From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In a story, we detect an allotopy when two basic meaning traits (semes) contradict each other, that is when they trace two incompatible interpretations. It was conceived as being the opposite of an isotopy, which is the homogeneity resulting from repetition of the same seme.[1] This concept has been coined in the 1970s by the Belgian semioticians known as Groupe µ.


In the 1970, the Belgian semioticians known under the name Groupe µ, introduced the concept of Allotopy.[2] They first discussed the concept in publications like Isotopie et allotopie,[3] Isotopie, allotopie et polytopie (1976),[4] and A Rhetoric of Poetry (1977).[5]

Allotopy and humor[edit]

Groupe µ discussed the relation of allotopy to jokes and humor.[citation needed] Salvatore Attardo, despite not using the term allotopy, formulated a theory of humor based on the idea of the "incompatible interpretations", called the isotopy-disjunction model.[6][7] This is part of the broader idea of defining humor as based on contradiction/incongruity.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jean-Marie Klinkenberg (1996) Précis de sémiotique générale, De Boeck, p. 118 [1]
  2. ^ Définition de : l'allotopie
  3. ^ DUBOIS J. ; EDELINE F. ; KLINKENBERG J.-M. ; MINGUET P. (1976) Isotopie et allotopie: le fonctionnement rhétorique du texte, no14, pp. 41-65 (2 p.)
  4. ^ Groupe µ (1976) Isotopie, allotopie et polytopie : le texte rhétorique, Versus, 14, 1 976
  5. ^ Groupe µ (1977)
  6. ^ Salvatore Attardo (2001) Humorous texts: a semantic and pragmatic analysis, sect.5.3.2, p.83
  7. ^ Salvatore Attardo (1994) Linguistic theories of humor, chap.2
  8. ^ The sign in Paris semiotics, Semiotica. Volume 111, Issue 1-2, Pages 1–34, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, doi:10.1515/semi.1996.111.1-2.1, //1996


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]