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Data Analysis

As anticipated above, I use CMT here to demonstrate how language can be exploited to create novel metaphors based of universal as well as culture-specific (e.g., Anglo-American culture) entrenched concepts. Moreover, I show how the scriptwriters select the domains of these novel metaphors so as to convey characterisation cues and develop the general topics of the series (interpersonal relationships, work, sex, friendship, etc.).

In the last subsection, the examination of a more complex novel metaphor developed during a conversational exchange among the six main characters will demonstrate that a combined use of both CMT and BT can explain the process at work better that the use of CMT alone. All examples are also discussed according to the script opposition (SO) and target (TA) Knowledge Resources, as proposed in the GTVH. I have chosen to concentrate in particular on these two KRs because the former helps to detect recurrent patterns in humour creation in the text whereas the latter can help to relate the humour and the characterisation patterns in the series.

Before proceeding with the data analysis, I will briefly introduce the TV comedy programme Friends. It revolves around the lives of six main young characters, namely Chandler, Joey, Ross, Monica, Phoebe and Rachel. They all live and work in New York, U.S.A. and the usual settings for the funny and sometimes grotesque situations involving them are their flats and a coffee shop called Central Perk where they meet on a regular basis. The first series sets the ground for the six main characters’ idiosyncratic features, which seem to fit what Culpeper (2001: 88-89) names as ‘exaggerated prototype’ as they “fail to exhibit contextually sensitive behaviour” that “can become established as fictional stock figures in their own right”. In the examples below, Rachel and Joey show such peculiar traits, which are often, but not always, conveyed by means of humorous metaphors, or similes that are extended via metaphorical expres- sions.[1] The last example instead demonstrates how exploiting a metaphor based on stereotyped ideological points of view can convey humour.

  • [1] Due to space limitation, I could not include the analysis of another character’s (Ross’s) use ofidiosyncratic novel metaphors. It can be found in ch.7 of my PhD thesis.
 
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