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How are Features of Real Speech Used to Create Humour?

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Alex Keith How are Features of Real Speech Used to Create Humour? Introduction Features of real speech such as hesitation, fillers, pauses and false starts are not common features in scripted material. The main reason for this is that, in real life, these features serve the purpose of giving the speaker time to think about what they are saying before they continue talking. In scripted material this is rarely necessary because characters are only expected to say things that are relevant to the story in some way. Therefore each character knows exactly what they need to say and can say it without using any features of real speech at all. However, there are some examples of scripted material that will deliberately use these features to create an effect. I have decided to look specifically at instances of scripted material using these features to create a comedic effect. The reason for this is that I have a strong interest in comedic writing and find this subtle form of humour quite intriguing. ...read more.


Analysis "The Office" For "The Office" I have found a short transcript from a scene in which the lead character, David Brent, is addressing an employee. The idea behind the scene is that David knows he is being filmed and is trying hard to look cool for both the camera and the employee. He uses some strong semantics in the form of gestures and body language. This includes pointing at the employee, winking at the employee, miming typing a C.V. and finally gritting his teeth as he realises he has said something stupid. Most of these gestures are simply attempts to look cool for the camera. However, gritting his teeth is a feature of real speech because he didn't plan to say what he said to the man on the phone. Gritting of teeth is a good feature of real speech to use for comedy because it implies that the character has done something wrong and realises how stupid they must look. ...read more.


I have also concluded that its particular features of real speech, used at a particular time, which create the most humour. Features such as pauses and fillers rarely create a successful comedic effect because they tend to happen spontaneously in real life anyway. In this particular script, the most successfully humorous features of real speech are the gestures and the incorrect use of lexis. The gestures are done, deliberately exaggerated, so that the character appears to be showing off in an exaggerated manner. This is humorous because, whilst he is trying to look "cool", he simply looks foolish. The incorrect use of lexis is humorous because the characters intention is to appear intelligent by using lexis and phrases that he would not normally use; the result is that he appears to be quite stupid. From this, I can conclude that features of real speech are capable of creating humour, but are not always used for that purpose. Also, the features of real speech tend to be most successful in creating humour when they are exaggerated beyond the degree to which they would normally be used. ...read more.

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