doctor is at home and he may use a whispering voice (throat ill-ness/ secret meeting). However, the reaction and voice of the doctor’s pretty wife could be different. The description of the doctor’s wife and her voice would be taken into consideration by the hearer after the incongruity comes out in order to find explanation for her invitation. The next theory briefly described by Attardo is the hostility theory, which is a theory that includes the aggressive function of humour for example showing superiority. Hobbes used the term “sudden glory” to express his “idea that laughter arises from a sense of superiority of the laugher towards some object”. For Bergson another aggressive function of humour is correcting deviant behaviour (1994: 49 ). Vandaele mentions that Hobbes and Bergson inspired social theories which define humour through the prism of aggression, hostility, superiority and so forth which insist that the role of humour is to ridicule the victim and elevate the laugher(s). As noticed before humour has a great social impact and may cause exclusion or hierarchies of groups. (2010: 148). Attardo also describes the release theories in which humour is a way of releasing tension or excess of psychic energy. Those theories focus on the psychological effects of humour on the recipient. Humour may release a person from conventions, inhibitions and other kinds of boundaries (1994: 50). It may be seen in puns and word-play where humour liberates one from using language rules such as grammar, punctuation or spelling. By using humour one may also touch usually tabooed topics like sex,

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