Phonological Pun-derstanding

Published in NAACL 2016, 2016


Many puns create humor through the relationship between a pun and its phonologically similar target. For example, in “Don’t take geologists for granite” the word “granite” is a pun with the target “granted”. The recovery of the target in the mind of the listener is essential to the success of the pun. This work introduces a new model for automatic target recovery and provides the first empirical test for this task. The model draws upon techniques for automatic speech recognition using weighted finite-state transducers, and leverages automatically learned phone edit probabilities that give insight into how people perceive sounds and into what makes a good pun. The model is evaluated on a small corpus where it is able to automatically recover a large fraction of the pun targets.



  title={Phonological pun-derstanding},
  author={Jaech, Aaron and Koncel-Kedziorski, Rik and Ostendorf, Mari},
  booktitle={Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies},