A linguist with 20 years experience teaching students the intricate concepts about the science of language using jokes, puns and cartoons, employed the same approach in his new book.
Professor Stan Dubinsky, of the University of South California, has written 'Understanding Language through Humor', with co-author USC rhetoric professor Christopher Holcombe and with research assistance from Hannah Peace, a USC Honors College alumna.
Over the course of his years teaching undergraduate linguistics, Dubinsky had come to realize that the comic strips and panels he enjoyed so much were a wonderful teaching tool for a subject that he says can 'sometimes rival physics or chemistry in detail and difficulty'.
"Students love it when you present them with something amusing that also illustrates a main point in the lecture.
"In this respect, language-based humor turns out to be a great way to illustrate difficult-to-grasp linguistic concepts," he said.
Soon Dubinsky became an obsessive cartoon reader and over the years his comic strip collection grew.
Cambridge Press thought Dubinsky's approach to explaining the workings of language through humor was an idea worth sharing. As a result it published his book late last fall.
'Understanding Language through Humor' provides entertaining examples to supplement linguistic textbooks. It uses carefully selected bits of humor to explain a particular aspect of linguistics, such that a reader can come out with a fairly comprehensive understanding of the field.