The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

PhD Thesis #9605

Title:Machine Humour: An Implemented Model of Puns
Date: 1996
Abstract:This thesis describes a formal model of a subtype of humour, and the implementation of that model in a program that generates jokes of that subtype. Although there is a great deal of literature on umour in general, very little formal work has been done on puns, and none has been implemented. All current linguistic theories of humour are over-general and not falsifiable. Our model, which is specific, formal, implemented and evaluate, makes a significant contribution to the field. Punning riddles are our chosen subtype of verbal humour, for several reasons. They are very common, the exhibit certain regular structures and mechanisms, and they have been studied previously by linguists. Our model is based on our extensive analysis of large numbers of punning riddles, taken from children"s joke books.

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