A Pun Travels the Pathways of Your Brain
1. You hear from a jocular friend:
2. Your phonological system interprets sounds to activate the lexical nection bill.
3. This nection (a logonection) is connected to two separate conceptual subnetworks via two different conceptual nections (ideonections), one for the bill you would pay at a bar, the other for the mouth of a duck.
4. Normally, other contextual cues would help your linguistic system choose one alternative, by activating one and not the other.
However, if you were talking about ducks, or were in the presence of ducks, the DUCK-BILL ideonection would be activated.
5. But the wording of this joke has caused activation surrounding both duck-related concepts and bar-related concepts. Therefore activation on the lexical nection bill proceeds to both conceptual areas. You thus get both interpretations, resulting from two different integrations of the spoken input to your system.
6. But instead of laughing, you groan.
Go to Menu (for non-frame version.)
© 2000 Rice University. This document, or any portion hereof, may be used for non-commercial informational purposes only. Any copy of this document, or portion hereof, must include the copyright notice (http://www.rice.edu/about/cr-notice.html) in its entirety.