A famous anonymous aphorism reads: “All people smile in the same language”; however, both ‘Verbal’ and ‘Referential’ humour (Attardo 1994) are dependant on language (McGhee 1996) and in turn expressed through the witty exploitation of – different – languages themselves. This is one of the reasons why each form of humour is inextricably embedded in the cultural cradle in which it was born; in this perspective, according to Solomon (1997:204) “humour is to some extent ‘racist,’ not in the vile sense of demeaning some ethnic or racial group but rather in the more innocent sense that all humour is to some extent context and culture-bound”; this implies that it can hardly, or even never, be understood without an explanation of the cultural mindset and rules/taboos which the humorous issue refers to. Accordingly, in order to understand the ambiguity underlying the majority of verbally expressed humour, not only a sound linguistic knowledge is required, but also the ability to switch frames of reference, which implies that careful attention must be paid to the “cultural turn”, to use Bassnett’s definition (1991:4). All this accounts for the great – sometimes insurmountable – challenge that the rendering of verbally expressed humour represents for translators, “a notoriously hard task the results of which are not always triumphant”, in Chiaro’s words (2005:135). Our paper intends to investigate if and to what extent the Italian dubbed version of Hugh Wilson’s 1996 film The First Wives Club is effective in translating all the humorous issues, and whether (or not) it is successful in fully conveying its comic and satirical dimension. The theoretical framework in which our research lies is both Applied Descriptive Translation Studies (Gottlieb 1998, Snell-Hornby1988, 2006) and Attardo’s General Theory of Verbal Humour (Attardo &. Raskin1991, Attardo 1994, 2002). Adapted from the best-selling novel by Olivia Goldsmith, the film is a scathing satire of modern North American society, and in particular of Upper East Side and Hollywood ‘norms’. In this hit comedy three wealthy Manhattanites, former close college friends, reunite for the first time in years and set out for revenge on their two-timing husbands who, after being helped by their spouses to build up hugely successful businesses, dump them for younger ‘trophy’ wives.

Can Culture-specific Humour Really "Cross the Border"?

CAVALIERE, Flavia
2008

Abstract

A famous anonymous aphorism reads: “All people smile in the same language”; however, both ‘Verbal’ and ‘Referential’ humour (Attardo 1994) are dependant on language (McGhee 1996) and in turn expressed through the witty exploitation of – different – languages themselves. This is one of the reasons why each form of humour is inextricably embedded in the cultural cradle in which it was born; in this perspective, according to Solomon (1997:204) “humour is to some extent ‘racist,’ not in the vile sense of demeaning some ethnic or racial group but rather in the more innocent sense that all humour is to some extent context and culture-bound”; this implies that it can hardly, or even never, be understood without an explanation of the cultural mindset and rules/taboos which the humorous issue refers to. Accordingly, in order to understand the ambiguity underlying the majority of verbally expressed humour, not only a sound linguistic knowledge is required, but also the ability to switch frames of reference, which implies that careful attention must be paid to the “cultural turn”, to use Bassnett’s definition (1991:4). All this accounts for the great – sometimes insurmountable – challenge that the rendering of verbally expressed humour represents for translators, “a notoriously hard task the results of which are not always triumphant”, in Chiaro’s words (2005:135). Our paper intends to investigate if and to what extent the Italian dubbed version of Hugh Wilson’s 1996 film The First Wives Club is effective in translating all the humorous issues, and whether (or not) it is successful in fully conveying its comic and satirical dimension. The theoretical framework in which our research lies is both Applied Descriptive Translation Studies (Gottlieb 1998, Snell-Hornby1988, 2006) and Attardo’s General Theory of Verbal Humour (Attardo &. Raskin1991, Attardo 1994, 2002). Adapted from the best-selling novel by Olivia Goldsmith, the film is a scathing satire of modern North American society, and in particular of Upper East Side and Hollywood ‘norms’. In this hit comedy three wealthy Manhattanites, former close college friends, reunite for the first time in years and set out for revenge on their two-timing husbands who, after being helped by their spouses to build up hugely successful businesses, dump them for younger ‘trophy’ wives.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
TEXTUS 2008.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Documento in Post-print
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 2.23 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.23 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/341349
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact