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Oral self-translation of stand-up comedy and its (mental) text: a theoretical model

Palmieri, Giacinto (2017) Oral self-translation of stand-up comedy and its (mental) text: a theoretical model Humor, 30 (2). pp. 193-210.

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This paper investigates the phenomenon of stand-up comedians performing in more than one language, which poses the question of whether and how they translate their material. Past research on stand-up comedy underlines its conversational nature, sometimes at the expense of recognizing its content. Empirical evidence collected from interviews with bilingual stand-up comedians, on the other hand, suggests that they perform a form of oral self-translation, which implies a tertium comparationis, the transfer of content. The notion of mental text, borrowed from ethnography, is then productively used to define this content. As is then suggested, two types of memory, namely declarative and procedural, are involved in the memorization of this mental text. The declarative part accounts for what is repeatable across performances and is the part involved in conscious translation; its minimal content is identified in the punch lines. The procedural part accounts for variation, improvisation and interaction. A model of the oral-self translation process of stand-up is then proposed. I conclude that refocusing on the (mental) text of stand-up comedy can offer a better understanding of its translation, which in turn can contribute to a better understanding of humor in a multilingual and multicultural context in future research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : English and Languages
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages
Authors :
Date : 18 February 2017
DOI : 10.1515/humor-2016-0092
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 Palmieri, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.
Uncontrolled Keywords : stand-up comedy, orality, translation, self-translation, bilingualism, migration
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 24 Feb 2017 13:54
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 17:12

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