The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 8, No 2 (2020)

Cartoons in Romanian humorous news

Nicoleta Andreea Soare


Studying cartoons in Romanian humorous news is a great way to underline the diversity of humour’s mechanisms and construction. The common topic of cartoons in Romanian media is politics, but there are also a great number of cartoons exploring subjects such as art, science, society or famous people. Unlike verbal humour, wherein incongruities are text-based, in cartoons, incongruities can emerge through the interaction of image and text, between two elements in the image, or even between the texts in the balloons (Hempelmann & Samson 2008). The present study aims at analysing how humour emerges differently, depending on their topic, in cartoons created by the Romanian humorous media websites Times New Roman and Academia Catavencu, as these have been the two of the most controversial humorous news websites for quite some time. I intend to argue that, when it comes to political cartoons, the methods of humour are quite complex, equally relying on the image and the text, using polysemy, paronymy or syllepsis to create humour, while cartoons about society or gossip are usually based on implicitness and exaggeration, mostly found in images and symbols, as the targeted topics or people do not require such a complex background in order to make readers laugh. I have also observed that cartoons that rely less on text have more powerful symbols, which are full of various significations that help the readers make all the necessary connections to correctly interpret the image.



Alousque N (2014) ‘Pictorial and verbo-pictorial metaphor in Spanish political cartooning’, Clac Circulo de linguistica aplicada a la communication 57, pp. 59-84.

Alousque N. (2013). ‘Visual metaphor and metonymy in French political cartoons”, in Revista Espanola de Linguistica Aplicada 26, pp 365-384.

Attardo, S. (2001). Humorous Texts: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis, Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Bounegru, L. and Charles F. (2011). ‘Metaphors in editorial cartoons: representing the global financial Crisis’. Visual Communication 10 (2), pp. 209–229.

Brock, M. (2018). ‘Political satire and its disruptive potential: irony and cynicism in Russia and the US’, Culture, Theory and Critique 59 (3), pp. 281-298.

Constantinescu, M. (2012). Umorul politic românesc în perioada comunistă. Perspective lingvistice, Bucharest: Editura Universității din București.

Dawkins, R. (1976). The Selfish Gene, New York, Oxford University Press.

El Refaie, E. (2004). ‘Our purebred ethnic compatriots: irony in newspaper journalism’, Journal of Pragmatics 37, pp. 781–797.

Hempelmann, C. & Samson A. (2008). ‘Cartoons: Drawn jokes?’ in Raskin, V. (ed.), The Primer of Humor Research, 609–640. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Hussein. I. (2019). ‘Analyzing political cartoons in Arabic-language media after Trump’s Jerusalem move: A multimodal discourse perspective’, International Journal of Business, Human and Social Sciences 13 (4): 451-465.

McClennen S. & Maisel R. (2014). Is Satire Saving our Nation? Mockery and American Politics, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mendez-Ga de Paredez, E. (2013). ‘Discursive mechanism of informative media in Spanish media’, in Ruiz Gurillo L & Alvarado Ortega M. B. (eds.), Irony and Humour. From Pragmatics to Discourse, Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 85-107.

Newman, M.C. (2010). ‘The Daily Show and meta-coverage: How mock news covers the political communications system’, The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 1 (2), pp. 5-16.

Saltzman, J. (2007). ‘Fostering fake news stories’, USA Today 135 (2740).

Stockwell, Stephen. (2004). ‘Reconsidering the fourth estate: the functions of infotainment’, Paper presented at the conference of Australian Political Studies Association, University of Adelaide.

Tsakona, V. (2009). ‘Language and image interaction in cartoons: Towards a multimodal theory of humour’, Journal of Pragmatics 41, pp. 1171–1188.