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What sounds do you think are inherently funny without context?

For me - Muted trumpet, slide whistle, Dutch speech

I agree my examples might seem funny to me because of what I sub-conciously associate them with, but I'm interested in how sounds can be funny on their own and what characteristics funny sounds might have.

I do think its possible for a sound to be funny out of context, similarly to how different musical chords can induce emotions of happiness or sadness in people.

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    Without context? None. Sound is not something that can be interpreted purely without context. We're slaves of our culture. Why can a fart be considered funny? Because it sounds funny or because of how our culture considers farting in public? Some human and animal expressions can be more spontaneously funny sounding, but even then I think that what makes them funny is the picture it creates in our head or our association with the animal that produces it, not the sound without context. – mavavilj Jan 11 '14 at 14:48
  • You might be right but i think sound can be interpreted directly. I reckon if we travelled back in time 100,000 years and played a minor musical chord to a cavemen he would feel sad – Haydn Payne Jan 11 '14 at 15:38
  • Hmm, i tend to go with 0.5pIRC's statement that context is necessary. A metaphore:a good joke, there is not one-single funny word in it, the joke as a whole works because of the context it provides (the words in sequence). If we travel back in time 100.000 years ago, i guess people won't feel sad, they have not been 'evolutionary-educated/influenced' like we are, to connect an emotion to a minor chord. Other example: Native tribes from certain regions in Africa, are not able to see depth in a drawing of a wire-framed cube, evolution has excluded them from that idea/view. – Arnoud Traa Jan 11 '14 at 16:13
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    @HaydnPayne Regarding that cavemen statement: It might be, if a sound/chord triggers some biological/primitive response, but it might as well not work like that. You might want to investigate whether this has been researched (it likely has been investigated a lot). What I wrote before was that: we're slaves of our culture. E.g. we can't understand Chinese chords as the Chinese do it, we interpret them differently in our own culture. So a Western minor chord might not work for a caveman either or the response would be different, because he hasn't been growing up listening to Western music. – mavavilj Jan 11 '14 at 17:22
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    This has been researched and proven that the minor chord/sadness is purely culture induced. You can read more on this in this great book: philipball.co.uk/… – Cat Jan 13 '14 at 19:30
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I'm not really sure these sounds are that funny on their own. I suspect it is their association in your mind that you find funny. For example, the honk, honk sound from a bicycle air horn is so synonymous with clowns that as soon as you hear the sound you associate it to a context and that generates an emotional response in you. I think if the sounds were played to say, someone from a different culture with different social conditioning, it would seem perfectly normal.

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  • I agree my examples might seem funny to me because of what I sub-conciously associate them with, but I'm interested in how sounds can be funny on their own and what characteristics funny sounds might have. I do think its possible for a sound to be funny out of context, similarly to how different musical chords can induce emotions of happiness or sadness in people. – Haydn Payne Jan 11 '14 at 15:34
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"A fart sound is pretty funny"

or juvenile/infantile/anal obsessed

moral of the story/comment: context is everything

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