chapter  7
Puns and Tacit Linguistic Knowledge
ByDebra Aarons
Pages 15

The mechanisms involved in the production and understanding of puns-the way the Logical Mechanism (LM) operates over the Script Overlap (SOv) and Script Oppositeness (SOp)-form part of the array of analytic tools that are used to investigate the processing of puns and indeed other forms of linguistic humor. This chapter presents evidence for the idea that tacit knowledge of language is recruited by puns. The crucial element in the processing of a pun is that it relies for its humorous impact on listeners' competence that is listeners' tacit knowledge of the rules of their language. Puns are discussed in the next section in terms of the linguistic levels of grammatical knowledge that they recruit. However, for the purpose of the pun the syllable pink is considered Cratylically, that is it shares the morphemic status of pink. The pun here allows the hearer, on reflection, to consider the non-compositional nature of the frozen chunks we use in everyday language.