Describing Verbally Expressed Humour
In pursuit of the long-term goal of developing a general theory of humour, it is reasonable to study certain limited forms of humorous artefact in detail. One obvious class of humour to consider is verbally expressed humour, and in particular jokes. We propose a methodology for exploring this subarea. The central idea is to devise detailed symbolic descriptions of the internal linguistic structure of classes of jokes, at a suitable level of abstraction. These descriptions are intended to make explicit the semantic and pragmatic factors (broadly interpreted) that are relevant to the humorous effect of the subclass of joke in question, and also to contribute an accumulation of analysed data over which more general theorising may occur. An analogy is drawn with established practice in linguistics.