A Study of the Generation of English Jokes From Cognitive Metonymy

Xiaoyu HE


English jokes improve human relations and enliven the communicative atmosphere in daily communication. How to generate English jokes has long been of interest to numerous researchers, such as philosophers, psychologists and linguists. In the linguistic field, the scholars at home and abroad have been discussing English jokes from angles of rhetoric, phonetics, semantics, pragmatics and cognitive linguistics. Few researchers study the generation of English jokes from cognitive linguistics. Therefore, this study implements a qualitative cognitive linguistic exploration into English jokes and proposes that the change of metonymy generates English jokes through the change of ICM (Idealized Cognitive Model). Then a framework of the generation of English jokes is proposed and applied to account for the generation of English jokes. As described in the proposed framework, in metonymy one, Conceptual entity one in ICM one provides mental access to conceptual entity two in ICM one. However, conceptual entity one in ICM one provides mental access to conceptual entity three in ICM two. Accordingly, metonymy one is changed to metonymy two. The contiguity between conceptual entity one and conceptual entity two is the same as the contiguity between the conceptual entity one and conceptual entity three. Due to the change of ICM, metonymy is changed and incongruity comes out. Therefore, it can be inferred that English jokes are generated by the change of metonymy from cognitive linguistics.


The generation of English jokes; Cognitive metonymy; Contiguity; ICM; Conceptual entity; Incongruity

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/7778


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