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Open Access The Prosodic Framing of Humour in Conversational Narratives: Evidence from Greek Data

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The Prosodic Framing of Humour in Conversational Narratives: Evidence from Greek Data

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In this paper we investigate the role of prosodic means in framing humour within conversational narratives. In particular, we focus on whether, how, and why jab lines as basic turn constructional units in a humorous narrative turn are marked off by prosodic features. Our aim is twofold: a) to investigate, by means of statistical tests, if jab lines are systematically segmented by pauses and by differentiation in speech rate and intensity; b) to analyse the conversational and pragmatic functions of the prosodic features under scrutiny within humorous conversational narratives. The data examined comes from 3 conversations between 2 adolescent girls (different ones in each conversation) and includes 22 humorous conversational narratives. The conversational narratives contain 170 jab lines, which are checked for the occurrence of pauses before and after them, and are measured for speech rate and intensity using the Praat software. Based on the results of our quantitative and qualitative analysis, we argue that pauses surrounding jab lines and prosodic differentiation in speech rate and intensity, either in isolation or in combination with one another, are systematically employed by the narrators in order to signal, delimit, and underline jab lines.

10.1163/156658410X531375
/content/journals/10.1163/156658410x531375
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/content/journals/10.1163/156658410x531375
2010-11-01
2016-12-11

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