PUNNING AS A WORD-FORMING METHOD IN BULGARIAN AND GREEK YOUTH SLANG
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Among the most characteristic features of young people's speech is that of word play, called punning or paronomasia in the English linguistic literature. The effect of this phenomenon is achieved on the basis of different types of associations – internal or “in-group” associations (understandable only to the closed social group, a kind of youth argot) and external or “out-group”, which can be guessed by almost every speaker. The intended result of the punning in youth slang is to achieve a humorous effect. A thing is considered funny when something else, already well known, is (re)presented in a somewhat absurd aspect, a basic rule in comedy – reduction ad absurdum. The studied puns are also a result of the combination of two opposite “scenarios” or models. In the Balkan cultural context, such scenarios are very colorful and popular in slang word formation and are based on the imitation of foreign languages, the imitation of а foreign accent and mistakes, as well as the imitation of Turkish vocabulary (the last one is registered in both Greek and Bulgarian, and is part of a bigger process which I refer to as balkanization of the slang). Punning also is based on funny abbreviations, phonetic and morphologic changes via minimal deformation which aims at the effect of surprise. An example of the balkanization of the youth slang by punning is the so-called imitation of Turkish vocabulary – exactly the same process that we observe in the Bulgarian and Greek youth slang, as in the invented, imaginary words, which are similar to actual Turkish words.