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Bachelor Thesis from the year 2019 in the subject Speech Science / Linguistics, grade: 1,3, University of Dusseldorf "Heinrich Heine" (Sprache und Information), language: English, abstract: Arguably, using humor in everyday conversation offers several positive effects on relationships and the general atmosphere. For example, it helps in self-representation and in communicating messages that would sound harsh when spoken out directly. However, as useful a tool conversational humor might be, a usual occurrence is its failure. When trying to be funny while talking to others, there is always the possibility to offend, be misunderstood, or for the humor not to be perceived at all.
Many of these failures in conversational humor seem to arise from wrong estimations of shared context on the speaker's side. An example: Someone makes a joke about politics, proceeding on the assumption that the listener is well versed in the topic, while, in fact, she is not; consequently, she probably will not find the joke funny because she lacks the background information the joke teller erroneously ascribed to her. People not understanding conversational jokes (or even noticing that an utterance was intended to be funny) is something that happens to people on a daily basis and still, we cannot always tell where they went wrong. The challenge and main objective of this thesis is to find out which steps in the whole process of generating and perceiving conversational humor are crucial for the failure.