15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Segmenting Phonetic Units in Laughter

Jürgen Trouvain

Saarland University, Germany

Laughter as an every-day, human-specific, affective, non-verbal vocalisation has attracted researchers from many disciplines. One consequence of the multi-disciplinarity is that the way of segmenting the acoustic signal of laughter as well as the terminology are used in a heterogeneous and partially contradictory way. This study tries to analyse the terminological variety from a phonetic perspective. A short overview on various types of laughter indicates that further concepts for description are needed. In a pilot study with a small corpus of spontaneous laughter the usefulness of the concepts and terms in practice is examined. This analysis revealed that the laughter events are much more complex than implied by an idealised segmentation and most of the existing descriptions of laughter types. More data, clear concepts and more knowledge about the production and acoustics of laughter are necessary to provide phonetically adequate descriptions of the large repertoire of laughter variants.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Trouvain, Jürgen (2003): "Segmenting phonetic units in laughter", In ICPhS-15, 2793-2796.