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Emotion in Interaction$

Anssi Perakyla and Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730735

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.001.0001

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Laughter in Conversation

Laughter in Conversation

The Case of “Fake” Laughter

Chapter:
(p.174) Chapter 8 Laughter in Conversation
Source:
Emotion in Interaction
Author(s):

Markku Haakana

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.003.0008

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter analyzes the uses of “fake” laughter in conversation, that is, occasions of speakers not really laughing but producing the laugh tokens (e.g, heh and hah) as articulated lexical items. As previous studies suggest, fake laughter can be used as a response to a joke to mark the failure of the joke. The chapter shows that fake laughter is used in various ways in dealing with unsuccessful jokes, both by the teller and by the recipient. Furthermore, the study shows that not all fake laughter is connected with jokes and their success: lexicalized laugh tokens are also used to mark delicate interactional contexts. In all, fake laughter offers a means of doing affect displays, but doing them from a distance. Through fake laughter, the speakers can display an orientation to the relevance of a certain kind of affect display but not commit themselves to the actual affect.

Keywords:   laughter, fake laughter, affect, humor

Introduction

Conversation analysis is (in)famous for its insistence on a detailed transcription of talk-in-interaction, including features that are not verbal (e.g., breathing, laughing, pausing). The transcription system developed by Gail Jefferson (see e.g., Jefferson, 2004a) guides the transcribers, for example, to measure pauses by a tenth of a second and to write down audible inbreaths and outbreaths minutely. This focus on the fine interactional detail reflects the idea that interaction contains—at least potentially—“order at all points” (Sacks, 1984b, p. 22). Jefferson (1985; see also 2004b, 2010) made this point specifically about laughter; she showed how laughter should be transcribed in its specifics, rather than by merely marking its presence in the conversation. For instance, she started with a transcript which had laughter reported in parenthesis such as the following:

Extract 1 [Jefferson, 1985, p. 28, Extract 7]

Louise:

((through bubbling laughter)) Playing with

his organ yeah I thought the same thing!

And then she transcribed the same turn in the following way:

Extract 2 [Jefferson, 1985, p. 29, Extract 8]

Louise:

heh huh.hh PLAYN(h) W(h)IZ O(h)R’N

ya:h I thought the same

The detailed transcript reveals that Louise first laughs through some laugh particles (heh huh), and then, within her turn, she laughs only during some specific lexical (p.175) items (“playing with his organ”) which form a reference to sexual activities. Jefferson’s point was that if we do not transcribe laughter in detail, we may lose something in the analysis. In this specific case (and in others like it), she argued that the speaker specifically laughs through the obscene part of her talk, making it more difficult for her recipients to hear the obscenity. In other words, the speaker distorts the production and reception of this part of the utterance. This means that laughter does not just “flood out” uncontrollably, but rather is “put into the turn” in a methodical fashion. So laughter is seen as a device that the interactants use in systematic ways to perform different kinds of interactional actions.

Following the work of Jefferson, conversation analysts have learned to pay close attention to how laughter unfolds in interaction, and to transcribe it on a token-by-token basis1, as the following two extracts show. Both extracts present instances of two speakers laughing together: Extract 3 is from Jefferson (1979) and Extract 4 is a short example from Finnish data (not translated here; see Extract 11, lines 1–3 later).

Extract 3 [Jefferson, 1979, Extract 3]

Ellen:

He s’d well he said I am cheap he said,

.hh about the big things. he says but not

the liddle things, hhhHA

[HA HA HA

Bill:

[heh heh heh

Extract 4 [Fatty.telephone]

Vesa:

Nii:.

Kato

[nehän sanoo että〈]

(.) pysäkillä

Simo:

[°Ai jaa:.° ]

Vesa:

seisoessaan @No nysse tulee@.

Simo:

Aa hah

[hah

hah

haa

.ha

Vesa:

[eh

heh

heh

.hhh iih

Such transcription of laughter is not without its challenges, however. Even though we tend to write down the sounds of laughter as tokens such as heh or hah (as in the previous extracts), the interactants do not—for the most part—laugh through such clearly distinguishable tokens. Laughter is a multimodal phenomenon, combining vocal, visual (e.g., smiling), and bodily (e.g., shaking of the torso) elements; the vocal elements of laughter are often described as “inarticulate” (on the production features of laughter, see Glenn, 2003, pp. 8–13). This means that tokens such as heh and hah are partly symbolic, presenting the type of sounds of which laughter consists. And we have come to associate these tokens with laughter, perhaps partly through the conventionalized written versions of laughter (e.g., in fiction, in text messages, in emails, etc.).2

However, sometimes the interactants in spoken conversation do indeed produce these tokens as articulated lexical items; they utter the tokens heh and hah as “words.” This is the topic of the present chapter; I shall analyze the uses of these lexicalized laugh tokens as occasions of “fake” laughter in Finnish conversations. In the following, I shall first present some previous findings on fake laughter and then proceed to analyze the uses of it in my data.

(p.176) Fake Laughter: Preliminaries

“Fake laughter” can refer to two different phenomena. The first is when interactants produce laughter even though it is not spontaneous. Here, the speaker intends to do the expected response in a given interactional slot and consequently she “forces” herself to produce laughter that is meant to be understood as “real” and to sound spontaneous (cf. Mulkay, 1988, p. 118). The second phenomenon is when the interactants produce the sounds that are conventionally associated with laughter in a way that makes it clear that the laughter is not to be interpreted as being “real”; that is, the laughter is designed to be fake. This second type of “laughter” is the focus of this study. I shall refer to this phenomenon as “fake laughter,” and occasionally also as “lexicalized laughter,” since it involves using the laugh tokens (heh, hah, and others) as more or less articulated lexical elements. The distinction between fake and real laughter is by no means clearcut; rather, there is a continuum of different kinds of laughs. This study focuses on the clearest, most articulated cases of fake laughter in the data.3 Nonetheless, even these cases sometimes include features of “real” laughter, as the examples in this chapter show.

In conversation and discourse analytical work, laughter in general has received quite a lot of attention. Several studies have analyzed the sequential realization of laughter sequences, how laughter is invited and responded to, and the functions of laughter in interaction (see e.g., Jefferson, 1979, 1984, 1985, 2004b, 2010; Jefferson, Sacks, & Schegloff, 1987; Glenn, 1989, 1991, 2003, 2010; Haakana, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2010; Holt, 2010; Adelswärd, 1989; Norrick, 1993). Fake laughter, however, has received much less attention. To my knowledge, there are no previous studies concentrating on fake laughter in interaction, but this type of laughter has been discussed briefly in some studies.

