Holt, Elizabeth (2007) Laughter and laughables in conversation. In: 10th International Pragmatics Conference, 8 - 13 July 2007, Goteborg, Sweden. (Unpublished)

According to Jefferson (1979) laugh particles within or appended to a turn can act as an invitation to laugh which a recipient can accept by laughing, often in overlap with the laughter from the participant who made the invitation. The result is shared laughter and much subsequent Conversation Analytic work on laughter has tended to focus on instances where laughter is reciprocated (c.f. Glenn, 2003). It seems surprising, then, that initial analysis of three large corpora of mainly two party telephone calls reveals that instances of shared laughter are far less common than occurrences or one participant laughing alone. Furthermore, on many occasions solo laughter seems entirely appropriate, and in fact treating the initial laugh as an invitation and joining in, would seem a rather odd, potentially disaffliative,action by the recipient. Jefferson (1984) has investigated one such environment where laughter is routinely not shared, involving laughter in troubles-telling. The instances in my corpus, however, originate in a wide range of environments including, but certainly not restricted to, troubles-telling.
In the collection two sequential positions for the laughter are most common: first, at the end of turn; second, as a response, often along with other turn components. In this paper I will concentrate on instances where laughter following, or interspersed with a laughable is not shared by the recipient. I will identify some of the environments where, rather than laughing, recipients choose to address topical matters connected to the prior turn. By way of contrast, I shall also present some excerpts where an initial laugh is treated as an invitation and responded to with further laughter,
highlighting some of the environments and sequential positions where shared laughter routinely occurs.

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