Dimensions of incongruity in register humour

Chris Thomas Venour, Graeme D Ritchie, Christopher Stuart Mellish

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Register-based humour consists of texts in which most of the language is in a particular style or tone, except for one or two words which are radically different in tone (or register) from the rest. It is not initially clear how to define register formally in terms of constructs, such as literariness, archaism, formality, etc. We have adopted a perspective in which words are located in a multi-dimensional space, and incongruity between words should correspond to a relatively large distance between those words, within this space. In order to construct this space in a way which shows up differences relevant to the question of register, we have based each dimension on a word’s frequency of occurrence in a particular corpus of texts. We have put together a number of corpora between which there are likely to be differences of tone/register, and for each word in a text we compute its frequency within every corpus. These numbers are then used to plot the word’s position in our abstract space. The most successful technique, both for building the space and for computing outliers, was tested on the task of distinguishing humorous texts from plain newspaper sentences, where it performed quite well.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains
EditorsMarta Dynel
PublisherJohn Benjamins Pub.
Pages125-144
Number of pages22
Volumevi
Edition2011
ISBN (Print)9027256144 , 978-9027256140
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Incongruity
Word Frequency
Plot
Formality
Archaism
Abstract Space
Language
Outliers
Literariness

Keywords

  • humour
  • computational humour
  • artificial intelligence
  • computers and literature

Cite this

Venour, C. T., Ritchie, G. D., & Mellish, C. S. (2011). Dimensions of incongruity in register humour. In M. Dynel (Ed.), The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains (2011 ed., Vol. vi, pp. 125-144). John Benjamins Pub..

Dimensions of incongruity in register humour. / Venour, Chris Thomas; Ritchie, Graeme D; Mellish, Christopher Stuart.

The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains. ed. / Marta Dynel. Vol. vi 2011. ed. John Benjamins Pub., 2011. p. 125-144.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Venour, CT, Ritchie, GD & Mellish, CS 2011, Dimensions of incongruity in register humour. in M Dynel (ed.), The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains. 2011 edn, vol. vi, John Benjamins Pub., pp. 125-144.
Venour CT, Ritchie GD, Mellish CS. Dimensions of incongruity in register humour. In Dynel M, editor, The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains. 2011 ed. Vol. vi. John Benjamins Pub. 2011. p. 125-144
Venour, Chris Thomas ; Ritchie, Graeme D ; Mellish, Christopher Stuart. / Dimensions of incongruity in register humour. The Pragmatics of Humour across Discourse Domains. editor / Marta Dynel. Vol. vi 2011. ed. John Benjamins Pub., 2011. pp. 125-144
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