Funktionen von Lachen in Gesprächen: eine konversationsanalytische Studie
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This thesis looks at laughter in conversations in order to find out what functions laughter can fulfil. The data that are used for the analysis are conversations involving four different families and one or two researchers. Laughter plays an important role in communication, as it depends on social factors. For example people laugh more when other people are present and how often we laugh also depends on who these other people are and in what situation we find ourselves. Because laughter is a social signal it is interesting to find out which role laughter can play in a conversation. Much has been written about the relationship between laughter and humour or jokes but there is not much research on laughter in everyday conversations, that doesn’t only look at laughter as a response to humour. As laughter cannot only be seen as an indicator of humour, this thesis looks at the different functions of laughter in conversations and tries to give answers to questions like: Which participant initiates the laughter and how do other participants react to the laughter? What different functions does laughter have in different situations? So for the analysis the context of the laughter is very important. The methodology used for the analysis is primarily conversation analysis but the analysis also contains elements of interactional sociolinguistics. The analysis looks at the functions of laughter in five different contexts: laughter and irony, laughter and trouble-telling, laughter and teasing, laughter and disagreement and finally laughter and narratives. The analyzed examples show that laughter can fulfil different functions for each context.