Speech Prosody 2010
Chicago, IL, USA
In an effort to examine the intonational phenomenon of stylized intonation, knock-knock jokes were collected and phonetically analyzed. Results showed intonation that varied considerably from subject to subject but which was nevertheless constrained in a way that supports a hitherto unexamined supposition among musicologists and linguists: that stylized intonation is defined by the musical interval of a minor third. Results showed a preference for intervals approximating a minor third, as well as an unexpected boundary role for the minor third itself, which is interpreted as a consequence of physiology.
Index terms: intonation; stylized fall; calling contour; music and language; minor third; jokes; knock-knock joke
Bibliographic reference. Day-O'Connell, Jeremy (2010): "minor third, who?: the intonation of the knock-knock joke", In SP-2010, paper 990.