The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 6, No 1 (2018)

Why are you amused: Unveiling multimodal humor from the prototype theoretical perspective

Qiaoyun Chen,Guiying Jiang


This paper looks at multimodal humour through the lens of prototype theory in the framework of conventional incongruity theory of humour, aiming for a unified linguistic and semiotic approach to humour. From this perspective, humour can be achieved through the following three aspects of linguistic and non-linguistic categories: 1) prototypicality versus non-prototypicality of category members; 2) the family resemblance shared by category members; 3) vague inter-categorical boundary. The cognitive mechanisms behind this type of multimodal humour and its comprehension are discussed. The intermodal relationships involved are examined and categorised into two major types: complementary and non-complementary ones.


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