Bell (2009) analyzes responses to failed humor, and says that fake laughter and groans have been seen as “prototypical responses to failed humor” (Bell, 2009, pp. 1825–6). In her data, however, the responses to failed humor vary considerably, and fake laughter is not a very frequent response type.4 Several studies analyzing humor and laughter mention fake laughter, albeit using different terminology: for instance, Chiaro (1992, p. 112) talks about “sarcastic laughter,” Sacks (1974, p. 351) and Norrick (1993, pp. 8, 36) about “mirthless laughter,” and Bell (2009) and Haakana (1999, pp. 9–10) use the term “fake laughter.” Nevertheless, the description of the phenomenon in these studies is the same. Fake laughter is seen as a device that is used as a response to a “failed” joke. By producing fake laughter, the recipient of a joke can simultaneously show that s/he has understood the joke (and understood it to be a joke) but does not find the joke amusing; that is, fake laughter reflects a negative evaluation of the joke and a lack of the expected affect, amusement, or mirth. Typically it is seen that a joke renders laughter as being relevant as a next action, and by not laughing as a response, the recipient could be interpreted as not having understood the joke. If s/he wants to make it known that the reason for not laughing is the quality of the joke, fake laughter offers one option for accomplishing this (on others, see Bell, 2009). In short, fake laughter fills the slot for real laughter but displays a new, unexpected stance to the previous talk: what is offered as amusing is manifestly treated as not amusing.

(p.177) To illustrate the phenomenon, I present an example from Jefferson (1979). She does not describe the quality of laughter in this extract, but it certainly appears to be fake laughter. Jefferson (1979, pp. 93–4) presents some cases in which not laughing as a response emerges as a conversational issue in its own right. The following is a case in point:

Extract 5 [Jefferson, 1979, Extract 26, p. 94]

Roger:

Well it struck me funny.

(1.0)

Al:

HA, HA-HA-HA

Ken:

hh

Roger:

Thank you

After a joke, Roger comments on the lack of laughter in his turn that evaluates the joke as funny. In response, after a long pause, Al produces laugh tokens which seem like fake laughter: the tokens are transcribed as being loud (in capital letters) and there is no breathiness marked in the turn. The laugh tokens produce the expected response type, but by producing them in this fashion, Al communicates that the joke does not deserve a genuine response; Roger’s “thank you” is then obviously ironic.

In the next sections, I analyze the uses of fake laughter in Finnish conversations. I shall show that the lexicalized laugh tokens have several types of usage in conversation. Some but not all occurrences of fake laughter deal with failed humor. Furthermore, even in the joking sequences, fake laughter is used in different ways. The analyses of the data show that fake laughter occurs in similar contexts to real laughter, and that it often co-occurs, in various ways, with real laughter. I start by considering cases in which fake laughter is utilized in joking sequences and then proceed to its uses in different kinds of interactionally delicate contexts.

The analysis is based on data from Finnish everyday conversations between friends. For this study, I listened to twenty hours of conversations: both telephone conversations (ten hours) and face-to-face interactions (ten hours). The data contained approximately thirty instances of fake laughter, most of them in the telephone conversations. This suggests that, according to the present data, fake laughter is not a very common phenomenon in interaction. Furthermore, the majority of the instances were produced by a couple of speakers and sets of speakers; interestingly, the use of lexicalized laughter in the data seems to be a device utilized by the younger speakers, especially by the young men. However, the present database is not large enough to make generalizations about the sociolinguistic distribution of the practice.

Fake Laughter and Evaluation of Humorous Talk

When an interactant produces a humorous turn-at-talk, the expected response is usually laughter. As the following examples from Jefferson (1979) illustrate, recipient laughter can be arrived at in different ways. One way is that the speaker can merely produce the laughable utterance and then the recipient(s) start(s) laughing:

(p.178) Extract 6 [Jefferson, 1979, Extract 4, p. 81]

Mike:

He says. I gotta git outta dih mood befo’ I can git

outta d

[i

[h ca:::h

Gary:

[A

[h ha ha

Curt:

[U-huh-huh

The producer of the laughable can also laugh at the end of the turn (or within the turn) and in doing so she invites the recipient to laugh. In Extract 7, Ellen laughs at the end her turn, and Bill subsequently joins in the laughter in overlap:

Extract 7 [Jefferson, 1979, Extract 3, p. 81]

Ellen:

He s’d well he said I am cheap he said,

.hh about the big things. he says but not

the liddle things, hhhHA

[HA HA HA

Bill:

[heh heh heh

Sometimes the producer of the laughable can first wait for the recipient to laugh, and if that does not happen, laugh herself after a pause and invite the recipient to laugh. This occurs in Extract 8:

Extract 8 [Jefferson, 1979, Extract 2, p. 80]

Joyce:

Cuz she wz off in the bushes with some buddy, tch!

(0.7)

Joyce:

ehh[hhhhhhh!

Sidney:

[Oh(hh)h hah huh!

The fake laughter in my data occurs in similar interactional slots as the laughter in Jefferson’s examples.5 Let us begin by analyzing a case in which the recipient of the joking turns-at-talk produces fake laughter. In Extract 9, three speakers are on the telephone: Tiina is on one end, and Sini and Arto on the other. Sini and Arto have recently moved away from Helsinki where Tiina lives, and they are now in the middle of a major renovation of their new house. Just before the extract, Tiina asks whether the renovation takes up all of Sini’s and Arto’s time. In response, Sini reports that they have done other things as well, for instance, visited Helsinki, which Tiina treats as news. In lines 1–3, Sini elaborates by giving the details of the visits, and in line 11, Arto announces a personal bit of news, adding his report to Sini’s list with the turn-initial particle ja (“and”). The sequence starting from Arto’s news is of interest here; the fake laughter in focus occurs on line 15 and it is indicated in bold face (and is similarly indicated in other examples). (For a key to the glossing symbols used, see Appendix, pp. XX.)

Extract 9 [SG S08 Trio.telephone]

01

Sini:

no

me

oltiin

lauantaina

häi:ssä

ja〈

(0.4)

PRT

we

be-PAS-PST-4

Saturday-ESS

wedding-INE

and

well we were on Saturday in a wedding and〈 (0.4)

02

perjantaina

olin

töi:ssä

ja

maanantainaki

Friday-ESS

I

be-PST-1

work-INE

and

Monday-ESS-CLI

I

on Friday I was at wo:rk and on Monday too I

03

ol(h)in

t(h)öissä.

be-PST-1

work-INE

w(h)as at w(h)ork

04

Tiina:

aha

[a.

↑I see.

