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Rejeibi, Rafa (2023) A Relevance Theoretic Approach to Explicating Humour in Subtitling Sitcoms from English to Arabic. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In the domain of audiovisual translation (AVT), rendering humour is difficult due to the linguistic intricacy involved and the technical limitations of the medium. Furthermore, it is crucial in humour transfer to represent the original discourse's conceptual and contextual entities within the target text (TT). The American Sitcom How I met Your Mother (HIMYM), investigated in this study, is found to widely employ the strategy of explicitation (a form of expansion) in subtitling from English to Arabic, which is contrary to subtitling norms governed by time and space constraints. This research aims to analyse products of the subtitling of humour from a cognitive-pragmatic perspective in a variety of categories of Netflix translation (wordplay and pun, allusions and idiomatic expressions, visual communication, stereotypes, cultural lacunas, proprialisation and appellativization as sources of humour and language-based humour). This study uses a combined model to acquire insights from three theoretical perspectives: the relevance-theoretic classification of joke types (Yus, 2008); humour rendering tendencies classified according to the humour rendering framework of Mateo (1995); and explicitation as a macro-strategy in translation comprising of micro-strategies used to disambiguate utterances and direct the viewer's attention in subtitling. Data analysis of the data shows a high percentage of explicitation strategies manifested in micro-strategies of addition, substitution, specification, expansion and explanation, and pragmatic explicatures of disambiguation, reference assignment, logical form, enrichment and contextual assumptions. Findings show that the less incongruity is found in the source text (ST) joke, the fewer explicitation strategies are applied. From a relevance-theoretic standpoint, the humorous effect increases when receivers discover another underlying meaning to find congruence beyond the explicit meaning. Providing the underlying meaning too soon on the surface of an utterance does not preserve the inferential procedures that allow for the derivation of comic effects.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Wen-Chin Ouyang and Christopher Lucas
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2023 12:54
Funders: Other

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