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I was reading the abstract of my master’s thesis last night and thought I should share with you guys here. Why? Because I wrote it entirely in Twi, with an English version of it on another page.
The thesis, rooted in the linguistic fields of pragmatics and translation studies, explored conversational humour in Akan dramatic discourse. I sought to provide and discuss the theoretical bases behind the funniness of certain dialogue excerpts drawn from two Akan movies, and find out whether or not the subtitles provided for these dialogue excerpts could elicit similar humorous responses from non-Akan-speaking viewers.
To aid in your reading, I have provided the respective English versions under all the paragraphs. Do note, though, that in most parts, the English versions are not direct word-for-word translations; I employed a free translation strategy to carry the core message across. Have a good read!
Adesua yi wɔ mmotaeɛ atitire mmiɛnsa: sɛ ɛbɛyiyi Akan kasakuo ahoroɔ a ɛtumi ma ahwɛfoɔ sere afiri sini mmienu bi mu; sɛ ɛbɛhwɛ deɛ ɛma saa kasakuo ahoroɔ yi yɛ sere; na afei nso ahwɛ sɛ mpo atwerɛdeɛ ahoroɔ a wɔde asi kasa yi ananmu no tumi ma wɔn a wɔnte Akan kasa no sere anaa? Sini mmienu a adesua yi de di saa nnwuma a yɛabobɔ soɔ no ne I Told You So (1970) ne Obroni Hiani (2014).
The paramount aim of this study is threefold: to tease out a number of communicative phenomena in two Akan dramatic discourse which carry humour enjoyed by viewers; to provide theoretical accounts of what make these communicative situations funny; and to examine the subtitles provided for the discourses to determine whether they are likely to evoke the same or similar humorous effects in the target-language viewers. The study does these with data drawn from the Akan movies I Told You So (1970) and Obroni Hiani (2014).
Adesua yi susu sɛ, sini mmienu no mu kasakuo ahoroɔ a ɛtumi ma ahwɛfoɔ sere no bi ne badwam kasa a ɛfa Akan akyiwadeɛ ahoroɔ ho (open expression of Akan taboos), afɛwdie (teasing/ridiculing), anihanehane (hyperbole), kasakoa ne mmɛ a yɛaka adane no (stylistic modifications of idioms and proverbs), ɛne deɛ ɛkeka ho.
It is argued that conversational humour employed in the discourse of, at least, the two Akan movies come in the form of disparaging remarks/putdowns, open expression of Akan taboos, teases/ridicules, hyperbole, stylistic modifications of idioms and proverbs, amongst others.
Adesua yi bɔ mmɔden sɛ ɛde susudeɛ ahoroɔ (superiority, relief, incongruity, relevance theories of humour) bɛkyerɛkyerɛ deɛ nti a kasakuo ahoroɔ no tumi ma ahwɛfoɔ sere. Yɛhunuu sɛ, ɛtɔ da a, kasa bi tumi ma ahwɛfoɔ ne/anaa sini no mu nnipa no bi nya atenka bi sɛ gyama wɔnim biribi yɔ sene nipa titire bi a ɔwɔ sini no mu. Sɛ ɛkɔ ba no saa a, deɛ wɔsusu sɛ ɔnnim saa biribi no yɔ no ho tumi yɛ wɔn sere. Ɛtɔ da nso a, ɛsiane sɛ Akan amammerɛ mma ho kwan sɛ amanfoɔ bɛkasa afa akyiwadeɛ bi ho nti, sɛ obi bu mmara yi so kasa fa ho a, ɛtumi ma ahwɛfoɔ sere. Afei, sɛ sini mmienu no mu nipa bi yɛ biribi anaa ɔka biribi a ɛne nnipa dasani tebea ahoroɔ bɔ abira a, ɛtumi ma ahwɛfoɔ sere.
This study employs the traditional tripartite theories of humour (superiority, relief and incongruity) as well as Sperber and Wilson’s relevance theory to account for the humour carried by the dialogue excerpts drawn from the two movies for this study. It is established that the humour carried by some of the excerpts arise out of viewers’ and/or certain characters’ conception of some eminency over another character (especially when the latter displays incompetence at a task), viewers’ sudden release of accumulated nervous energy meant to repress the expression of Akan taboos (when a character in the movie openly talks about a tabooed activity or substance), and viewers’ reaction to a character’s illogical, unexpected behaviour or utterance.
Ne korakora no, adesua yi da no adi sɛ ɛnnyɛ atwerɛdeɛ ahoroɔ a wɔde asi sini mmienu no mu kasa ananmu no nyinaa na ɛtumi ma ahwɛfoɔ a wɔnte Akan kasa no sere. Ebinom tumi, na ebi nso ntumi. Yɛhunuu sɛ, mpɛn pii no, ɛsiane sɛ wɔn a wɔnyɛ Akanfoɔ (anaa wɔnte Akan kasa no) nni nimdeɛ fa Akan amammerɛ nhyehyɛeɛ bi ho, na ɔnni nneɛma titire bi wɔ wɔn man anaa amammerɛ mu nti no, ɛyɛ den sɛ kasakuo atwerɛdeɛ nsiananmu no bɛtumi ama wɔn asere.
Lastly, the study employs Gutt’s (1998, 2000) notion of interpretive resemblance to examine the subtitles provided for the dialogue excerpts drawn for the study. Interpretive resemblance is used here to determine the extent to which the subtitles succeed at eliciting the same or similar humorous responses from the target-language viewers as intended for the source-language viewers with the original dialogues. It is argued that resemblance of this kind between the original dialogues and the corresponding subtitles is not always possible. The subtitles of the excerpts whose humour is built around unique Akan cultural assumptions and referents tend not to fully resemble its original dialogue in humorous respects.
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