4 Ways to Use Humor in Papers # 3 在論文中善用幽默的四大守則第三條

寫學術論文的人常聽說不要用幽默來表達觀點。雖然這個告誡用心良苦,但完全不用幽默又太過頭了。幽默是有效的溝通方法,而寫作學術論文本就該懂得運用各種溝通方法。本系列文章說明如何用適當的方式,在學術論文中有效運用幽默。文章將刊登在 TPS 粉絲頁,最後集結於電子報。
Writers of academic papers are cautioned against employing humor to communicate their points. The caution is well-intentioned, but outright prohibition of lightly humorous material goes too far. Humor is a valid method of communication and authors of academic papers should have every method at their disposal. This series of columns will describe how humor can be effective and acceptable in scholarly writing. Each part in the series will be presented on the TPS Fan page before being compiled.

3rd Humor Guideline – Use it Sparingly

Humor in an academic paper is rare because it is virtually proscribed. Beginning writers are advised—make that… strictly warned—not to employ humor for the sensible reason that it is a difficult communication technique. Consequently, many beginning writers mature without ever having used an amusing aside or light touch. They simply do not use humor. That’s regrettable. Those willing to employ humor in a paper—in such light sprinklings that they almost honor the prohibition—can earn the respect of professors for communicating clearly and engagingly.
學術文章幾乎不許運用幽默,因此很少看到幽默。新手作者都聽過這個建議-應該說是嚴格的告誡-不要運用幽默,因為幽默是個困難的溝通技巧。這個理由很合理。因此許多新手作者在磨練成長中,從來不曾在文章裡穿插風趣或輕鬆幽默的文字,完全和幽默保持距離,實在很可惜。至於願意在論文裡運用幽默的人, 儘管只是輕描淡寫,好像也同意不該用幽默一樣,但卻因為表達清晰生動而能獲得教授青睞。

Here’s an example: In describing the reaction of a laboratory rodent, a writer might straight-forwardly observe, “The mouse smelled the tainted sugar, its nose reacting to the injected block, and returned to its cage.” That is a serviceable statement, but this is better: “The mouse sniffed at the sugar cube, sneezed, and turned tail on the treat.” Nothing in this recounting of the lab experience is frivolous, funny as such, or distracting. Yet the reader is given a gently arresting image that has the power to tease out a smile… that of a scampering, sneezing, retreating mouse.

A less disciplined writer might have gone overboard and written…”The mouse seemed to suspect the sugar contained a mickey, turned, and ran back to Minnie.” While this allusion to Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse is cutely apt—a “mickey” is a secretly drugged drink or food—it tries too hard to incorporate them. The result is a tangent for a reader, a detour rather than continued forward movement of a narrative. Humor should not be used often, and never employed with a heavy hand, because the result is neither funny nor effective.


Posted at 2013-10-08 21:57:24

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