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Showing posts from May, 2017

Creating jokes by violating Grice’s maxims

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Without laughter, life would be a mistake. Laughing is inherent and essential in a human’s life. Humans, as a social animal, consider the laughter as an important signifier of acceptance. When the social group, one belongs to, laughs by the joke one made, the person considers the laughter signifies their acceptance in that group. (Provine, 2016). Laughter releases hormones called endorphins which can relieve physical pain. (Welsh, 2011) Researchers show that laughter can reduce stress hormones and that people who can recognize the humour in various situations have less likelihood to acquire heart disease. (Clark & Seidler, 2000) There are many theories which explain what causes a human to laugh. The simplest form of a comedy is physical comedy, like making funny faces or physical stunts. This is very common across culture and ages. This paper concentrates on one of the widely used means to evoke laughter, telling jokes. Analysing the jokes in relation with Grice’s maxims show that…

Euphemisms and Political correctness - the lies we use to shun reality

“You're not allowed to call them dinosaurs anymore, it's speciesist. You have to call them pre-petroleum persons.”(Pratchett, 1996)
Even the simplest of tools, when abused, produce grave results. Euphemism is not a simple tool; it is one of the most powerful weapons in the linguistic arsenal. Political correctness, in linguistic terms, is a subset of euphemism. The most vocal proponents of political correctness purport that words affect thoughts. They argue that when the offensive words are suppressed, the thought process associated with those words will wither out from consciousness, though the current linguistic research does not support such claims. In most cases, the intent of not offending others is benign, but like any tool, it can also be abused by malevolent agencies to dissemble and suppress important words out of a discussion for their benefits in the name of political correctness and euphemisms. This shifts the focus from the real issue to the words used to express t…