A Relevance Theoretic Analysis of Verbal Humor in The Big Bang Theory

Shuqin HU


Relevance theory proposes a hypothesis of relevance in human communication. Human communication is an ostensive-inferential process, in which the hearer tries to seek the intended relevance by selecting different context assumptions. It is applicable to humor study. This paper takes the sitcom The Big Bang Theory as a case study. By analyzing some verbal humor examples within this framework, it proves that humor comes from the contrast between maximal relevance and optimal relevance.


Relevance theory; Verbal humor; The Big Bang Theory

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


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