Laughter: A Communication Strategy in Business Meeting between Thai and Burmese Professionals

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Tabtip Kanchanapoomi
Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk


Laughter is a common feature found in daily conversations as an element showing amusement. However, laughter can also appear in serious talk such as business meetings (Murata, 2007; Markaki, et al., 2010). This paper scrutinizes laughter use between Thai and Burmese participants in a business meeting held in Yangon, Myanmar, and examines laughter functions and factors stimulating laughter to occur. The business meeting data was collected using the ethnographic method - a participant observation, extensive field notes, interviews and audio recordings. The data were analyzed based on the framework of laughter adapted from Hayakawa (2003) and Murata & Hori (2007); the findings reveal that laughter was used as a communication strategy and occurred in the meeting both in a relaxed atmosphere and in a serious discussion with different intentions - to have fun, to make fun of work, to ease the tension and to threaten other interlocutors.


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Kanchanapoomi, T., & Trakulkasemsuk, W. (2020). Laughter: A Communication Strategy in Business Meeting between Thai and Burmese Professionals. REFLections, 27(1), 22–43. Retrieved from
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