Multiple practices for constructing laughables

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This study explores a range of interrelated semiotic resources for constructing a “laughable,” which we define as one or more utterances proffered by a speaker and inviting recipient laughter or other laugh related displays. These semiotic resources, in and around the talk, include a range of phonetic practices we initially characterize as smiley voice, breath particles, small modulations of pitch and loudness, high pitch, audible breathing, and laryngealization, as well as visible bodily practices such as leaning, smiling, shoulder shaking and gaze aversion. We also find that particular activities are constructed as part of the laughable, including exaggerations and contrasts. The current report is thus an initial foray into an extraordinarily complex realm of social interaction.


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