Interdisciplinary Workshop on

The Phonetics of Laughter

Saarland University
Saarbrücken, Germany
August 4-5, 2007




News: There will be a follow-up workshop 2009 in Berlin (at the end of February).


Research investigating the production, acoustics and perception of laughter is very rare. This is striking because laughter occurs as an everyday and highly communicative phonetic activity in spontaneous discourse. This workshop aimed to bring researchers together from various disciplines to present their data, methods, findings, research questions, and ideas on the phonetics of laughter (and smiling). As a satellite event of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences we think Saarbrücken was the appropriate place for this workshop.

We were happy that Michael Owren (Georgia State University, Atlanta) agreed to give an invited talk on Understanding Acoustics and Function in Spontaneous Human Laughter. The planned tutorial plenary lecture on The Phonetics of Laughter – A Linguistic Approach could unfortunately not presented by Wallace Chafe (University of California, Santa Barbara) himself but Neal Norrick acted as presenter. All three keynote speakers deserve our thanks.

We would also like to thank the Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung for their financial support and the publisher S. Karger for their cooperation. Furthermore we are grateful to the Institute of Phonetics at Saarland University for providing the infrastructure and manpower for the workshop.

On this occasion we would like to thank very much all reviewers for their support. Special thanks go to Wallace Chafe for discussing various important issues during the planning of the workshop.

Jürgen Trouvain and Nick Campbell

Saarbrücken and Kyoto, August 2007


Kai Alter (Newcastle University Medical School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
Jo-Anne Bachorowski (Vanderbilt University, Nashville)
Nick Campbell (ATR, Kyoto)
Hui-Chin Hsu (University of Georgia, Athens)
Silke Kipper (Free University Berlin)
Sabine Kowal (Technical University Berlin)
Rod Martin (University of Western Ontario)
Lucie Ménard (Université du Québec à Montréal)
Shrikanth S. Narayanan (University of Southern California, Los Angeles)
Neal Norrick (Saarland University, Saarbrücken)
Eva Nwokah (Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
Daniel O'Connell (Georgetown University, Washington, DC)
Bernd Pompino-Marschall (Humboldt University Berlin)
Béatrice Priego-Valverde (University Aix-en-Provence)
Willibald Ruch (University of Zürich)
Marc Schröder (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, DFKI, Saarbrücken)
Diana Szameitat (Newcastle University Medical School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
Dietmar Todt (Free University Berlin)
Jürgen Trouvain (Saarland University & Phonetik-Büro Trouvain, Saarbrücken)