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Conference Papers Year : 2015

Understanding Laughter


Laughter is pervasive in human conversation (more than 30k tokens in the dialogue part of the British National Corpus (BNC) (approx. 1 of every 14 turns (n = 430k).)). Most laughter is not triggered by humorous stimuli1 and close to half of all laughter events are reactions to one’s own speech (e.g., [20]). In this paper, we demonstrate that laughter needs to be integrated with lexically and phrasally produced import—arguing against the common assumption (see e.g., [10]) that laughter has no propositional content. Following this we develop a semantic- pragmatic analysis: we show how relatively general meanings, aligned with contextually–driven reasoning lead to a variety of disparate inferences.


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hal-01371396 , version 1 (26-09-2016)


  • HAL Id : hal-01371396 , version 1


Jonathan Ginzburg, Ellen Breitholtz, Robin Cooper, Julian Hough, Ye Tian. Understanding Laughter. 20th Amsterdam Colloquium, 2015, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ⟨hal-01371396⟩
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