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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 28, 2011

Wordplay in church marquees

  • Nancy D. Bell EMAIL logo , Scott Crossley EMAIL logo and Christian F. Hempelmann EMAIL logo
From the journal HUMOR


Despite research demonstrating a certain degree of incompatibility between humor and religion, church marquees in the United States frequently use humor, and especially puns, as a way of advertising religious messages. Is the wordplay found in this context different from wordplay in general? Our comparison of the puns found on church billboards versus those found in a general corpus of puns reveals significant differences in structure and content, suggesting that these puns represent a specific type of humor. The discussion outlines possible reasons for these differences, with a focus on social context.

Keywords:: humor; puns; religion; wordplay
Published Online: 2011-04-28
Published in Print: 2011-May

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York

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