Humor und Ironie in chinesischen Talkshowgesprächen: Scherzkommunikation an der Grenze der Höflichkeitsverletzung
In this empirical investigation into modern Chinese humour, the author explores the mechanisms of conversational joking and irony within the scope of the popular Chinese talk show 实话实说 Shihua shishuo . Based on the Chinese notion of concepts like teasing, irony and sarcasm, the borderline between politically correct forms of humor and impoliteness comes into focus. The playful interaction between the former talk show host Cui Yongyuan and his guests comprises techniques of parody, hyperformality, and different kinds of role play. Approaching Chinese verbal humor and irony from various pragmatic models, 23 sequences from eight episodes of 实话实说 Shihua shishuo are transcribed, translated and analyzed by means of different Chinese concepts of irony. In this regard, the question to what extent Chinese conversational humor can be accounted for by linguistic theories of irony is challenged. In the analysis of the humorous and ironical sequences, audience reactions like applause, laughter or indignation are taken into account. Moreover, interviews with 12 Chinese native speakers help to identify and to evaluate strategies of conversational irony. In the context of the Chinese media, censorship and self-censorship are important concomitant factors that are considered along with Chinese politeness and face-work. All these aspects help to understand the political and cultural framework of Chinese humour and irony.