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Emotion in Interaction$
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Anssi Perakyla and Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730735

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.001.0001

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Laughter in Conversation

Laughter in Conversation

The Case of “Fake” Laughter

(p.174) Chapter 8 Laughter in Conversation
Emotion in Interaction

Markku Haakana

Oxford University Press

The chapter analyzes the uses of “fake” laughter in conversation, that is, occasions of speakers not really laughing but producing the laugh tokens (e.g, heh and hah) as articulated lexical items. As previous studies suggest, fake laughter can be used as a response to a joke to mark the failure of the joke. The chapter shows that fake laughter is used in various ways in dealing with unsuccessful jokes, both by the teller and by the recipient. Furthermore, the study shows that not all fake laughter is connected with jokes and their success: lexicalized laugh tokens are also used to mark delicate interactional contexts. In all, fake laughter offers a means of doing affect displays, but doing them from a distance. Through fake laughter, the speakers can display an orientation to the relevance of a certain kind of affect display but not commit themselves to the actual affect.

Keywords:   laughter, fake laughter, affect, humor

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