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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter proposes a formal and essentialist theory of humour. It reviews pseudo-definitions and quasi-theories that typically offer a partial and almost accidental view of this universal human faculty. Linguistic theories of humour serve the short canned jokes best. Over the course of 35 years since the inception of the Script-Based Semantic Theory of Humour (SSTH) that was conditional on future developments in comprehensive meaning representation, the theories have reached the implementational stage just as computational humour and creativity became real. Canned jokes provide a useful testing ground for semantic and pragmatic research because they are partially structured as the combination of a two-script setup with a script-switching punchline. There may be not many funny words but it is, of course, the words, cleverly put together, that are the most frequently used medium for humour.

Keywords: humour, verbal humour, joke, funny, canned joke, script, script-switching, words

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