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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Aleksandravičiūtė, Skaistė;Vaicekauskienė, Loreta
Title: Juokai juokais, bet šiandien juokiamės daugiau ir kitaip : juokas kaip TV ir radijo diskurso bruožas 1960–2010 metais
Other Title: Today we laugh more and differently: laughter as a discourse feature in TV and radio broadcasts (1960-2010)
Is part of: Darbai ir dienos, 2012, nr. 58, p. 283-295
Date: 2012
Abstract: As a paralinguistic element of oral communication, laughter carries a variety of social meanings: hence it can be studied as an element of public space and an indicator of on-going change. In this article, we focus on so-called laughter talk, i.e. audible laughter in the speech of discourse participants in Lithuanian TV and radio broadcasts, and examine the frequency and functions of laughter during the past five decades. The study is a corpus-based analysis of the Corpus of Lithuanian Broadcast Media, which spans over the Soviet period (1960-1987), the transitional period (1988-1992), and the commercial period (1993-2011). The corpus consists of about 60 hours of orthographically transcribed speech and covers various genres from news broadcasts to talk shows. The quantitative analysis has revealed the steady increase of laughter frequency in mediated discourse through time. This may be interpreted as an indicator of a general transition from transactional to interactional, often spontaneous communication and may be partly explained by developments in broadcast media themselves and by the evolving genre of talk shows. Qualitatively, the research has shown that the social meaning and pragmatic functions of laughter may not just be employed as a means of constructing authentic discourse and as a symbolic resource to convey one’s stance in the conversation but may also be strategically exploited for broader ideological aims. In the Soviet period laughter was often used to uphold the illusion of happy Soviet life; instances of it were broadcast as a part of a staged performance. In the transitional period laughter highlights opportunities to speak freely in one’s own voice, and alongside with an emerging irony it is a natural element of more spontaneous interaction. Among the functions of laughter are: the marking of friendliness or conflict in interaction; the organisation of discourse (transition from monologue to dialogue, from a complicated to a neutral subject); and face-work. Present-day TV and radio contain the widest range of functions of laughter. Partly it can be viewed as serving contemporary ideology, though obviously not in the same sense as in the Soviet period, but as a tool for constructing an image of modern, friendly, and intimate media.
Appears in Collections:Darbai ir dienos / Deeds and Days 2012, nr. 58

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