laughter dialects

Barbara Need nee1 at MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU
Sat May 27 23:02:10 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?

Somewhat. I am considered to have a fairly distinctive laugh. Two
different friends have commented that my father laughed the way I
do--in fact on one occasion, the sister of a friend (who had also met
me) heard my father laughing downstairs and she wondered why I had
come all the way from Chicago to Chapel Hill!

However, I am not aware of other family members who laugh like my
father and me--and I don't think it is specific to any region in
which we lived (near Cleveland, north of Boston).


Barbara Need

The American Dialect Society -

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