Math Can Predict Which Words Are Funnier Than Others

Some words just sound funnier than others. And for the first time ever, researchers sought out mathematical answer as to why this is. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Alberta, nonsense words are funnier the further they are from being real. A researcher hypothesized that nonsense words with unpredictable letter combinations would be considered funnier than those with letters that occur most often in everyday speech. In math terms, lower entropy words (uncommon letter combinations) are considered funnier than higher entropy words (predictable letter combinations). For example, the nonsense word "finglam" is low entropy and would be considered funnier than the nonsense word "clester," which is high entropy.

Written by Curiosity Staff December 7, 2015

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