Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


International Journal of Humor Research

Editor-in-Chief: Ford, Thomas E.

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.655
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.718

CiteScore 2016: 0.94

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.458
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.759

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 27, Issue 4 (Oct 2014)


Differences in use and function of verbal irony between real and fictional discourse: (mis)interpretation and irony blindness

Eleni Kapogianni
Published Online: 2014-10-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2014-0093


This paper presents a contrastive approach to the presence of two distinct types of verbal irony in real (natural, unscripted) versus fictional (scripted) discourse, with a special focus on irony blindness, i.e. the inability to recognize ironic utterances. Irony strategies are categorized into two general types, based on the relationship between the expressed and the intended meaning (Type 1: meaning reversal and Type 2: meaning replacement). First, the differences between these two types are discussed in terms of use, interpretation, and misinterpretation. It is found that the first type of irony strongly prevails in natural discourse, while the second type is considerably more present in fictional discourse than it is in natural discourse. At the same time, the first type of irony appears to be more at risk of misinterpretation in natural discourse, as opposed to the second type, which seems to be a safer (even though less frequently selected) option. These findings are then further analyzed in light of the discussion concerning fictional (comedic, in particular) irony blindness and the construction and role of the irony-blind characters. Interestingly, the causes of fictional irony blindness are found to correlate more strongly with the (more humorous) misinterpretation of the second type of irony.

Keywords: irony types; (mis)interpretation; irony blindness; natural discourse; fictional discourse

About the article

Eleni Kapogianni

Eleni Kapogianni is a lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Kent. Her research lies in the areas of the semantics/pragmatics interface, experimental pragmatics, and intercultural pragmatics, with focus on the use and interpretation of nonliteral language in discourse.

Published Online: 2014-10-08

Published in Print: 2014-10-01

Citation Information: HUMOR, ISSN (Online) 1613-3722, ISSN (Print) 0933-1719, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/humor-2014-0093.

Export Citation

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Munich/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Marta Dynel
Pragmatics & Cognition, 2016, Volume 23, Number 2, Page 259
Valeria Sinkeviciute and Marta Dynel
Language & Communication, 2017, Volume 55, Page 1
Marta Dynel
Corpus Pragmatics, 2017, Volume 1, Number 1, Page 3
Naoko Taguchi, Maria Pia Gomez-Laich, and Maria-Jose Arrufat-Marques
Foreign Language Annals, 2016, Volume 49, Number 4, Page 677
Eleni Kapogianni
Journal of Pragmatics, 2016, Volume 91, Page 16

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in