What is INHERENTLY FUNNY WORD? What does INHERENTLY FUNNY WORD mean? INHERENTLY FUNNY WORD meaning - INHERENTLY FUNNY WORD definition - INHERENTLY FUNNY WORD explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
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Certain words have been suggested to be inherently funny. Vaudeville tradition holds that words with the letter k are funny. A 2015 study at the University of Alberta suggested that the humor of certain nonsense words can be explained by whether they seem rude or not and by the property of entropy – the improbability of certain letters being used together in a word. The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer posited that humor is a product of one's expectations being violated.
Vaudeville lore about funny words can be found in Neil Simon's 1972 play The Sunshine Boys, in which an aging comedian gives a lesson to his nephew on comedy, saying that words with the letter k are funny:
Fifty-seven years in this business, you learn a few things. You know what words are funny and which words are not funny. Alka Seltzer is funny. You say 'Alka Seltzer' you get a laugh ... Words with 'k' in them are funny. Casey Stengel, that's a funny name. Robert Taylor is not funny. Cupcake is funny. Tomato is not funny. Cookie is funny. Cucumber is funny. Car keys. Cleveland ... Cleveland is funny. Maryland is not funny. Then, there's chicken. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny. Cab is funny. Cockroach is funny – not if you get 'em, only if you say 'em.
Richard Wiseman, a professor of the public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, conducted a small experiment to determine whether words with a 'k' sound were actually considered funnier than others for English speakers. His LaughLab tested the degree of funniness among a family of jokes based on animal sounds, similar to the following:
There were two cows in a field. One said: 'Moo'. The other one said: 'I was going to say that!'
The version that was rated the most funny was also the one with the most 'k' sounds. It was:
Two ducks were sitting in a pond. One of the ducks said: 'Quack'. The other duck said: 'I was going to say that!'
Robert Beard, a professor emeritus of linguistics at Bucknell University, told an interviewer that "The first thing people always write in about is funny words". Beard's first book was The 100 Funniest Words in English, and among his selected words are "absquatulate", "bowyangs", "collywobbles", "fartlek", "filibuster", "gongoozle", "hemidemisemiquaver", and "snollygoster".
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Memory and Language examined the humor of nonsense words. The study used a computer program to generate pronounceable nonsense words that followed typical English spelling conventions and tested them for their perceived funniness to human test subjects.
The funniest nonsense words tended to be those that reminded people of real words that are considered rude or offensive. This category included four of the top-six nonsense words that were rated the funniest in the experiment: "whong", "dongl", "shart", and "focky". To explain why these words seemed funny, the study's author said "The expectation that you've read or uttered a rude word is raised – and then violated, because in fact it's harmless nonsense. There's a sense of relief – of getting away with it."
After removing from consideration the words that seemed rude, another factor was suggested to also be significant. The study's lead author, Chris Westbury from the University of Alberta, suggests that the humor of certain invented words can be explained by the property of entropy. Entropy (specifically Shannon entropy) here expresses how unlikely the letter combinations in certain nonsense words are: the more unlikely the letters are to be used together in English, the more funny the combination is likely to be found. Nonsense words such as "rumbus", "skritz", and "yuzz-a-ma-tuzz", which were created by children's book author and illustrator Dr. Seuss, were found to have less probable letter combinations and to seem funnier than most ordinary English words. According to Westbury, "there's actually a consistent relationship between how funny are and how weird they are".....