chapter  23
Corpus-Assisted Studies of Humor and Laughter-Talk
ByAlan Partington
Pages 18

Corpus linguistics seeks regularities across large bodies of text; humor often lies in the peculiarity of a single instance. However, recent years have seen the development of a certain type of corpus linguistics, known as corpus-assisted discourse studies. A corpus is a collection of texts that has been designed to be representative of a certain variety or set of varieties of language. They vary in size from a few thousand to billions of words; even the World Wide Web can be used as a corpus. This chapter examines humor in spoken corpora and looks at humor in written texts. Partington examines the laughter-talk in the interactive question-response discourse contained in press briefings held at the White House from the perspective of politeness facework. Less corpus-assisted work has been conducted on humor in writing than in speech, corpus techniques have proved of use in the investigation of authorial style, that is, stylistics.