Home Education Cognitive Linguistics and Humor Research.
Parameter 1: The teaser
It may seem self-evident that in every teasing sequence a teaser can be identified as illustrated in example (2), taken from Married with Children, in which Al and his family are stranded due to a broken axle on their car somewhere on ‘Route 666’. Desperately seeking help in the deserted scenery, they find themselves suddenly alighted on a small town and some queer old inhabitants.
09 Al = <
10 yea I would too peg if I drank WHISKEY for BREAKfast,
Al’s teasing instance in line 10 is a prime example of a default conversational scheme: he is the obvious teaser, Peg is the obvious target. Subsequently, the entire sequence complies with the conversational default deictic system, which is anchored in the values ‘I-you-now-here’ as personal, temporal and local reference points, through which the roles of teaser, the teasing victim as well as the actual teasing message are identified.
How straightforward the identification of a teaser in this sequence may be, our data show that it may not always be unambiguously clear who the teaser in a teasing instance is. As a matter of fact, we distinguish three subtypes of teasing instances, all of them featuring a covert or indistinct teaser, which can be derived from a specific shift in the default deictic system. In what follows, we present a qualitative description of a single example for each subtype in order to demonstrate the different pathways, along which this deictic shift can be achieved.
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