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 Scientists develop machine-learning method to predict the behavior of molecules
11.10.2017 | New York University

nachricht A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues
16.08.2017 | University of Oxford

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>