The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #902

Title:Towards a model of story puns
Authors:Binsted,K; Ritchie,GD
Date:Sep 1997
Presented:Submitted to Humor
Abstract:There is a class of joke which consists of an anedote, which is sometimes quite long and often has no inherently humorous content, followed by a punchline which is a distorted form of some well-known phrase, proverb or quotation. Usually the punchline purports to summarise or draw a moral from the preceding story. This genre has some unusual aspects, from the viewpoint of conventional claims about the attributes of jokes. These jokes also have certain structural or formal regularities which suggest that it might be possible to define a computational model of their production. We outline how this might be done, by decomposing the construction of such story puns into a sequence of stages; some of these are clearly manageable, others are less straightforward. We also make some observations about where such an endevour would fit within the broader field of humour research.

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