Unit one

‘Just for a laugh?’



What is humour?

One definition of humour is: ‘something that makes a person laugh or smile’. Like all straightforward definitions, exceptions can be found. It's possible to claim that something is humorous, even though no one laughed at the time – and it can often happen that people laugh, but someone can claim, ‘That's not funny’. Smiling and laughter can also be a sign of fear or embarrassment. Despite these objections, the response is an important factor in counting something as humour. Examining the language can then help to explain why people laugh.

When does laughter occur?

People laugh in company. Research has shown that when people are alone they rarely laugh, even though the same example of humour makes ...

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