Discourse Analysis on a George Carlin's Performance

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UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL DE COLOMBIA PHILOLOGY AND FOREING LANGUAGES GRAMMAR II CARLOS ENRIQUE SÁNCHEZ REYES Practical Task: Analyzing language for sociocultural purposes George Carlin’s Ten Commandments was one of his most celebrated performances. Yet, it was just one more show from many, during nearly forty years of career, in which he built himself a name among the most popular stand-up comedians in the world. His routines were always based on his view on controversial topics such as politics and religion. His particular use of Black Humor to refer to these entities of society and the wide diffusion of his style through different media gave him the possibility to attract big audiences to his shows and to a large following. In respect to his view on religion, he could have been defined as an Atheist, (though he always rejected this label as he stated: “the fact of being an Atheist itself means believing in something”) thus it is clear that the crowd that attended “The Ten Commandments” comprised mainly Atheist people or at least people whom differed from Catholicism. Undoubtedly, these people were familiar with Black Humor and the use of explicit words in stand-up comedy, two key features of Carlin’s shows. The Ten Commandments live performance took place in New York in 2001, more exactly, in the Beacon Theatre. This document will analyze ‘The Ten Commandments’ with regards to pragmatics, Critical Discourse Analysis and Building Tasks. When listening to the show, it is evident that the speaker is Carlin and that the hearer is the audience. With this information, it is possible to infer that the situational context is the theatre, where the comedian performs his act on the stage and the audience responds to it with approval, which is manifested in the form of applauses and laughter. It is obvious Carlin and the audience share cultural background knowledge about
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