A Cognitive-pragmatic Approach to Puns

Jin Qiu


The present paper is intended to provide a unified account for the interpretation of puns from a cognitive-pragmatic perspective. In recent years a few scholars have delved into the processing mechanism of puns, but none of them has demonstrably elucidated the cognitive psychological foundation of puns and the development of our cognitive strategy for pun interpretation. Through careful analyses, the present paper proves that the logic of taxonomy is the cognitive psychological foundation of puns and shows that a cognitive approach incorporating the notion of the impartment and inheritance of connotation and denotation (IICD for short) can be successfully applied to the analyses of puns. Based on this notion, we propose a four-step hypothesis for the interpretation of puns. It is demonstrated that this hypothesis can effectively elucidate the interpretation of puns, and meanwhile, unfold a picture of addressees’ mental progress.



Puns; the impartment and inheritance of the connotation and denotation (IICD for short); hinges; context; cognitive mechanism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.4p.135


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