05

Arto:

[ja

olin

maanantaina

rosiksessa.

and

I

be-PST-1

Monday-ESS

“court”(slang)-INE

[And I was on Monday in court.

06

Arto?:

.nf

07

Tiina:

rosiksessa.

court-INE

in court.

08

Arto:

mm:,=

09

Tiina:

=mitä

siel

[teit.]

what

you

there

do-PST-2

=what

did

you

do

[there.]

10

Arto:

[.hh ]

olin

todistamassa?

I

be-PST-1

witness-INF-INE

[.hh ]

I was a witness?

11

Tiina:

ai

olit

to:distamas.

=sä

et

ollu

PRT

you

be-PST-2

witness-INF-INE

you

NEG-2

be-PPC

oh you were a wi:tness.=you weren’t the

12

syytetty [.

accused-ESS

accus [ed.

13

Arto:

[e:n ollu.

NEG-1 be-PPC

[no: I wasn’t.

14

Tiina:

aha.

I see.

15

Arto:→

ah hah hah

[hah

16

Tiina:→

[hy-hmyh

17.

mhh

[hhhhhhh

]hh

°↑〈vai

[sellas]ta,〉

PRT

such-PAR

.mhh

[hhhhhhh

]hh

̊↑〈so

[that’s it,]〉

18

Arto:

[°yh hyhm°]

[↑joo:.]

[°yh hyhm°]

[↑yeah:.]

19

Tiina:

no

onks

teil

ollu

kivaa

siellä?,

PRT

be-Q

you.PL-ADE

be-PPC

nice-PAR

there

well have you had a good time there?,

(p.179) (p.180) Arto’s fake laughter (line 15) is produced in response to Tiina’s reactions to his news about having been in court. Tiina subsequently treats Arto’s announcement as newsworthy in several ways: she topicalizes the report by repeating the key element of the turn (rosiksessa, “in court,” line 7), minimally confirmed by Arto (line 8), and she then asks for the reason for Arto’s court visit (line 9). On line 10, Arto reports that he was there as a witness. Tiina first repeats Arto’s report and prefaces it with the particle ai, which indicates that she treats the issue as news (on ai, see Hakulinen et al., 2004, §1028). Subsequently, she presents another possible reason for being in court (being accused); this is constructed as a negatively framed declarative utterance that seeks Arto’s confirmation, which he then provides (line 13). On line 14, Tiina further treats Arto’s talk as new information, but this time, by using another milder response particle, aha (Hakulinen et al., §1049). Thus, in the evolving sequence, Tiina reacts to Arto’s role as a witness as being something that is unexpected, as if some other court-related identity (as the accused) would be more likely. This is obviously meant to be a joke, and the joke has a teasing quality, as teasing often involves attributing a problematic or “deviant” category to the person being teased (Drew, 1987, p. 244).

During the sequence, Tiina does not laugh herself, nor does Arto, but he does produce lexicalized laugh tokens. On line 15, his turn consists of hah tokens, which are produced in an articulated manner, without breathiness or the spasmodic character that is typical of real laughter. Through this fake laughter, Arto shows that he has recognized Tiina’s joking in the previous sequence but does not find the joke funny enough to actually laugh.6 Tiina’s response (line 16) also has a laughter-like quality: it resembles a short laugh but has an artificial character, and the same holds for Arto’s yh-hyhm on line 18. Tiina briefly acknowledges Arto’s fake laughter and also the “failure” of her attempted joke: for a brief moment, the participants are involved in shared fake laughter. What follows is a change of topic (cf. Holt, 2010, on shared laughter in topic termination). Through a clearly audible long inbreath and the utterance vai sellasta (“so that’s it”), Tiina strongly signals the end of the present topic and subsequently initiates a new one by asking a question on another matter (line 19). It seems that Arto’s fake laughter is not only heard as a sign of his nonappreciation of the joke, but also as a sign of his willingness to close the topic.

A joke also fails in the following extract. This time, however, it is the producer of the laughable who utilizes fake laughter. This extract comes from a telephone conversation between two male friends who (with another friend, Jukka) are leaving for a trip on the following day. During their call, they discuss packing and the schedule for their (p.181) departure. Before the extract, it has become clear that Reijo and Jukka should be at Pekka’s house around two o’clock in the afternoon. Pekka, however, cannot get out of work before 3:30 P.M. Reijo considers the time issue to be a problem in several ways (before the extract and during the whole phone call). On lines 3–5, Pekka suggests how Reijo and Jukka can spend their time waiting.

Extract 10 [Sg94 1A1 Yawning.telephone]

01

Pekka:

((yawning:

))

hhöh

[hmm]

02

Reijo:

[tota,]

[uhm,]

03

Pekka:

sain: #yy#

ison

kasan

lavoja

duunis(t)

tota

I

get-PST-1

big-GEN

pile-GEN

platform-PL-PAR

work ELA

PRT

I got: #uhm# a big pile of wood from the work uhm

04

noin

ni

eilen

et,h

jos

teill

jää

vapaata

aikaa

ni

PRT

PRT

yesterday

PRT

if

you.PL-ADE

remain

free-PAR

time-PAR

PRT

yesterday so that,h if you have some free time

05

tehän

voitte

tossa

alkaa

pilkkomaan

niitä.

you.PL-CLI

can-PL2

PRT

start

chop-INF-ILL

DEM.PL-PAR

you can y’know start chopping the wood.

06

(0.6)

07

Pekka:

#hO:H HAH HAH# eh hmh hmh heh heh.hhh

08

(.)

09

Reijo:

°joo.°

°yeah.°

10

(1.0)

11

Reijo:

olik

sul

muuta.

be-PAST-Q

you-ADE

else-PAR

did you have anything else.

12

(0.9)

Pekka starts (line 3) by reporting that he has received a big pile of wood and then makes a suggestion for the men: if they have to wait for him, they can spend the time chopping the wood. Reijo does not respond to this suggestion in any way, and after a substantial silence (line 6), Pekka takes the turn again. His turn consists of two kinds of laughter: first, he produces fake laughter which is very loud (hOH HAH HAH), followed by laughter that sounds more “real.” By using fake laughter, he indicates that the previous turn was meant as a joke (cf. Jefferson’s case in Extract 8) and deals with the lack of response by Reijo, treating his turn as failed attempt at humor. The subsequent laughter, however, can be heard as still making laughter relevant as a response at this point.

