In humour research, intertextuality has been extensively studied with the aim of understanding how humorous texts are constructed on the basis of previous texts. In this paper, we elaborate on the sociopragmatic functions of intertextuality, pointing out not only how humorous texts rely on previous texts and background knowledge, but also what sociopragmatic functions intertextuality serves in actual communicative situations, e.g. the effect the recognition (or not) of intertextual references has on the segmentation of recipients into various groups. To this end, the paper discusses intertextuality in relation to such traditional concepts as textuality and genre, and adds a focus on the speaker’s intention and the recipient’s interpretation. The paper serves as a framing introduction to six other papers in the special issue on the topic of “Intertextuality and humour”, articulating a common research position and arguing for the extension of scholarly attention to such applied domains as critical literacy education, marketing communication, and the legal framework regulating the creation and reception of humorous texts and artefacts.
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