Does prosody play a specific role in conversational humor?

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In this paper we use Conversation Analysis (CA) to investigate conversational humor in talk-in-interaction. We attempt to better understand how the latter is produced and co-constructed by participants accounting for the devices used by participants in their sequential environment. The framework of CA enables us to take into account the various means available to speakers to communicate, orient to others, etc. From our data, reported speech, confirmation request/answer, and repetitions appear as the main discursive devices to create humor (presented as the result of the appearance of incongruity). We focused on prosodic cues that are strongly involved in these devices and then contribute to the humorous tonality of the talk. Finally, the co-construction of conversational humor is mainly described through the notion of orientation and prosodic orientation.


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