Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Semantics,vocabulary,semantic

A Speech-Act Analysis of Puns in Romeo and Juliet

Author ZhangChunYan
Tutor HeGang
School East China Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords speech act theory pun Romeo and Juliet
CLC H313
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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The purpose of this thesis is to adopt Austin and Searle’s speech act theory together with Grice’s cooperative principle to analyze the most often used figure of speech--pun in Shakespeare’s famous tragicomedy Romeo and Juliet. By applying the pragmatic approach to the analysis of the rhetoric conversations in this play, the thesis attempts to demonstrate that speech act theory can not only be used to analyze conversations in the real world, but that in plays which are made up particularly to achieve such effects as humor, irony, ambiguity and so on.From the perspective of language use, a pun is not only a figure of speech but a kind of pragmatic approach. As a figure of speech, the pun is a relatively stable utterance pattern whose language force is under the effect of social convention. As a result, a SAT (speech act theory) approach toward the analysis of puns is an effective way in understanding the speaker’s special intentions and subsequent contextual effects.So far, speech act theory has been applied to the analysis of various kinds of language phenomena such as advertisements, news headlines, speeches, literature and so on. As for literature, researchers home and abroad tend to focus their attention on conversation analysis and contextual theories. Not many have ever tried to explore a specific literary work, a play in particular, from the perspective of speech act theory. This thesis is then trying to make a tentative research about puns in the play Romeo and Juliet from the perspective of speech act theory, in hoping that it might be of some help for a different way to appreciate Shakespeare’s works.

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