The empirical study presented in this article aims to determine some of the linguistic and cultural elements that can influence the production process and the reception of humour and to verify the applicability of the General Theory of Verbal Humor (GTVH) to humorous literary translation. 60 Vietnamese and 60 Italian participants had to read and rate the level of humorousness of excerpts taken from the Vietnamese novel Số Đỏ (Vũ Trọng Phụng, 1936) and its correspondent Italian translation (Il gioco indiscreto di Xuan, 2012). By comparing their feedback, it was possible to observe that one is more likely to appreciate humour when one is not part of the categories subject to ridicule/irony/satire; and that a direct contact with the original language and culture constitutes an important role in humour understanding and appreciating. Also, a comparison between the rating that the Italian participants assigned to the official Italian translation and an alternative version allowed us to analyze the role of Language Knowledge Resource (GTVH). According to the Italian participants, although the two versions of the translation, which share the first five levels of Knowledge Resources, were remarkably similar (as predicted by the GTVH), they were dissimilar in terms of humour and in readers’ preferences. I therefore argue that, although the GTVH is a useful tool for analyzing and verifying the similarity between the source and target text, it has proved to be impractical and not always reliable if we want to use it as a parameter of the translation of literary humorous texts.
Abel, M. H. & Flick, J. (2012). ‘Mediation and moderation in ratings of hostile jokes by men and women’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 25 (1), pp. 41-58.
Antonopoulou, E. (2002). ‘A cognitive approach to literary humour devices: Translating Raymond Chandler’, in Vandaele, J. (ed.), Translating Humour, Special issue of The Translator 8 (2), pp. 192-220.
Antonopoulou, E. (2004). ‘Humor theory and translation research: Proper names in humorous discourse’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 17 (3), pp. 219-255.
Attardo, S. (1994). Linguistic Theories of Humor. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Attardo, S. (2001). Humorous Texts: A Semantic and Pragmatic Analysis. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Attardo, S. (2002). ‘Translation and humour. An approach based on the General Theory of Verbal Humour (GTVH)’, in Vandaele, J. (ed.), Translating Humour, Special issue of The Translator 8 (2), pp. 173-194.
Attardo, S. (2017). The Routledge Handbook of the Linguistics of Humor. New York: Routledge.
Attardo, S. & Raskin, V. (1991). ‘Script theory revis(it)ed: Joke similarity and joke representation model’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 4 (3-4), pp. 293-234.
Attardo, S. et al. (1994). ‘The linear organization of jokes: analysis of two thousand texts’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 7(1), pp. 27-54.
Chiaro, D. (2005). ‘Verbally expressed humor and translation: An overview of a neglected field’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 18(2), pp. 135-145.
Chiaro, D. (2009). ‘Issues in audiovisual translation’, in Munday, J. (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Translation Studies, London: Routledge, pp. 141-165.
Chiaro, D. (ed.). (2010a). Translation, Humour and Literature. London: Continuum.
Chiaro, D. (ed). (2010b). Translation, Humour and the Media. London: Continuum.
Crawford. M. (2003). ‘Gender and humour in social context’, Journal of Pragmatics 35 (9), pp. 1413-1430.
Delabastita, D. (1996). ‘Introduction’, in Delabastita, D. (ed.), Wordplay and Translation, Special issue of The Translator 2 (2), pp. 127-140.
Delabastita, D. (ed.). (1997). Traductio: Essays on Punning and Translation. Namur: St. Jerome Publishing.
Dore, M. (2019) Humour in Audiovisual Translation. Theories and Applications. Oxon/New York: Routledge.
Dore, M. (ed.). (2020). Humour Translation in the Age of Multimedia. Oxon/New York: Routledge.
Ermida, I. (2008). The Language of Comic Narratives: Humor Construction in Short Stories. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Ferguson, M. & Ford, T. (2008). ‘Disparagement humor: A theoretical and empirical review of psychoanalytic, superiority, and social identity theories’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 21 (3), pp. 283-312.
Forabosco, G. (2016). Il settimo senso. Psicologia del senso dell’umorismo. Mulazzo: Tarka.