(p.182) Reijo does not join in the laughter at this point, either. He acknowledges Pekka’s previous actions with the response token joo (line 9), which can be heard as closing-implicative (cf. Sorjonen, 2001, p. 282) and then provides the question oliks sulla muuta (“did you have anything else”). On the surface, the question is asking whether Reijo has anything more to say on the issue, but nevertheless, it implies that no further talk on the topic is needed. According to my observations, this type of question seems to be conventionalized as an ironic marker of nonappreciation of the coparticipants line of talk (e.g., joking). Pekka, however, chooses to continue by the joking and laughingly suggests the possibility of renovation work (not shown here); Reijo does not join the laughter, the topic dies and Reijo moves on to talk about packing-related issues. In Extract 10, the speakers display different stances to the talk by Pekka: Pekka himself treats his talk as laughable but Reijo does not. This difference perhaps reflects the disagreement concerning the departure time for the trip. As I mentioned, Reijo treats the fact that he has to wait for Reijo as being problematic, but Pekka does not: he can joke about it, and his “joke” has a somewhat teasing quality (cf. Extract 9).

In Extracts 9 and 10, fake laughter was utilized to show that a joke failed. In Extract 9, the recipient displayed a nonamused stance by using fake laughter, and in Extract 10, the producer of the laughable utilized it to deal with the lack of appropriate response. In the following extract, fake laughter also works to evaluate a joke, but the reason for its use is not the recipient’s actions. Extract 11 differs from the previous ones in several aspects. As in Extract 10, it is the producer of the laughable who resorts to fake laughter, but here, it is produced immediately after the laughable, and so it does not seem to deal with the lack of response. Moreover, while the jokes in Extracts 9 and 10 were spontaneous and made up on the spot, the joke in Extract 11 is a standardized package that the speaker has not created: thus, in 11, the teller of the joke is just an animator of the joke, not the author of it (see Goffman, 1981; on standardized and situational humor, see e.g., Mulkay 1988, p. 56).

Extract 11 is from a call between two male friends living in Helsinki. Before this extract, Simo has told that he is soon going to visit the city of Tampere. The mention of that city activates a joking mode: Vesa starts producing humorous material that plays on the stereotypes associated with Tampere (such as how people speak and what they eat). He ends up telling two “packaged” jokes. Both jokes have the same format (“do you know what X is in Tampere dialect”) and play with the dialectal forms of some Finnish words (the jokes are impossible to translate7). On lines 1 and 3, Vesa produces the punchline of the first joke. In response, Simo laughs on line 4 and Vesa joins in the laughter (line 5) and then proceeds to another joke during the same turn:

Extract 11 [Sg S08 Fatty.telephone]

01

Vesa:

nii:.

kato

[nehän

sanoo

että〈]

(.)

pysäkillä

PRT

PRT

DEM.PL-CLI

say

that

bus.stop-ADE

yes:. see

[they say y’know〈] (.) when standing

02

Simo:

[°ai jaa:.°

]

[°oh I see.°

]

03

Vesa:

seisoessaan

@no

nysse

tulee@.

stand-INF-INE

PRT

now + it

come-SG3

at a bus stop @no nysse tulee@.

((not translated))

04

Simo:

aa

hah

[hah

hah

haa

.ha

[.ih

.ih

.ih

05

Vesa:

[eh

heh

heh

.hhh

iih

£ja

[tiet

mikä

on

and

know-2

you

what

is

[eh

heh

heh

.hhh

iih

£and

do you know what a

06

[kuljettaja£

tampereeksi,

driver

tampere dialect-TRA

[driver is £in Tampere dialect,

07

Simo:

[.ih hhhh

08

(0.2)

09

Simo:

#n:::noh#?

10

Vesa:

myy:rä.=.hh

@onks

sulla

myyrä

lippuja@

((not translated))

sell/mole

be-Q

you-ADE

sell/mole

ticket-PL-PAR

11

Ah[h AH (.) HAHh

12

Simo:

[.hh hh

13

Simo:

°ih hih hih

[.hhh #eee.#.

]

14

Vesa:

[hauskoja

vits(h)ej(h)ä

]

£vai£,=

funny-PL-PAR

joke-PL-PAR

or

[funny jok(h)e(h)s

]

£or what£,=

15

Simo:

=#£sä

oot

ol[lu

Tamperee[lla.£#

you

be-2

be-PC

cityNAME-ADE

=#£you

have

b[een

in

Tampere.£#

16

Vesa:

[hi

[£niin

o(h)onk(h)i

PRT

be-1-CLI

[hi

[£yes I h(h)av(h)e

(p.183) The joke in lines 5–6 takes the structure of a question (“what is …”), which is framed with another question (“do you know”). In response, Simo produces the response token no (line 9), which functions as a go-ahead response (Sorjonen, 2001, pp. 211–16). The pause (line 8) and the response token indicate that Simo does not know the answer and this makes it relevant for Vesa to continue with the joke. Vesa then (line 10) produces the punchline of the joke by first providing the answer (myyrä) and then an utterance that puts the word in context. As soon as he finishes this utterance, Vesa produces strong fake laughter (line 11) which is delivered through ah hah tokens. This fake laughter is produced at a point when the recipient has not had a chance to respond to the joke. Consequently, the fake laughter does not deal with the lack of response. Indeed, Simo’s response is laughter (line 13) through which he displays his (p.184) understanding and appreciation of the joke. Vesa’s fake laughter is therefore voluntarily offered as an evaluation of the joke. He shows that even though he is delivering the joke (and a similar one before), he does not necessarily find it (or them) especially funny. Through the fake laughter he communicates that he does not take full responsibility for the quality of the joke. His subsequent turn, hauskoja vitsejä vai (“funny jokes or what”), is ironic, assessing the quality of the whole joking sequence that has just taken place.

The examples in this section have shown that fake laughter can be used in joking sequences in several ways: it can be used by the recipient of a candidate laughable (Extract 9) or by the producer of the laughable (Extracts 10 and 11). Fake laughter can be used as a device to deal with the failure of a joke, both by recipient and teller, but it can also be used as an evaluation of the joking materials by the teller when nothing seems to be wrong with the flow of the joking sequence. The fake laughter in these extracts took various forms but what they have in common is that they all include tokens that feature ha(h)-type sounds. In the following section, we shall turn to other uses of lexicalized laughter, as well as to other laugh tokens.

