Solo or shared laughter in coparticipant criticism in Japanese conversation


  • Hiroko Tanaka Nanyang Technological University





This study employs conversation analysis to examine solo production and sharing of laughter in the delivery and reception of coparticipant criticism in Japanese conversation. I argue that whilst laughter is routinely used by either the deliverer or recipient of criticism, it may be dispreferred for laughter to be shared by both parties with reference to a given criticism. Moreover, whereas solo laughter by either the deliverer or recipient of criticism tends to lead to a relatively speedy resolution of a criticism sequence, shared laughter between deliverer and recipient may signal interactional trouble and take considerable work to resolve. Such patterns suggest that even though criticising is itself a dispreferred action, shared laughter by both parties is potentially markedly dispreferred. Preliminary results of this investigation point to the possibility that interactional work performed by laughter may be more widely shared across different cultural and linguistic environments than previously assumed

Author Biography

Hiroko Tanaka, Nanyang Technological University

Hiroko Tanaka is currently visiting associate professor in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. She is author of Turn-taking in Japanese Conversation: A Study in Grammar and Interaction and other publications that focus on Japanese conversational interaction from a comparative perspective using the methodology of conversation analysis. Her primary research interests include structures of preference, membership categorisation devices, and the relationship between word order and social action in English and Japanese.


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How to Cite

Tanaka, H. (2018). Solo or shared laughter in coparticipant criticism in Japanese conversation. East Asian Pragmatics, 3(1), 125-149.

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