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ERIC Number: EJ1127188
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Linguistic Features of Humor in Academic Writing
Skalicky, Stephen; Berger, Cynthia M.; Crossley, Scott A.; McNamara, Danielle S.
Advances in Language and Literary Studies, v7 n3 p248-259 Jun 2016
A corpus of 313 freshman college essays was analyzed in order to better understand the forms and functions of humor in academic writing. Human ratings of humor and wordplay were statistically aggregated using Factor Analysis to provide an overall "Humor" component score for each essay in the corpus. In addition, the essays were also scored for overall writing quality by human raters, which correlated (r = 0.195) with the humor component score. Correlations between the humor component scores and linguistic features were examined. To investigate the potential for linguistic features to predict the "Humor" component scores, regression analysis identified four linguistic indices that accounted for approximately 17.5% of the variance in humor scores. These indices were related to text descriptiveness (i.e., more adjective and adverb use), lower cohesion (i.e., less paragraph-to-paragraph similarity), and lexical sophistication (lower word frequency). The findings suggest that humor can be partially predicted by linguistic features in the text. Furthermore, there was a small but significant correlation between the humor and essay quality scores, suggesting a positive relation between humor and writing quality.
Descriptors: Discourse Analysis, Academic Discourse, Humor, Writing (Composition), Statistical Analysis, Essays, Factor Analysis, Language Usage, Computational Linguistics, Evaluators, Scores, Correlation, Prediction, Regression (Statistics), Writing Evaluation, Psycholinguistics, Interrater Reliability, Word Frequency, Undergraduate Students, Scoring Rubrics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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