Fake Laughter and Delicate Talk

Not all laughter in interaction is connected to humor, jokes, and amusement. Laughter is used to display various kinds of affective stances, and consequently, not all laughter by a speaker is designed as an invitation to the recipient(s) to join in. For example, Jefferson (1984) demonstrates that troubles tellers recurrently use laughter when announcing a trouble but the recipients are not invited to share the laughter; rather, the troubles teller displays “troubles resistance” with the laughter and the recipient needs to take the trouble seriously and display “troubles receptiveness.” Haakana (1999, 2001) shows that patients use laughter during medical interaction to deal with the various kinds of interactional problems: they recurrently laugh, for instance, in the turns that portray their lifestyle choices in a bad light or problematize the advice and instructions given by the doctor. This kind of laughter does not get reciprocated by the doctors. Kurhila (2008) and Laakso (1997, pp. 92–4) report that non-native speakers and speakers with aphasia use laughter in signaling troubles in speech production. Furthermore, Adelswärd (1989) argues that unilateral (nonreciprocated) laughter is used to frame the talk in different kinds of problematic interactional contexts (e.g., in self-praise, stating ignorance, misunderstanding, and embarrassment), and Norrick (1993, pp. 39–40) observes that laughter can used to signal embarrassment and nervousness.8

Fake laughter can also be used to signal various affective stances. In the data, the fake laughter often occurs in different kinds of problematic and delicate interactional slots, which are again contexts in which real laughter could and does occur. In these contexts, the lexicalized laughter does not orient to amusement or lack of it. However, I do not intend to suggest that there is a clearcut division between (fake) laughter that is oriented to “amusement” (or lack of it) and to “delicate talk.” For instance, delicate (p.185) actions and topics are certainly often produced in a humorous tone. Nevertheless, in the cases of this section, something other than joking occurs, even though the cases sometimes have jocular aspects as well. The following extract provides an example. In Extract 12, two young men are on the phone. Timo is about to go to Niko’s place to pick up Niko and his girlfriend. In line 1, Niko reports that they are ready to leave “whenever,” which is contested a short time later by his girlfriend, whose voice can be heard in the background (line 5). She corrects Niko’s statement by modifying “whenever” to “not right away.” In lines 6–7, Niko produces a turn that ends in fake laughter:

Extract 12 [Sg122 A6 Woman.telephone]

01

Niko:

okei,

me

ollaan

valmiina

lähtöön

millon

vaan,

PRT

we

be-PAS

ready-ESS

departure-ILL

when

just

okay, we are ready to go whenever,

02

Timo:

((in English)) all right,

03

Niko:

〉ni tota〈

〉so uhm〈

04

(.)

05

X:

((from the background))

°tai

no

ei

nyt

ihan

heti°°

or

PRT

NEG

now

quite

immediately

°well not quite right away°

06

Niko:

〉nii

no

joo〈

nyt

ei

oo〈

kauheesti

#vaatteita

PRT

PRT

PRT

now

NEG

be

terribly

cloth-PL-PAR

〉yes well yeah〈 now there isn’t〈 #much clothes

07

päällä

ja

noin

mut#

heh

[heh

he

]

on

and

so

but

on

and

so

but#

heh

[heh

he

]

08

Timo:

[↑ai

jaa

]

sitä

vaan

paneksitaa

PRT

PRT

PRT

just

fuck-PAS

[↑oh I see you’re just fucking

09

siellä,

there,

10

Niko:

e:i

me

m:itään

n:aksita

e vaan

katotaan

Herkulestah

NEG

we

anything

fuck(slang)

just

watch-PAS

Hercules-PAR

n:o we’re no:t fucking at all we’re just watching Hercules

The laugh tokens in Niko’s turn (line 7) do not seem to be evaluating (failed) humor. Rather, the turn can be understood as including several delicate aspects: in his turn, Niko has to modify his previous estimate about “being ready” and he does this because of his girlfriend. Furthermore, he reports not having too much on (as a reason for not being ready immediately), which could be heard as a reference to his (p.186) (or their) “being nude” and therefore is also open to sexual implications.9 And indeed, Timo immediately produces a sexual interpretation of Niko’s turn (Timo’s turn in 8–9). In other words, the use of the laugh tokens seems to mark the turn as being rather delicate (on laughter in talk about sex and other “taboo” topics, see Jefferson, 1985; Jefferson, Sacks, & Schegloff, 1987). However, by producing laughter not as real laugh tokens, but rather as lexicalized fake laughter, Niko does not really display his being “embarrassed,” or some other such affect, but makes the affect display from a distance, showing what kind of display could be relevant in that kind of context. Furthermore, despite the potentially delicate nature of the talk, the speaker is perhaps designing it to be taken up as a potential source for a sexually oriented interpretation and even joking—as the recipient then interprets it (lines 8–9). Even though Niko at first denies the sexual implications (line 10), the talk continues with sexually loaded innuendos (not shown here).

Let us now turn to a more detailed analysis of two examples of fake laughter in delicate contexts: Extract 13 is a request sequence, and Extracts 14 and 15 are part of a complex invitation sequence. In both cases, the speakers use the heh tokens as part of the delivery of their actions. What is interesting here is that there seems to be a division of labor between the different tokens: as we saw earlier, hah (and hoh) tokens were used in joking contexts, whereas the heh tokens seem to be more specialized for dealing with delicate talk.

Extract 13 is from a telephone call between Sini and Pekka, and before this extract, Pekka starts a sequence by asking whether Sini knows a certain person (a musician) who is connected to the school where Sini studies. This question turns out to be part of a request sequence, and it aims to determine whether Sini knows the musician well enough to introduce him to Pekka. The presequence continues at length, as Pekka asks three times in various ways how well Sini knows the person. Before this extract, Sini has already asked why Pekka is asking these questions, but he has not yet answered. Sini produces a turn which further seeks the rationale of the previous inquiries: her mitä (“what”) (line 1) produced with laughter shows that she finds Pekka’s inquiries both puzzling and amusing.

Extract 13 [Sg124 A1 Donhuono.telephone]

01

Sini:

m(h)i(h)t(h)ä. h

wh(h)at(h). h

02

Pekka:

eiku

se

on

se,

(.)

Don

Huo:nojen

kitaris[ti.]

PRT

DEM.SG

be

DEM.SG

bandNAME-GEN

guitarist

no, ’cause he’s the (.) Don Huonot guitarist.

03

Sini:

[ni]in on.

[yes he is.

