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


multimodal humor
incongruity theory of humor
prototype theory
cognitive linguistics

How to Cite

Chen, Q., & Jiang, G. (2018). Why are you amused: Unveiling multimodal humor from the prototype theoretical perspective. The European Journal of Humour Research, 6(1), 62–84. https://doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2018.6.1.chen


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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