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67576-01 - Seminar: Linguistic Pragmatics and American Stand-up Comedy 3 KP

Semester Frühjahrsemester 2023
Angebotsmuster unregelmässig
Dozierende Thomas Messerli (thomas.messerli@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Humour more generally, and stand-up comedy more specifically, can be approached as a social, a psychological, and also as a linguistic phenomenon. Looked at through a linguistic pragmatic lens, we may first of all ask ourselves how humour is constructed linguistically and paralinguistically. Applying an incongruity-based understanding of humour, we can think about what scripts or frames are juxtaposed and used to trigger a shift in the audience’s understanding processes and what situation or context such an incongruity has to be placed in for it to be perceived as humorous. In addition to the situatedness of language, stand-up comedy also takes place in a specific communicative setting, involving participants that are institutionally positioned as performers or audiences, but whose role can also be more locally and dynamically co-constructed as speaker, addressee, side-participant, overhearer, etc. Both the situation and the participants of comedy are also part of a particular genre, in this case that of American stand-up comedy, which provides performers and audiences with a blueprint of what is conventionally expected and what falls within or outside of what a genre is supposed to do. Such genres are paratextually defined, for instance through labels like “comedy”, but are also negotiated by the community of viewers themselves, who evaluate and provide norms regarding the artefacts or performances they engage with.

In this seminar, we will on the one hand approach the specific genre of American stand-up comedy from a linguistic pragmatic angle, making use of existing empirical research on stand-up comedy and humour more generally, but also transferring the tools and knowledge from such studies to new data. On the other hand, we will also treat the excerpts of stand-up comedy we examine as a particular type of linguistic data, which we will use as a sandbox to deepen students’ understanding of basic pragmatic theories. In particular, we will revisit Relevance theory and (neo-)Gricean pragmatics – thinking about implicatures and inferences in comedy – and Speech Act theory. This will let us examine what actions stand-up comedy performs when it uses language to create a humorous narrative.
Lernziele By the end of the course, students will have learned about and worked with pragmatic theories and with important approaches to humour and comedy. They will have revisited relevance and speech act theory and applied them to a specific type of data, stand-up comedy, which will have deepened their knowledge of linguistics and pragmatics as well of stand-up comedy as a genre. Students will have analysed data empirically, presented their own insights in brief presentations and discussed their observations and interpretations of the topics of the course
Literatur All obligatory reading for the course will be made available on ADAM.
Weblink ADAM


Teilnahmebedingungen This course is for BA students on the advanced level who have completed ALL three introductory modules (including the proseminar papers) and for MA students of English and MSG Sprache und Kommunikation.
Anmeldung zur Lehrveranstaltung Please register for this course on services unibas.ch.
In order to ensure a good learning environment, we aim at no more than 20 students per linguistics seminar. We ask you to sign up for classes via the following doodle link that will be live during the window specified below. Link: https://doodle.com/poll/3gex84nbefh4fr9f?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link or https://tinyurl.com/engsemST23.

**Please only register for a maximum of TWO seminars and only for more than one if you really intend to take both courses.**

Should you have not made it into one of the courses and you are only able to register on the list in a position higher than 20, we guarantee that we will take you in the course with the least student numbers. The doodle will open on January 3, 2023, 10am (CET) and close on February 13, 2023, 2pm (CET).
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien Online-Angebot obligatorisch


Intervall Wochentag Zeit Raum
wöchentlich Donnerstag 08.15-10.00 Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212


Datum Zeit Raum
Donnerstag 23.02.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Nadelberg 6, Grosser Hörsaal
Donnerstag 02.03.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Fasnachstferien
Donnerstag 09.03.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Nadelberg 6, Grosser Hörsaal
Donnerstag 16.03.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Nadelberg 6, Grosser Hörsaal
Donnerstag 23.03.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 30.03.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 06.04.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Ostern
Donnerstag 13.04.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 20.04.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 117
Donnerstag 27.04.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 04.05.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 11.05.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 18.05.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Auffahrt
Donnerstag 25.05.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Donnerstag 01.06.2023 08.15-10.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Seminarraum 212
Module Modul: Advanced English Linguistics (Bachelor Studienfach: Englisch)
Modul: English Linguistics (Master Studienfach: Englisch)
Modul: Forschungspraxis und Vertiefung (Master Studiengang: Sprache und Kommunikation)
Modul: Sprache als Prozess (Master Studiengang: Sprache und Kommunikation)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Regular and active participation; preparatory reading; oral presentation plus handout; short written task in connection with the presentation (research proposal of around 1'500 words)
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft