Communicative Failures Presented in American Comedy Series Analysed from a Psycholinguistic Perspective




affect, cinema, cognition, communicative failure, inference, intersubjectivity, volition


The paper reveals and describes the causes of communicative failures from a perspective of the intersubjective approach to communication incorporating basic assumptions of psycholinguistics. It introduces a unit of communication analysis called an intersubjective act. It is defined as an inter-action, where verbal/non-verbal communicative actions of addressers are viewed as perceptual stimuli that, coming into the focus of addressees’ attention, trigger parallel conscious/non-conscious inference processes involving cognition, volition, and affect to issue a command of a communicative and/or (immediate or postponed) social action. Inferential analysis applied in the research provides tools for the recreation of communicants’ inferential processes and allows consideration of perceptual, cognitive, affective, and volitional aspects of interaction. Inferential analysis handles American cinema discourse represented by the genre of a situation comedy that models live communication, supplying instances of communicative failures to subject to analysis. А communicative failure is viewed as an inability on the part of an addressee to make an inference or make a faulty inference in an intersubjective act. Communicative failures are identified and classified in accordance with the element of the physical or mental experience of the participants of an intersubjective act, which plays a privileged role in causing them. We distinguish between perceptual, lingua-cognitive, cognitive and affective-volitional communicative failures.

Author Biographies

Alla Martynyuk, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Alla Martynyuk (DSc. in Philology, Professor) is currently working at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine. Her research interests include cognitive multimodal analysis of communication, translation, and gender studies.

Olga Dubtsova, Simon Kuznets Kharkiv National University of Economics

Olga Dubtsova (Ph.D. in Philology, Associate Professor) is currently working at Simon Kuznets Kharkiv National University of Economics, Ukraine. Her research interests include cognitive linguistics and communication studies.


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How to Cite

Martynyuk, A., & Dubtsova, O. (2022). Communicative Failures Presented in American Comedy Series Analysed from a Psycholinguistic Perspective. Baltic Journal of English Language, Literature and Culture, 12, 86–100.