|Abstract: ||The aim of the thesis Word play in Polish jokes is to describe Polish jokes and to classify them according to the type of word play they employ. The analysis of collected jokes resulted in dividing them into situational jokes and puns. In case of this thesis only puns are crucial, as they use linguistic mechanisms which cannot be replaced by other structures without changing the meaning.
The thesis makes use of a wide definition of a joke, which comprises not only one-sentence jokes, but also jokes consisting of a dialogue preceded by an introduction of various length. Jokes may have the form of a riddle or a dialogue and there are no limitations regarding its length or the number of participants.
The present thesis endeavours to characterise contemporary Polish jokes on the basis of a corpus of 10 000 jokes. The corpus is derived from traditional sources such as collections of jokes in the form of books, as well as the press and the Internet.
The theoretical part of the thesis comprises a description of the joke structure, and it endeavours to determine its prototype and to define the notion of word play starting from the term introduced by Wittgenstein. It also discusses the phenomenon of laughter in the philosophical, sociological and psychological context.
The practical part discusses various types of word play. Therefore, we have jokes which use polysemy, homonymy, parallelism, collocations, paronyms, synonyms and antonyms. The analysis of the jokes takes into consideration both structural redefinitions (e.g. secondary word formation), and semantic ones (change of word meaning, grouping of structures including structurally related formations with different meaning, as well as creation of fictional semantic groups and other ways to challenge the conventions aiming at a comical effect).
Polysemy is one of the types of word play used in Polish jokes. A humorous effect can be obtained, for example, by means of a game with the addressee which consists in evoking the possibility to use another meaning than the one in the joke. It may happen thanks to the structure of the joke, which is common in riddle jokes, when from the beginning the addressee is expecting to be surprised, or by mentioning particular topics in the joke. Jokes based on homonymy are very diverse and refer to many different fields. Understanding them requires basic knowledge of various general topics, because in this type of jokes the homonymic form of the word is often left unsaid. Homonyms resulting from blurring the boundaries between words are the most numerous, however, the number of other linguistic mechanisms occurring in homonymic jokes indicates that this word play is common in Polish jokes.
Jokes based on parallelism use structural differences to obtain a humorous effect. The jokes can have diverse topics, which do not determine in any way the type of employed word play.
As for jokes based on collocations, various types of opaque idioms and phraseological innovations are the most typical. The topic of the joke does not require using any particular linguistic mechanism, but it may contribute to the choice of collocations.
The analysis of the material results in many interesting observations concerning the structure and topics of jokes. Further, more detailed research is needed on relations between the structure of jokes and the type of word play they employ. At the same time, it seems that the topic of the joke does not influence its structure, and that a particular type of word play can be used in jokes having various topics.
The analysis of the material resulted in a classification which can be a starting point for further research on word play in Polish jokes.|