04

(0.3)

05

Pekka:

〈vau:h〉

(.)

aattelin

vaa

ku

tää,〈

luin〈.h

wow

I

think-PST-1

just

PRT

this

PRT

I

read-PST-1

〈wo:wh〉 (.) I 〈just thought that since this〈 I was reading〈

06

Hesaria

ja

[.h tääl] oli

newspaperNAME-PAR

and

here be-PST

.h Hesari and

[.h here] was

07

Sini:

[.nss ]

08

Pekka:

just

tää

〈että〉

opiskellu

taide

ja

exactly

this

that

study-PPC

art

and

just like 〈that〉 has studied in a school of arts and

09

〉viestintäoppilaitoksessa〈

.hhmth

taivutettu

bändin

communication-school-INE

bend-PPC

band-GEN

〉communication〈.hhmth has been utilized for the

10

hyötykäyttöön

〉ku

se

on

ohjannu〈

sen

niitten

(0.2)

utility-use-ILL

PRT

DEM.SG

be

direct-PPC

DEM.SG-GEN

DEM.PL-GEN

band’s use 〉since he’s directed〈 that n(h)ew (0.2)

11

u(h)uen

videon.

new-GEN

video-GEN

video of theirs.

12

Sini:

joo.

yes.

13

Pekka:

.hhh

ja

〉tota〈

aattelin

heti

soittaa

sulle

ja

kysyy

and

PRT

I

think-PST-1

immediately

call-INF

you-ALL

and

ask

.hhh

and

〉uhm〈

I

thought

immediately

to call

you and

ask

14

että,

#n#

että,

(.)

〉että

vois[it ]

varmaa

e:sitellä

that

that

that

you

could-2

surely

introduce

that #n# that, (.) 〉that you could maybe introduce

15

Sini:

[joo,]

16

Pekka:

mut

sille

mut

[(sit)

]

I-ACC

DEM.SG-ALL

but

then

me to

him but

[

(then)

]

17

Sini:

[heh eh heh

.nss]

18

Pekka:

[heh heh

]

19

Sini:

[a(h)i j(h)a(h)a,]

he

he

[o(h) I(s)he(h),]

he

he

20

Pekka:

heh

heh

21

Sini:

.nsss

eikä

ku (.)

siis

se

oli

(- - -)

NEG-CLI

PRT

PRT

DEM.SG

be-PST

.nsss

no because (.) I mean it was (- - -)

(p.187) (p.188) In response to Sini’s question Pekka starts his explanation by reporting that the person he has asked about is a guitarist in a band (line 2) and the subsequent interjection vau:h (“wow”) indexes his great appreciation of that person. He then reports that while reading a newspaper, he discovered that the guitarist had studied in the same school as Sini and had been producing a video for a band there (lines 5–11). Finally, on line 13 he comes to the actual reason for his call: he was planning to ask Sini to introduce him to the musician (presumably to have him help with his own music-related plans). On line 16, the particle mut (“but”) can be heard as projecting a continuation that is in contrast with Pekka’s intended request: judging from the presequence (not shown), it seems that Sini does not know the musician well enough to arrange the introduction. Sini responds to Pekka’s plan by laughing (line 17) and with the response token ai jaa (still with laughter) which indicates a change of state; she realizes at this point what Pekka was after.

Pekka does not join Sini’s laughter, but instead, he produces fake laughter on two occasions: he uses two heh tokens on lines 18 and 20. These tokens do not sound responsive to Sini’s laughter, but rather, they seem to be postcompletion stance markers (cf. Schegloff, 1996b, p. 92) on Pekka’s own turn. The reason for Pekka’s phone call is potentially delicate: requests in general are seen as being interactionally tricky (or even dispreferred) actions (see e.g., Schegloff, 2007, pp. 82–6), and here the request can be interpreted as being opportunistic, as Pekka would like to take advantage of both his friend (in making the introduction) and probably also of the musician. Furthermore, Sini has already indicated (before the extract) that she does not really know the musician. Using fake laughter, Pekka displays that he is aware that his actions could be understood as problematic. However, again, as the laughter is fake, the affect display is made from a distance, he is indicating the kind of affect display that would be typical of and expected in this kind of situation rather than actually indexing the affect in question.10 Here the fake laughter is a device that makes the delivery of the action easier and at the same time keeps the request potentially actual. Starting at line 21, Sini goes on to again state that she does not know the musician very well, but the issue of that introduction is not treated in explicit terms.

In the following extract, fake laughter is used in another delicate activity context, in responding to an invitation. Simo has called Vesa to invite him to a housewarming party. The invitation sequence is complex and occurs in sequences throughout the phone call. When Simo first offers the invitation, Vesa merely acknowledges it minimally and changes the topic. This is already a sign of a dispreferred response type (see e.g., Schegloff, 2007, pp. 58–81). Vesa then returns to the invitation and reports some problems in accepting it and even in responding to the invitation. In Extract 14, Vesa promises to let Simo know if he can attend the party. However, Vesa reports that he has things to do that make it difficult for him to even say when he can tell Simo whether he can come to the party. In the middle of his report, Vesa produces very clearly articulated laugh tokens, heh heh (line 5).

Extract 14 [Sg S08 Fatty.telephone]

01

Vesa:

nii

nii:.

.mt

[niin

lähen

joo:

kyl

me

]

PRT

PRT

PRT

I

go-1

PRT

PRT

we

so so:. .mt

[so I’m going

yes:

we

will

]

02

Simo:

[ILMOTtele

siitä.

]

let know-IMP2

SG3-ELA

[LET me know

about it.

]

03

Vesa:

soitellaan

siit

hyvissä

ajoin

o-

mun

pitää

call-PAS

DEM.SG-ELA

good-PL-INE

time-INS

I

be?

I-GEN

must

call about it in good time I a- I have to now

04

nyt

mu- mul

menee

kato

me-

meen

ens

viikon=

now

I-ADE

go

PRT

we?

I

go-1

next

week-GEN

I- I’ll be you see we- I’ll go next week

05

=l(h)oppuna

taas

heh

heh

tonne.hh

faijan

joku

end-ESS

again

there

father-GEN

some

e(h)nd again heh heh there.hh my father’s some

06

tä:ti

vai

mikä

se

nyt

olikaa

jota

faija

on

nähny

aunt

or

what

DEM.SG

now

be-PST-CLI

that-PAR

father

be

see-PPC

au:nt or what was it now that father has seen

07

joskus

pienenä

ni.hhh

se

otti

vitoset

eli

sometime

small-ESS

PRT

DEM.SG

take-PST

five-PL

in.other.words

some time when he was young so.hhh she “took the fives”

08

kuoli

ni

(.)

