Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

StudyTakes Serious Look At How Jokes Work

17.05.2002


An academic at the University of Edinburgh is attempting to solve the riddle of how jokes work — and to set up a way of analyzing the language used in jokes — as part of wider research into humour. Dr Graeme Ritchie is not investigating how funny particular jokes are, as opinions about that vary widely. Instead, he is looking at whether something is or is not a joke, about which there is more agreement. He plans to experiment, to see how much agreement there is amongst people as to what actually constitutes a joke. His work aims to improve general understanding of the way people communicate with each other.



Dr Ritchie’s work is focused upon jokes, as they are small enough to describe easily, and tend to be self-contained. His research involves studying classes of jokes, refining the abstract concepts used to describe the data and developing ways to analyse the data based on these ideas. Existing concepts from theoretical linguistics would be used as basic notions to construct an account of humorous effects, and develop guidelines.

Dr Ritchie of the University’s Institute for Communicating and Collaborative Systems, supported by a fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, will use methods previously employed in the study of linguistics, to look at the way jokes are constructed. He will draw upon material from joke books, the Internet and academic books and ‘dismantle’ jokes, rephrasing them to discover the linguistic features which make jokes work.


He added: “Humour is complex, but largely unexplained behaviour. It has great importance in culture and society, but we do not know why it should have developed. The explanation is not obvious, as it might be in the case of a key human ‘drive’, like the need to feed. Despite centuries of philosophical discussion, we are very far from having a full and complete theory of humour.”

“Modern linguistics builds upon centuries of detailed descriptive work, but humour research has very little analysed data on which to base theories. To make progress, research into humour has to take a similar step to linguistics, and we need to produce precise and detailed scientific accounts,” he said.

“The outcome of this research will be the creation of a theoretical framework, that is, a set of basic linguistic ideas and methods suitable for spelling out the mechanisms that underlie jokes. This will lay the foundations for further research, including psycholinguistic experiments,” said Dr Ritchie.

Linda Menzies | alphagalileo

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>