The study of opacity falls under the general programme of showing how the meaning of any complex sentence is composed from the meanings of its constituent clauses, phrases and words. Opaque constructions are special from this point of view because the compositional principles that determine their meaning are so intricate. The main argument of this book is that the systematic ambiguity of opaque constructions has generally been underestimated.
The volume is dedicated to the work of Chajim H. Steinthal (1823-1899), who in the second half of the nineteenth century was a prominent philosophical linguist and also an eminent teacher of the "Science of Judaism." Together with Moritz Lazarus he founded the discipline of "Voelkerpsychologie" ("psychology of nations").
In this volume, Elly van Gelderen examines the linguistic cycle and describes how it offers a unique perspective on the language faculty. Each chapter provides data on a separate cycle from a myriad of languages.
This book starts from three observations. First, the use of humour is a complex, puzzling, and idiosyncratically human form of behaviour (and hence is of scientific interest). Second, there is currently no theory of how humour works. Third, one useful step towards a theory of humour is to analyze humorous items in precise detail, in order to understand their mechanisms. The author begins by considering how to study jokes rigorously: the assumptions to make, the guidelines to follow and the pitfalls to avoid. A critique of other work on humour is also provided. This introduces some important concepts, and also demonstrates the lack of agreement about what a theory of humour should look like. The language devices used in various jokes, such as puns or humour based on misinterpretation, are analysed in detail. The central part of the book develops, and demonstrates, proposals for how best to analyze the workings of simple jokes. Finally, the author makes some general suggestions about the language devices that seem to be central to the construction of jokes. The Linguistic Analysis of Jokes will be invaluable for researchers and advanced students of humour research, linguistics and cognitive science.