Advanced search
Start date

Rhetoric, prosody and humor: an integrative approach in the analysis of the sitcom Friends

Full text
Ana Cláudia Ferreira da Silveira
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Araraquara. 2023-03-25.
Institution: Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp). Faculdade de Ciências e Letras. Araraquara
Defense date:
Advisor: Maria Flávia Figueiredo; Gladis Massini Cagliari

The rhetorical delivery (actio) – the phase in which the speaker utters the speech – designates the speaker's performance and how he presents himself to the audience. At this stage, in addition to the discursive content, the prosodic elements are fundamental, as they attribute melody and rhythm to speech. The communicative expression arising from these elements can assume certain functions and cause different reactions in the audience, such as laughter. Thus, this work aims to investigate the function of prosody as a possible trigger for the provocation of laughter in the phase related to rhetorical actio. To delineate this objective, we start from the hypothesis that prosodic nature modifications can exceed the function of simple enunciative markers to assume the leading role in the process of stimulating laughter in certain discursive occurrences. To observe this phenomenon, we selected 37 excerpts from the sitcom Friends (NBC, 1994-2004) in which laughter, on the part of the audience (available during the recording of the sitcom), was present. From this selection, we sought to observe, through an auditory analysis - of the auditory-perceptual correlates of prosody - if the dialogues that preceded the laughter showed some type of prosodic modification. It is necessary to emphasize that - to restrict as many variables as possible (such as syntactic and vocabulary levels) and narrow the observed elements - identical utterances were selected, that is, those issued repeatedly by the same character but showed prosodic modification. We undertook acoustic analysis with the help of the Praat program, in which it was analyzed the following acoustic correlates: fundamental frequency (F0), intensity (dB), and duration (ms). In order to test our research hypothesis, we submitted our corpus to an analysis based on the following theoretical frameworks: Rhetoric: Aristóteles (2015), Cícero (2013), Quintiliano (2016), and Reboul (2004); Prosody: Cagliari (1992; 2007), Massini-Cagliari (1992) Kent and Read (2015) and Scarpa (1999); and Humor: Alberti (1999); Attardo, Urios-Aparisi and Wagner (2013); Berger (2017), Bergson (2018), Possenti (2010), Quintiliano (2016) and Raskin (1985). The data collected in our investigative process indicated that the prosodic phenomena, intonation, volume, range, and pause, could act in the modification and construction of both semantic and pragmatic meanings. Therefore, the central hypothesis of this research was confirmed since the results indicated that prosody assumed a fundamental role in the constitution of contrastive scripts and humor effects related to repetition, irony, exaggeration, and imitation, provoking, in this manner, laughter. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 18/03149-9 - Prosody, humor and rhetoric: an interdisciplinary relation
Grantee:Ana Cláudia Ferreira da Silveira
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate