Irony as game of implicitness:acoustic profiles of ironic communication

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Irony, as "quotation" and "Fencing game, " consists of an interactive script, grounded on a focal event "trigger, " in which the dialogic comment shows the ironist's intention through an antiphrastic process and syncoding to "hit" the victim of the irony (blame by praise or praise by blame). Through acoustic analysis of the suprasegmental profiles of standard phrases inserted into inductors expressly composed and read by 50 naive subjects, the presence and nature of significant differences between sarcastic and kind irony in low- and high-context utterances (contextualization effect¬ Experiments I and 2) have been verified. It has also been observed that, where more "specific weight" is given to the linguistic stream (corrective irony hypothesis), a markedness oJ supraseg¬mental Jeatures emerges (correctivity effect-Experiment 3). Finally, comparison between sarcastic irony and blame and between kind irony and praise shows that there exists a precise manner of con¬trastive syncoding, whereby the voices of irony do not coincide with those of direct blame or praise, but assume a specific caricature and emphatic profile (contrastivity effect-Experiment 4).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-311
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Publication statusPublished - 2000



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