(.)

perjantaist

sunnuntaihin

die-PST

PRT

I

Friday-ELA

Sunday-ILL

died in other words so (.) I (.) from Friday to Sunday

09

meen

Lieksaan?,

(—)

go-1

placeNAME-ILL

I’ll be in Lieksa?,

(p.189) In lines 1 and 3, Vesa promises to let Simo know in good time if they can come to the party and moves immediately to report something that he has to do; by reporting the issue here, he implies that it is an obstacle in replying to the invitation. In his turn, Vesa states that he is attending the funeral of his father’s aunt, and Vesa’s fake laughter occurs in the middle of this report (line 5). His fake laughter is produced as a parenthetical element in the turn, occurring at a point when Vesa has reported the time (next weekend) of the future trip. He laughs within the word viikonloppuna (“weekend”), and the lexicalized laugh tokens are positioned after the adverb taas (“again”). Here, the adverb marks this funeral trip as one in a series of activities that he plans to do in the near future. Simultaneously, that trip is one more matter that stands in the way of Vesa accepting the invitation or even responding to it. To understand this one-in-a-series character, we need to examine a previous stage of the same conversation. Earlier, when Vesa first starts responding to the invitation, he lists several commitments that he might have to honor on the day of Simo’s party. Vesa (p.190) also utilizes laughter at this point. Before Extract 15, Vesa has already mentioned something that he might be doing on the day of that party (going to another city, Jyväskylä), and in line 1, Simo continues responding to that report. In line 6, Vesa moves on to the following possible obligation:

Extract 15 [Sg S08 Fatty.telephone]

01

Simo:

[ai:

siel

tapahtuu

sel lasta,[h

PRT

there

happen

such-PAR

[oh: there are things like that happening there,

02

Vesa:

[joo:

.hh

[yeah

.hh

03

〉tota〈

(.)

tai

si-e:

ei::#v#

se〈

se

PRT

or

NEG

DEM.SG

DEM.SG

〉uhm〈 (.) or th-n: no::#v# it〈 it

04

luultavasti

ei:

tota,mh[h

#ei:# ]

toteudu

#y#

ä

probably

NEG

PRT

NEG

realise

this

probably won’t uhm, mh[h #won’t#]

happen #y# this

05

Simo:

[hhh

]

06

Vesa:

keikka

mut

s(h)itt(h)e

on

t(h)oi:nen

mahol’suus

gig

but

then

be

another

possibility

thing but th(h)e(h)n there’s a(h)nother possibility

07

et

meen

Vaasaan.

that

I

go-1

cityNAME-ILL

that I’ll go to Vaasa.

08

[heh

heh. hh]h[h

£et

se

on

sa]ma

mei:ninki

that

DEM.SG

be

same

“idea”

[heh

heh.hh]h[h

£so it’s the same idea.

09

Simo:

[aha

]

[oho

]

[I see

]

[Oh

]

10

Vesa:

[mut

]

[but

]

11

Simo:

[mieshän]

on

ruvennu

matkai[lee. ]

man-CLI

be

start-PPC

travel-INF-ILL

[the man has started travelling. ]

12

Vesa:

[joo::]

[mut tot-

]

[yeah:]

[but uhm

]

13

Simo:

[£mi-

mites]

how

[£ho-

what]

14

tää

#tällane

o.#

this

this.kind

be

is this about.

(p.191) When Vesa proceeds to tell of something else he might be doing, he uses laughter that occurs within the talk on those items indicating the transition to another issue (sitte, “then,” toinen, “another,” line 6). After naming the city, Vaasa, he produces two laugh tokens which are intriguingly between real and fake laughter; the tokens themselves sound quite articulated but at the end of them, a breathy sound occurs that is on the verge of real laughter.

In both Extracts 14 and 15, Vesa uses laughter, real and fake, in listing the things that stand (potentially) in the way of accepting the invitation or of responding to it. His use of laughter treats these reports (and the number of them) as potentially delicate: he is engaged in a dispreferred activity (not accepting an invitation by giving numerous accounts), and the list of his other commitments could be heard as problematic in the sense that they could also be understood as excuses. I do not mean to suggest that Vesa is making up the trips up in order to avoid going to Simo’s party, but by using laughter he indicates his recognition of how his talk might be heard. In Extract 15, we can see that Simo treats Vesa’s trips as being something quite unexpected, since he topicalizes Vesa’s travel plans as news (lines 11 and 13–14), and his turn can be heard having an ironic keying (e.g., in his choice of the reference term mies, “man”). The difference between the extracts is that in 15, which occurs first in the conversation, Vesa’s laughter is (partly) “real” laughter, whereas in 14, the laughter is clearly articulated. This perhaps reflects the speaker’s growing awareness of the potentially problematic nature of his actions: in Extract 14, he more clearly indicates his understanding of how his accounts might sound excessive to the recipient.

The extracts in this section have shown that not all occurrences of fake laughter deal with jokes and failed humor. On the contrary, fake laughter is used in different kinds of contexts, to display different kinds of affective stances. The present data show that fake laughter is often used in slots where something interactionally tricky or delicate is taking place. Through the laugh tokens, the interactants can indicate that they recognize the delicate nature of the action at hand. By not laughing, but rather by producing laugh tokens in a lexicalized manner, they both display what kind of affect could be relevant at that point and also distance themselves somewhat from that affect. Contextually, this distancing can have various kinds of interpretation; like real laughter, fake laughter is a highly contextual and complex phenomenon, performing different functions in different contexts as well as simultaneously in each specific context.

Concluding Discussion

In this chapter I have analyzed the occasions of fake laughter that are realized through articulating such laugh-related sounds as hah and heh. Even though this kind of fake laughter does not seem to be very frequent in conversation (at least according to the present database), it does seem to be an orderly, recognizable phenomenon. As conversation analytical studies on laughter have shown, laughter is a (p.192) highly conventional interactional device. The interactants use laughter in systematic ways in interaction, thus displaying their cultural knowledge of where laughter “belongs” in conversation. Interactants seem to know that certain types of actions invite laughter as a response and know that speakers have different ways of inviting them to laugh; on the other hand, speakers also know that not all types of laughter serve as signs of jokes and amusement, but that laughter is used for other purposes as well, such as to signal and to relieve interactional unease in different kinds of contexts. As I have shown, fake laughter occurs in those interactional contexts in which real laughter is utilized and expected; thus, the speakers display their knowledge of the contexts of laughter. Furthermore, the interactants use fake laughter in several kinds of contexts in which different functions of laughter are salient (such as responding to a joke versus delicate talk). In this way, they display their recognition of the various functions of laughter, and the kinds of affect indexed with it. And they even seem to make this difference relevant by choosing different laugh tokens for different contexts: my data suggest that ha (and hoh) tokens are used in joking contexts and heh tokens are more typical of delicate interactional environments.11

In using laugh tokens in an articulated way, the speakers display their knowledge of typical interactional practices. However, by producing the laughter as fake, they distance themselves from conventional practices, and this is used to accomplish several kinds of function. In the joking contexts, fake laughter is used to evaluate the humor and its success in the sequences. As I have shown, fake laughter can be used in responding to a joke, marking it as a failure, but the producer of the joke can also utilize fake laughter to evaluate her or his own joking materials; this is sometimes responsive to a lack of uptake of the joke, but not always. In the joking contexts, the fake laughter is used in various ways to deal with a (possible) lack of amusement, which is the affect display that is typical of these sequences. In the cases of delicate talk, fake laughter also builds a distanced relationship to the affective stance indexed with (real) laughter: the interactants indicate their awareness of the relevance for an affect display in the context, but do not display that affect, at least not fully. Rather, they show the possibility and conventionality of such an affect display in the context. This distancing can be used to accomplish different kinds of tasks in different contexts; as real laughter, the fake versions of it are employed for a vast variety of functions.

