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International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

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Volume 26, Issue 1 (Feb 2013)


The use of co-textual irony markers in written discourse

Christian Burgers
  • Corresponding author
  • Email:
/ Margot van Mulken
  • International Business Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen
/ Peter Jan Schellens
  • Speech Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen
Published Online: 2013-01-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0004


Authors of written texts may mark the use of verbal irony in a variety of ways. One possibility for doing so is the use of so-called co-textual markers of irony (i.e., support strategies that open up a non-serious frame). This study aims to classify and categorize these co-textual irony markers. A content analysis of 2,042 co-textual utterances of irony across four text genres (advertisements, newspaper columns, book and film reviews, and letters to the editor) shows that three categories of support strategies could be identified: other ironic utterances, tropes and mood markers. The use of irony support strategies was positively related to the genre of newspaper columns: columns used more ironic utterances and tropes as irony support strategies than the other genres in the corpus.

Keywords: verbal irony; natural discourse; irony support strategies; co-textual markers

About the article

(PhD 2010, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Science at VU University Amsterdam

Published Online: 2013-01-31

Published in Print: 2013-02-22

Citation Information: Humor, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2013-0004.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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