Jared Weide

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Humor analysts have not yet accounted for the longstanding popularity of knock-knock jokes, a common and recognizable joke format. A better understanding of the linguistic mechanisms behind these jokes can provide opportunities in fields such as education, technology, and, of course, entertainment. In order to analyze the processes involved, a corpus of jokes was compiled from seven online sources, with a total of 132 different knock-knock jokes collected. A taxonomy of the mechanisms that drive these jokes was created by identifying the linguistic features that generate humor in each. The study found that the pun or alternate meaning at the heart of these jokes almost always involves more than one type of linguistic mechanism, the most common being a form of phonological change, often overlapping with a structural reanalysis of the punch line.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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