The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #688

Title:A Symbolic Description of Punning Riddles and Its Computer Implementation
Authors:Binsted,K; Ritchie,GD
Date:Jun 1994
Presented:Submitted to "Humor"
Abstract:Riddles based on simple puns can be classified according to the patterns of word, syllable or phrase similarity they depend upon. We have devised a formal model of the semantic and syntactic regularities underlying some of the simpler types of punning riddle. We have also implemented this preliminary theory in a computer program which can generate riddles from a lexicon containing general data about words and phrases; that is, the lexicon content is not customised to produce jokes. Informal evaluation of the program's results by a set of human judges suggested that the riddles produced by this program are of comparable quality to those in general circulation among school children.

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