laughter dialects

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri May 26 20:49:23 UTC 2006

a friend at another university writes to ask:

At a faculty luncheon yesterday a colleague was describing the ready
identifiability of her spouse's laughter. 'It's very distinctive,'
she claimed.
If we were sitting up here on the second floor and you heard his
laugh from
downstairs, you would know that was my husband.'

She went on to say, however, that when she visited the small town near
Asheville, NC, where her husband grew up, she observed that all his
neighbors sound alike, when they laugh.
It's a feature of local communication patterns.

Is this phenomenon familiar?

arnold, noting that this would be much like gesture "dialects"

The American Dialect Society -

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