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English Stylistics Class 2014. Stylistic devices creating humorous effect

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This week we have learned some new stylistic devices. They are used to create a comic effect in fiction. These are pun, zeugma, irony and malapropism.

1) Pun, quibble or paranomasia - is a play on words in which a humorous effect is produced by using a word that suggests two or more meanings or the use of two different words which are pronounced alike.

Puns are constructions used in jokes and idioms whose usage and meaning are entirely local to a particular language and its culture.

In everyday life, puns are intentionally or accidently used in jokes and witty remarks.

Let us consider a few examples:

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.

Here pun is in the end of the sentence, "bicycle" actually has two tires and that's why it cannot stand, here "two-tired" sounds like "too tired", haha these words pronounced alike, so this is pun ))

A noun and a verb were dating but they broke up because the noun was too possessive. Here pun is in word “possessive’’.

"Possessive" has two different meanings, we know that nouns have The possessive form; Here the whole sentence itself a pun. Noun and verb have a relationship but broke up because noun was too possessive (proprietor).

To some - marriage is a word ... to others - a sentence.

We see in this example that the word "a sentence" has several meanings.

  1. The first one: Sentence as grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that are grammatically linked.
  2. And second: Sentence - the punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court.

U is a vowel, in fact, but here ''u'' is just a shortening of the world YOU - which sounds the same.

And the last one, when I was searching for the pics, this one caught my attention, I laughed long while :)

Cat chair in the rye, actually, "Catcher in the rye" – is a such book by J. D. Salinger, I read it, one of my favorites.

Here, cat chair in the rye, again play on words, words are pronounced alike.

2) Irony – the use of words to express the opposite of the literal meaning.

There are 3 main types of irony:

Verbal Irony – saying the opposite of what you really mean. Verbal irony is not the same as sarcasm.

Sarcasm is yet another popular form of irony where the user intends to wittily attack or make a derogatory statement about something or someone. Often, sarcasm is confused with irony instead of being a recognized form of irony.

For example, I say "oh, look, it’s such a nice day today’’ when view from the window is… such like this:

Situational irony – a situation in which actions have an opposite effect than what was intended so that the outcome is contrary to what was expected.

Dramatic Irony – is when the words and actions of the characters of a work of literature have a different meaning for the reader than they do for the characters.

3) Zeugma -  one part of speech (most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun) governs two or more other parts of a sentence (often in a series). often with a humorous outcome.

For instance:

"You held your breath and the door for me."

"Circled with his royal diadem and the affections of his people." (Mistress Evelyn)

"She lost her keys and her temper."

4) Malapropism- an act or habit of misusing words ridiculously, especially by the confusion of words that are similar in sound.

The word malapropism comes from the fictitious character of Mrs. Malaprop. Malapropism is a common phenomenon in our daily life.

Here are some examples of malapropisms:

• I remember because I have photogenic memory. (photographic)

• Flying saucers are just an optical conclusion. (illusion)

• I have no delusions to the past. (allusions)

• Cheer up; I predicate (predict) final victory.

I found this photo somewhere in the internet... I don't remember where exactly...


The sign asked to not place anything heavy on top of the copying machine and thanked for the "copulation". I think that whoever wrote this meant to say cooperation. This mistake here is an example of Malapropism.

Sites that have been useful:

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/

http://dictionary.reference.com/

http://fos.iloveindia.com/

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/irony

http://www.buzzle.com/

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pun-examples.html

 

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