Internal & External Possessors

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Term Paper
Internal & External Possessors
A Contrastive Analysis of Humorous Aspects in English and German Module:Sprachwissenschaftliche Methoden und Englischunterricht Course: English in Contrast
Mondays, 2 to 4 p.m.
Lecturer: Dr. George Smith

submitted byNadja Degen
born 22 November 1988

major Englisch, MA of Ed.
minor Latein, MA of Ed.


1. Introduction2
3.Internal & external possessor constructions in English and German4 4.The incongruity theory5
5. Humor and translation6
6. Verbal humor in English possessor constructions7
6.1Verbal humor in internal possessor constructions I7
6.2Verbal humor in internal possessor constructions II9 7. Verbal humor in German possessor constructions11
7.1 Verbal humor and idiomatic expressions11
7.2Verbal humor and the animacy hierarchy13

1. Introduction
Speaking a language is an activity governed by rules and conventions. Many of these are such that they may be violated to a certain degree, often with amusing results. Therefore, studying the resulting incongruities leads to an identification of rules and conventions the existence or influence of which may have passed unnoticed but for attention to their violation (Goldstein 1).

Verbal humor, that is humor “expressed by means of a linguistic system” (Attardo 96), employs diverse strategies. One strategy, which is frequently applied as the above quotation admits, is the violation of linguistic rules as a trigger for humorous aspects. The resulting incongruities emphasize the regulatory framework of the respective language. An analysis of linguistic structures underlying verbal humor can, therefore, deliver deep insights into the workings of a language. This relation between linguistic correctness and humor has further aspects...
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