This chapter investigates the use of humour strategies to popularize scientific knowledge in the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, whose characters embody the opposition between the groups of ‘specialists’ – represented by the four male science post-graduates—and of ‘non-experts’ – represented by their neighbour, a young less educated waitress. The analysis of a corpus of scripts reveals that the lexical and syntactic features of popularization aim at reformulating scientific knowledge (cf. Shane and Whitley 1985), which is thus made accessible for the general audience by means of processes of intralingual translation resorting to non-technical language (cf. Gotti 1996; 2003) or metaphors (Lakoff and Johnson 1980). Scripts are also characterized by the peculiar integration between the linguistic features of popularization and the cognitive and socio-cultural humour strategies, marking the irrelevance of an overspecialized language and producing a disparaging representation of the four male friends. Finally, the analysis of two conversations between the post-graduates are compared to examples of popularization, demonstrating that the neutralization of any schematic distance between senders and recipients produces interactions marked as instances of scientific exposition (Widdowson 1979), where the cooperation maxims of quality, quantity, relevance and manner are shared (Grice 1975).
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.