The practice of doing the affect display from a distance, as fake, seems to be typical of conversations between speakers who know each other very well; all the speakers in the conversations using fake laughter seem to be very good friends. In this kind of intimate conversation, some of the “norms” of conversation can be relaxed and the interactants can act in ways that they (probably) would not choose to do when interacting with people they do not know so well.12 On the occasions studied in this chapter, it does not seem to be important to commit to the affect displayed by laughter, but it does seem to be important to show that the speakers recognize the relevance of affect display in the specific contexts.

The study of fake laughter opens interesting paths for further research. For instance, the lexicalization of laughter illustrates one way that a language may develop new lexical items, interjections: affective vocalizations can develop into interjection-like items. The line between nonlexical vocalizations and interjections is fuzzy; for instance, the (p.193) Iso suomen kielioppi (Comprehensive grammar of Finnish; Hakulinen, Vilkuna, Korhonen, Koivisto, Heinonen, & Alho, 2004) states that “interjections are in between verbal and nonverbal vocalizations” and “if the vocalization has a conventionalized phonological form, it can be seen as an interjection” (§1709). From the point of view of Finnish, tokens such as heh (heh) nicely fit the set of interjections which already includes items such as huh, höh, and hyh. In the present data, it seems that the combination heh heh is the most conventionalized one: it often occurs as a clearly articulated item, can be placed in the midst of the syntactic structure of the turn (see Extract 14), and can even be used as a part of a verbal construction, filling a slot typically occupied by a noun phrase (data not shown). Furthermore, it seems that the written forms of laughter, and other vocalizations (e.g., found on the internet), could support the lexicalization of these items in spoken interaction as well. In short, these lexicalization processes and paths deserve further study.

Furthermore, there surely are other “fake” affect displays, such as fake smiling and other facial expressions, and fake versions of other affective vocalizations (e.g., crying). However these kinds of affect displays are to my knowledge largely unresearched (see however Sandlund, 2004, pp. 260–67 on some such displays in academic seminars). I hope to have shown in this chapter that the analysis of the “fake” versions of affect displays can help our understanding of affect displays in general, their conventionality in interaction, and the interacts’ own knowledge concerning when affect is relevant in interaction and how it is conventionally displayed.

Notes:

(1) The same approach has been applied to some other affective vocal phenomena, namely crying (Hepburn, 2004; Hepburn & Potter, 2007, this volume, chapter 9) and cries of pain (Heath, 1989).

(2) The tokens heh and hah (and others such as hih and häh) are even present in dictionaries. For instance, the Kielitoimiston sanakirja (New dictionary of modern Finnish, 2006) includes entries for hah and heh. They are described as interjections used in “describing laughter,” for instance: heh heh heh, olipas se hassua!, (“heh heh heh, that was funny!”).

(3) These are instances that the original transcribers of the materials have usually described as being “fake” laughter in the transcripts.

(4) The study by Bell (2009) is not based on audio- or videotaped interactions. Students were asked to insert a joke that “would be likely to fail” in their interactions and to write down the interactions.

(5) In some cases, it is more accurate to say that the fake laughter occurs around the same contexts as real laughter, as it can be somewhat delayed from the laughter slot.

(6) Of course, it is difficult to say why Arto does not find the “joke” funny. However, the joke does have a kind of self-evident quality; there are only so many court-related identities that a layperson can have, and implying the more problematic one seems like an easy option. Furthermore, by choosing this line of acting, Tiina selects away from some other sequential trajectories, e.g., asking about the details of the court case (which, on the other hand, Arto may be unwilling or unable to provide).

(7) These jokes used to circulate in Finnish culture and they play with the dialectal forms of the words. The joke on lines 5–10 contains the dialectal verb form myyrä (in (p.194) standard Finnish, myydä), which is the joke: the word myyrä in standard Finnish means “a mole.” Thus, in the utterance onks sulla myyrä lippuja, “do you have tickets to sell,” the infinitive verb form myyrä (“to sell”) is reanalyzed as a noun referring to the bus driver.

(8) It is quite typical of conversation analytical studies that the instances of laughter (or other affect displays) are not linked to specific affects such as “embarrassment” (cf. e.g., Couper-Kuhlen, 2009). Rather, the studies talk about the actions that laughter is used to perform or the keyings that laughter brings to the actions it is attached to (e.g., invites laughter, responds to laughter, shows troubles-resistance). I too shy away from affect ascriptions such as “embarrassed laughter” or “nervous laughter” that are often used both in lay parlance and in studies of laughter.

(9) The utterance nyt ei oo kauheesti vaatteita päällä does not include an explicit person reference (roughly translated as “now there isn’t much clothes on”) and leaves it open as to who is not (fully) dressed, only Niko or both Niko and his girlfriend.

(10) I have discovered instances of similar types of requests (i.e., asking for a favor) produced with real laughter. In these cases, the one who laughs uses laughter to mark the request as a delicate, interactionally challenging action. In Extract 13, Pekka produces a distanced version of this kind of laughter. However, due to space restrictions, a detailed comparison of these types of cases cannot be included in this chapter.

(11) In the present database, almost all occurrences of fake laughter consist of the tokens hah (sometimes in connection with hoh) and heh. I have not found examples of the token hih used in a similar way; this is interesting, since in the written forms of interaction (at least in the present-day Finnish interactions, such as in Facebook or chat rooms), hih is widely used. I do have one example of a lexicalized häh häh used in spoken interaction. In dictionaries, häh is is described as “evil” or “mean” laughter (Nykysuomen sanakirja, s.v. häh). And indeed, this fits quite well the use of the häh tokens in my data and this further suggest that the speakers indeed perceive a difference between the laugh tokens.

(12) Previous research has demonstrated that for instance teasing (Drew, 1987) and other-correction (Haakana & Kurhila, 2009) are actions that occur especially in interactions between speakers who are close.