Greengross, G. (2013). ‘Humor and aging. A mini-review’. International Journal of Experimental, Clinical, Behavioral and Technological Gerontology 59 (5), pp. 448-453.
Hay, J. (2001). ‘The pragmatics of humor support’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 14 (1), pp. 55-82.
Kotthoff, H. (2006). ‘Gender and humor: The state of the art’. Journal of Pragmatics 38 (1), 4-25.
Le, T. H. (2012). Il gioco indiscreto di Xuan. Milan: ObarraO.
Lecercle, J. J. (1990). The Violence of Language. London/New York: Routledge.
Maher, B. (2011). Recreation and Style. Translating Humorous Literature in Italian and English. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Mak, W. and Carpenter, B. (2007). ‘Humor comprehension in older adults’. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 13 (4), pp. 606-614.
McGhee, P. (1971). ‘Cognitive development and children’s comprehension of humor’. Child Development 2 (1), pp. 123-138.
McGhee, P. (1979). Humor: Its Origin and Development. San Francisco: Freeman.
Martin, R. (2007). The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach. California: Elsevier Academic Press.
Martin, R. (2014). ‘Humor and gender: an overview of psychological research’. In Chiaro, D. & Baccolini, R. (eds.), Gender and Humor: Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives, Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 123-146.
Nergaard, S. et. al. (ed.). (2002). Spettri del potere. Ideologia, identità, traduzione negli studi culturali. Roma: Meltemi.
Nida, E. A. & Taber, C. R. (1969). The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden: Brill.
Oring, E. (1989). ‘Between jokes and tales: on the nature of punch lines’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 2 (4), pp. 349-364.
Pokorn, N. (2005). Challenging the Traditional Axioms: Translation into a Non-Mother Tongue. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Raskin, V. (1985). Semantic Mechanisms of Humor. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Ruch, W. & Hehl, F. J. (1986). ‘Conservatism as predictor of responses to humour. The location of sense of humour in a comprehensive attitude space’. Personality and Individual Differences 7 (6), pp. 861-874.
Ruch, W. (ed.). (1998). The Sense of Humor. Explorations of a Personality Characteristic. Berlin/New York: Mouton De Gruyter.
Ruch, W. et al. (1990). ‘Age differences in the enjoyment of incongruity-resolution and nonsense humor during adulthood’. Psychology and Aging 5, pp. 348-355.
Ruch, W. et al. (1993). ‘Toward an empirical verification of the General Theory of Verbal Humor’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 6 (2), pp. 123-136.
Saude, J. C. (2018). Application of the General Theory of Verbal Humor to Texts in The Onion. Oslo: University of Oslo, MA thesis.
Shammi, P. & Stuss, D. (2003). ‘The effects of normal aging on humor appreciation’. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 9 (6), pp. 855-863.
Simpson, P. (2003). On the Discourse of Satire. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Triezenberg, K. (2004). ‘Humor enhancers in the study of humorous literature’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 17 (4), pp. 411- 418.
Zabalbeascoa, P. (2005). ‘Humor and translation, an interdiscipline’. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research 18 (2), pp. 185-207.
Zillman, D. (1983). ‘Disparagement humor’, in McGhee, P. E. & Goldstein, J. H. (eds.), Handbook of Humor Research, New York: Springer-Verlag, pp. 85-107.
Zillman, D. & Cantor R. J. (1976). ‘A disposition theory of humour and mirth’, in Chapman, A. J. & Foot, H. C. (eds.), Humor and Laughter: Theory, Research and Applications, London: Routledge, pp. 93-116.
Zinoman, P. (2002). ‘Introduction’. In Dumb Luck, Michigan: University of Michigan, pp. 1-30.
Zinoman, P. & Nguyen, N. C. (2002). Dumb Luck. Michigan: University of Michigan.
Vandaele, J. (ed.). (2002). Translating Humour, Special issue of The Translator 8 (2).
Venuti, L. (2008). The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London/ New York: Routledge.
Vu, T. P. 1997 . Số Đỏ. Hanoi: Hoi Nha Van Publishing House.