SIGdial 2016

17th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue

When do we laugh?

Ye Tian, Chiara Mazzocconi and Jonathan Ginzburg
Studies on laughter in dialogue have proposed resolving what laughter is about by looking at what laughter follows. This paper investigates the sequential relation between the laughter and the laughable. We propose a semantic/pragmatic account treating laughter as a gestural event anaphor referring to a laughable. Data from a French and Chinese dialogue corpus suggest a rather free time alignment between laughter and laughable. Laughter can occur (long) before, during, or (long) after the laughable. Our results challenge the assumption that what laughter follows is what it is about, and thus question claims which rely on this assumption.