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

Wordplay in church marquees

Nancy D. Bell, Scott Crossley and Christian F. Hempelmann
From the journal


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