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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton August 15, 2018

Perceiving Humor in Traditional Chinese Peking Opera

Zhiyi Zhang and Xiaobing Jin
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


Peking opera epitomizes the traditional Chinese performing arts, and all six factors concerning the story and performance of Peking opera, namely plot, role type, song, speech, acting, and combat, can produce humorous effects among the audience. The present paper is a tentative study on humor and sensing humor in Peking opera. The scale study testified that all six factors were able to produce humorous effects and that they had different degrees of comprehension difficulty and humor for different contributing factors. The degree of comprehension difficulty can assert negative influence upon the degree of humor. Different from the traditionally held nonmonotonic (inverted-U) correlation between the two, a monotonic inverse proportion between the two has been detected. The interview analyses revealed that the humorous effects had something to do with incongruity but that resolution might not necessarily be involved. The scale study and the interview analysis both support this finding.


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Published Online: 2018-08-15
Published in Print: 2018-08-28

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston