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Witz

  • By: Ralph Müller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

The German concept Witz (pl. Witze) is relevant to humor research in two ways. In contemporary German Witz refers to the text type joke. Etymologically the word Witz is related to English “wit”: originally it denoted knowledge or wisdom, however over time it came to be associated with the important poetic terms wit and esprit, as discussed below.

Contemporary Witz

In contemporary German, Witz is a short, humorous, and fictional prose narrative that ends with a laughter-triggering punch line (in German, Pointe). Sometimes a stricter definition, which includes additional features such as orality, anonymity of the author, or the use of present tense, is used to narrow down the genre. In addition, the way in which it is differentiated from other humorous short forms such as anecdote, ...

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