‘Pointless’ is a popular TV quiz-show series currently aired in the UK by the BBC. It’s hosted by Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, whom, along with the contestants, often engage in a spot of banter. [If you’re not familiar with the show, here’s an episode.]
“This paper explores banter within the television quiz show Pointless. Building on previous theories of banter, I suggest that the composite nature of the phenomenon can usefully be analysed within an interactional pragmatic model, such as that proposed by Lecercle (1999). Using this model to analyse various episodes of Pointless, I seek to demonstrate that banter is created within a dynamic interpersonal process. I focus on the sequential interaction between speaker and the various hearers involved in the exchange, as opposed to isolated utterances. I propose that any analysis of banter needs not only to study the linguistic aspects of a series of utterances, but also the sociocultural context and the encyclopaedic knowledge that each participant brings to the exchange.”
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[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]