• Daniel C. O’Connell
  • Sabine Kowal
Part of the Cognition and Language: A Series in Psycholinguistics book series (CALS)

Chapter Prospectus

Chapter 17, Laughter, pinpoints yet another phenomenon characteristic of spontaneous spoken discourse. In writing, the simulation of laughter is stereotyped as HA-HA, whereas the phonetics of actual laughter covers quite a range of sound (e.g., he, ha, hm, ho, or the simple, unvoiced expiration h). There has been historically a confusion of the concept because of the identification of humor and comedy with laughter, mostly on the part of philosophers and litterateurs. The empirical investigation of laughter itself – as a behavior – has languished, as has even more so the empirical investigation of its opposite, weeping. Linguistics has categorized laughter as a nonverbal phenomenon and therefore peripheral to its interests; similarly, mainstream psycholinguistics has found little interest in laughter. But much laughter is overlaid on speech itself and therefore carries a specific semantic message along with it. By way of contrast, the conversation-analytic...


Rhetorical Device True Feeling Science Time Radio Interview Nonverbal Vocalization 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel C. O’Connell
    • 1
  • Sabine Kowal
    • 2
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Technische Universität Institut für Sprache und KommunikationGermany

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