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Laughter in professional meetings: The organization of an emergent ethnic joke

  • On the basis of a single case analysis of the emergence of an ethnic joke, this paper explores issues related to laughter in international business meetings. More particularly, it deals with ways in which a person's name is correctly pronounced. Speakers and co-participants seem to orient towards ‘proper’ ways of vocalizing names and to consequent ‘variations’ or ‘deviations’ from them, making different ways of pronunciation available as a laughable. In making such pronunciation variations available, accountable and recognizable, participants reflexively establish as relevant the multilingual character of the activity, of the participants’ competences and of the setting; conversely, they exploit these multilingual features within specific social practices, leading to laughter. Our analysis focuses on the contexts of action, the sequential environments and the interactional practices by which the uttering of a name becomes a ‘laughable’ and then a resource for an ethnic joke. Moreover, it explores the implications of transforming the pronunciation into a laughable in terms of the organization of the ongoing activity, changing participation frameworks and membership categorizations. In this sense, it highlights the flexible structure of groups and the way in which laughter reconfigures them through local affiliating and disaffiliating moves, and by making various national categories available and relevant.

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Author:Vassiliki MarkakiORCiD, Sara MerlinoORCiD, Lorenza MondadaORCiDGND, Florence OloffORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of Pragmatics
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2010
Date of Publication (online):2022/02/18
Publishing Institution:Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS)
Tag:conversation analysis; joke; laughter; meetings; membership categorization; sequential organization
GND Keyword:Aussprache; Interaktion; Konversationsanalyse; Lachen; Mehrsprachigkeit; Scherz; Witz
First Page:1526
Last Page:1542
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:nein
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt