Phillip GlennElizabeth Holt
Table of contents

Laughter is ubiquitous in interaction: it occurs in all kinds of contexts and circumstances. And while it might be thought to be lacking the same kind of structure that underpins verbal elements of communication, there is now a large body of research clearly demonstrating that it is highly ordered. Furthermore it plays a central role in the management of communication, contributing to interaction in diverse and vital ways. Because it is non-verbal, highly ambiguous and complex, its ‘meaning’ or contribution to talk is hard to pin down. However, in the past few decades, burgeoning interest in laughter has spurred considerable progress in understanding the contributions it makes as well as, to a lesser extent, the forms it takes.

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