ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010
ISCA Archive SpeechProsody 2010

“minor third, who?”: the intonation of the knock-knock joke

Jeremy Day-O'Connell

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

Cite as: Day-O'Connell, J. (2010) “minor third, who?”: the intonation of the knock-knock joke. Proc. Speech Prosody 2010, paper 990

  author={Jeremy Day-O'Connell},
  title={{“minor third, who?”: the intonation of the knock-knock joke}},
  booktitle={Proc. Speech Prosody 2010},
  pages={paper 990}