East Asian Pragmatics, Vol 3, No 1 (2018)

Solo or shared laughter in coparticipant criticism in Japanese conversation

Hiroko Tanaka
Issued Date: 17 Apr 2018


This study employs conversation analysis to examine solo production and sharing of laughter in the delivery and reception of coparticipant criticism in Japanese conversation. I argue that whilst laughter is routinely used by either the deliverer or recipient of criticism, it may be dispreferred for laughter to be shared by both parties with reference to a given criticism. Moreover, whereas solo laughter by either the deliverer or recipient of criticism tends to lead to a relatively speedy resolution of a criticism sequence, shared laughter between deliverer and recipient may signal interactional trouble and take considerable work to resolve. Such patterns suggest that even though criticising is itself a dispreferred action, shared laughter by both parties is potentially markedly dispreferred. Preliminary results of this investigation point to the possibility that interactional work performed by laughter may be more widely shared across different cultural and linguistic environments than previously assumed.

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DOI: 10.1558/eap.35801


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