Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Understanding Language through Humor

$30.00 ( ) USD

  • Date Published: November 2011
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139118538

$ 30.00 USD ( )
Adobe eBook Reader

You will be taken to for this purchase
Buy eBook Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, Hardback

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Students often struggle to understand linguistic concepts through examples of language data provided in class or in texts. Presented with ambiguous information, students frequently respond that they don't 'get it'. The solution is to find an example of humour that relies on the targeted ambiguity. Once they laugh at the joke, they have tacitly understood the concept, and then it is only a matter of explaining why they found it funny. Utilizing cartoons and jokes illustrating linguistic concepts, this book makes it easy to understand these concepts, while keeping the reader's attention and interest. Organized like a course textbook in linguistics, it covers all the major topics in a typical linguistics survey course, including communication systems, phonetics and phonology, morphemes, words, phrases, sentences, language use, discourses, child language acquisition and language variation, while avoiding technical terminology.

    • Includes cartoons and jokes that make it easier to understand linguistic concepts
    • Avoids technical terminology
    • Covers all of the topics in a typical survey of linguistics course in a textbook format
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Understanding Language through Humor is ingenious in its conception and deft in its execution. A sure bestseller.' Frederick J. Newmeyer, University of Washington, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139118538
    • contains: 29 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Talking to Garfield: human and animal communication
    3. Did I hear that right? The sounds of language
    4. Twisted words: word structure and meaning
    5. Fitting words together: phrase structure and meaning
    6. Meaning one thing and saying another: indirect speech and conversational principles
    7. Fitting the pieces together: the structure of discourse
    8. 'Kids say the darndest things': children acquiring language
    9. Variety is the spice of life: language variation
    10. Cross-cultural gaffes: language and culture
    11. The language police: prescriptivism and standardization
    12. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Inst & Ideas World Civ. ll
    • Natural and Social History of Oceania
    • Pacific Frontiers
    • Pacific History
    • The Pacific Ocean in World
    • U.S. and Pacific
  • Authors

    Stanley Dubinsky, University of South Carolina
    Stanley Dubinsky is Professor of Linguistics at the University of South Carolina. His primary areas of research are syntax, semantics and linguistic theory.

    Chris Holcomb, University of South Carolina
    Chris Holcomb is an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. His primary research interests include histories of rhetoric, humor, discourse analysis and prose style.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.