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Verbal Dueling

  • By: Jacquelyn Rahman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture
  • Keywords:dueling

Among the array of verbal practices that count as speech play, verbal dueling is a practice in which the talk that frequently characterizes everyday humor interactions is formalized and ritualized to produce a competitive display of wit and dexterity. Verbal dueling requires at least two participants who know and understand the performance conventions that govern the language game for their social group. In a verbal duel, a participant produces an utterance; a second participant must then surpass the utterance of the first with a repartee that listeners consider to be cleverer than the contribution of the first participant. The participant manipulates linguistic features at any level, in relation to each other and in relation to the sociocultural contexts in which they occur, to produce an ...

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