Posts Tagged ‘mock the week’

How to take the fun out of comedy…

I’ve been working on a project with a few colleague for the past year or so looking at gender and interruption in Mock the Week. We presented the first tranche of results back at the International Language and Gender Conference in Brazil (which uncovered the small fact that we had to do more work to do on it…), but basically, we’re trying to figure out whether male panelists interrupt more frequently than female panelists, or if it is more to do with how often a panelist is on the show (unfortunately, this is complicated by the fact that the panelists who are on most often are male…). We’ve then got plans to tie this to issues of conversational dominance and so on, seeing whether we can support¬†Jo Brand‘s comments about the show on an empirical level.

Rather than using more traditional CA approaches to transcribe the data, we’re leveraging the department’s skills in corpus linguistics, so we’ve marked up all the data in XML format, which means that, in theory, it’ll be easier to extract the features we decide to look at, provided these features have their own XML tag. As someone who is mainly used to a CA approach, this is new territory for me, and looking at an XML editor is kind of scary. But I’ve been assured that this is the best way to tackle this.

We were lucky enough that we managed to get some students to do the first pass of transcription in Word, and then these were fed into some infernal machine which spat out workable XML transcripts. These were then edited by one of my colleagues, and now I’m going through them for the second time cross-checking them.

Now to the point of my post: the most sure fire way of sucking the fun out of anything ‘humorous’ is to start transcribing it. I’m only on my fifth episode (of ten), but seriously, I’m kind of losing the will here…

–¬†The Social Linguist