Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 1, 2008

Detecting semiotically-expressed humor in diasporic TV productions

  • Giuseppe Balirano and Marcella Corduas
From the journal HUMOR


In this article, we suggest a semiotic approach to the study of visual humorous texts. Our method is based on the multimodal script analysis, which is a useful tool for examining not only verbal texts but also more complex texts, which combine the presence of images and sounds with verbally expressed humor. The resulting framework highlights how some visual comic mechanisms may enhance a different perception of semiotically expressed humor. Moreover, we present a statistical model in order to detect and measure how the resolution of some incongruities may also be determined by specific variables, which help to establish the existence and the strength with which the appreciation of humor varies according to the ethnic group of origin. In particular, the study analyzes the clip ‘Jodhpur Station, 1947’ from a very popular British Asian sketch-show, Goodness Gracious Me (GGM). The sketch shares some similar features with the narrative strategies typical of joke-tellers and is characterized by a complex humorous apparatus depending on different levels of understanding relating to encyclopedic, cross-cultural, and even diasporic knowledge of the world.

Correspondence address:

Published Online: 2008-09-01
Published in Print: 2008-August

© 2008 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin

Downloaded on 8.12.2023 from
Scroll to top button