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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 35, Issue 6


Localizing humor through parodying white voice in Hawai‘i stand-up comedy

Toshiaki Furukawa
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Communication and Culture, Otsuma Women’s University, 12 Sanbancho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-8357, Japan
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Published Online: 2015-11-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0022


This discourse analytic study investigates the strategic use of represented talk and thought in Hawai‘i stand-up comedy performances. Utilizing the methods and findings of membership categorization, and stylization, I analyze how Local comedians make discursive contrasts by deploying Pidgin (Hawai‘i Creole) to voice Locals and by deploying “Haole” (‘white’) or racially parodied, mock English to voice non-Locals. Findings show that Local comedians and their audiences collaboratively manipulate and display their understanding of these culturally specific indexicals to co-create and localize humor. Analysis further shows that Local humor is a highly political act that is selectively designed for a particular sociolinguistic and cultural audience and sociopolitical context.

Keywords: represented talk; reported speech; Hawai‘i Creole; Pidgin; stylization; comedy; ethnic humor


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About the article

Toshiaki Furukawa

Toshiaki Furukawa received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and currently works at Otsuma Women’s University. His research interests include multilingual interaction and storytelling, membership categorization in media talk, and Hawai‘i Studies.

Published Online: 2015-11-28

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages 845–869, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0022.

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