The Importance of Not Being Earnest: The Feeling Behind Laughter and Humor
The thesis of this book is that neither laughter nor humor can be understood apart from the feeling that underlies them. This feeling is a mental state in which people exclude some situation from their knowledge of how the world really is, thereby inhibiting seriousness where seriousness would be counterproductive. Laughter is viewed as an expression of this feeling, and humor as a set of devices designed to trigger it because it is so pleasant and distracting. Beginning with phonetic analyses of laughter, the book examines ways in which the feeling behind the laughter is elicited by both humorous and nonhumorous situations. It discusses properties of this feeling that justify its inclusion in the repertoire of human emotions. Against this background it illustrates the creation of humor in several folklore genres and across several cultures. Finally, it reconciles this understanding with various already familiar ways of explaining humor and laughter.
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part two Why we laugh
Laughing while speaking
The feeling of nonseriousness
Planned humor in oral traditions
a a a a abnormal absurd afterpulse asked associated ation Attardo behavior bilabial nasal brain buildup Chapter 9 creaky voice elicit laughter elicit the feeling emotion Example Exhalations Inhalation experience explosive expulsion of air F0 display fact falsetto feeling of nonseriousness followed formants frequency funny glottal stops Hertz human incongruity Inhalation Exhalation initiating pulse intensity interpretation joke kind language larynx laugh in Figure laughter and humor listener lungs milliseconds mitigating mouth nonhumorous normal pulses Norrick observable person phrase physical pitch pitch contour play produced prolonged voiceless pseudo-plausible punchline recovery inhalation relaxed pronunciation response scenario separate laugh pulses sequence seriously shows simultaneous single situations smiling sound Speaker spectrogram speech stop consonant suggested syllable talking things tickling tion tongue tremolo pulses triggered usually Victor Raskin vocal folds vocal tract voiced exhalation voiced inhalation voiced pulses voiceless inhalation voiceless laugh pulse voiceless pulse vowel word