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Sacks - An Analysis of the course of a Joke’s Telling in Conversation

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Sacks - An Analysis of the course of a Joke’s Telling in Conversation. Process issues(?) Motivation for telling Self-congratulation (p. 344) System designed to minimize gaps “Understanding tests” (top of p. 346) Recipient - test of supposed sophistication

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sacks an analysis of the course of a joke s telling in conversation
Sacks - An Analysis of the course of a Joke’s Telling in Conversation
  • Process issues(?)
    • Motivation for telling
      • Self-congratulation (p. 344)
      • System designed to minimize gaps
    • “Understanding tests” (top of p. 346)
      • Recipient - test of supposed sophistication
      • Teller - questioning of teller’s understanding & possibly create dissapproving of teller
    • Orientation
      • Search / orientation to obscenity [2.3] (p. 346)
  • Preface (p. 340) (two utterance minimum)
    • [1.1] Offer
      • Components
        • Offer or request to tell
        • Initial characterization
        • Reference to time [/person/place/manner] of receiving joke
          • reference to person received from important if they are known to audience
          • (allows speaker to let audience know they are orienting to possibility the audience has previously heard joke)
      • Requirements
        • Joke is not known to audience
          • Teller orients to possibility that joke is known to one or more recipients
      • Allows audience to orient to joke
        • Indicates sort of response speaker is seeking
        • Accept / reject / negotiate
    • Responses (express degree of accept/reject/approval-level/orientation/preemption)
      • [1.2] (conditional acceptance) Roger’s rejection/counter-offer (L. 3)
        • orients to teller & gives teller options on interactional & consequent response
  • [2.0] Telling
  • Legitimate interruption reasons: failure to hear, understandability problem,
  • Understandability interruptions (L. 10, 23, alternative obscene interpretations
  • [3.0] Response Sequence
    • Responses
      • Overlapped laughing when punch line delivered
      • Laughing affiliates with either most recent utterance or state of current utterance [3.1, p. 348]
      • Delayed laughing - runs risk of being misaligned to wrong utterance by hearers.
      • No laughing -
    • [3.2] Recipient comparative wit assessment device
      • Relative laugh start allow comparative recipient assessment of their success at the ‘understanding test’
        • Recipients therefore have motivation to laugh early, which causes something of a chain reaction.
        • Non-laughing can be used to negatively grade a joke [p. 350]
      • Mixed or complete non-laughing arms recipients with potential responses [p. 350, bottom]
      • [3.3] Aberrances
        • First two laughs do not overlap
        • After a gap, the teller laughs first
        • Teller’s first laugh and recipient’s subsequent laugh are mirthless and brief
          • Serves to transit to assess the telling w/o engaging comparative wit device
      • [1.3] (preemption) Al’s response analysis
        • Recipient can guess as way of rejection & preemption
    • [1.4] Close (L. 6)
      • Ken cancels Al’s preemption attempt & uses cancellation to strengthen his basis for telling (and thereby acquiring rights to the floor).